Newsletters 31 July 2017

European Regional Bureau Newsletter – 21 July – 28 July 2017

Internet Access

EU-China: EU-China 8th ICT Dialogue

  • On July 20, Khalil Rouhana, Deputy Director-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology at the European Commission, published a blog on the EU-China 8th ICT Dialogue, held on July 11.
  • Mr Rouhana describes China and the EU as sharing a common vision on how the deployment of 5G can support the wider digitisation of industry, as agreed in the Joint EU-China Declaration (2015). The two parties will work on a roadmap covering key 5G issues such as spectrum allocation, standards and R&D matters.
  • Other topics of discussion included the ongoing reforms of the ICT regulatory policy frameworks in China and the EU, cybersecurity, and digital economy issues.

EU: Annual country reports on open Internet from national regulators published

  • The European Commission has published annual country reports from national regulators on the open Internet, covering the first year since the open Internet rules became applicable on 30 April 2016.
  • The reports were prepared by the national regulatory authorities (NRAs) and sent to the Commission and Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC).
  • The reports will serve as a basis for BEREC’s Report on the implementation of the net neutrality rules expected by the end of the year and will also be used by the Commission for the next European Digital Progress Report (EDPR) in 2018.

EU-US: ETNO Delegation meets US regulators and stakeholders

  • On July 21, a delegation from the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) visited US regulators and stakeholders on a two-day fact-finding mission.
  • The delegation had the opportunity to discuss 5G and the Internet of Things, as well as the latest policy and regulatory developments affecting the telecom industry in the US, and how policy can be used to promote innovation and investment.
  • Steven Tas, Chairman of ETNO, commented that now more than ever “a sustained commitment to the transatlantic dialogue is vital”.


EU: Commissioner Jourová answers question on GDPR and the “right to be forgotten”

  • On July 24, European Commissioner for Justice Věra Jourová answered a parliamentary question on the protection of personal data and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • On the right to erasure (“right to be forgotten”), Commissioner Jourová said that the current Directive already gives individuals the possibility to have their personal data deleted, when the data is no longer necessary. This does not mean that all personal data will be automatically deleted following a request from an individual. This was clarified in the GDPR. If it is collected for a specific purpose, data will be stored until it is no longer necessary.
  • When the GDPR enters into force in May 2018, companies which are data controllers will have to examine, as they do today, each request for erasure on its merits before granting the request of the individual.

EU: Civil rights NGOs address the Commission on the EU-US Privacy Shield

  • On July 26, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International sent a joint letter to European Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová urging it to re-evaluate the EU-US data transfer deal, the so-called Privacy Shield.
  • The letter calls on the Commission to “encourage the US legislative and executive branches to adopt the necessary binding reforms so that the transfer of personal data to the United States does comply” with EU law.
  • The NGOs have also enclosed a briefing with a detailed assessment of US legal authorities and surveillance activities and their conclusions on “why they fail to provide an adequate level of protection for the purposes of EU law”.

Global: “Only 2% respondent businesses are GDPR-ready”, research says

  • study by Veritas Technologies has found that businesses mistakenly believe they are in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the soon-to-be-applicable legislation intended to strengthen and harmonise data protection for all EU citizens.
  • According to The Veritas 2017 GDPR Report, 31% of respondents said that their enterprise already conforms to the legislation’s key requirements. However, upon a closer inspection on specific GDPR rules, most provided answers that show they are unlikely to be in compliance. As a result, only 2% are truly prepared.
  • A total of 900 business decision makers were interviewed across the US, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, Singapore, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Respondents were all from organizations that do at least some business in the EU.

EU: “No More Ransom” initiative one year later

  • On July 25 2016, the “No More Ransom” initiative was launched by the Dutch National Police, Europol, McAfee and Kaspersky to disrupt cybercriminal businesses with ransomware connections. In the past year, more than 28000 devices were decrypted and it now has 109 partners.
  • The site carries 54 decryption tools, provided by 9 partners and covering 104 kinds (families) of ransomware. The platform is available in 26 languages.

Sweden: Government struggles over data breach

  • Two government Ministers, Anders Ygeman (home affairs Minister) and Anna Johansson (infrastructure Minister) have resigned following a breach of confidential data at the Swedish Transport Agency. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has received criticism from across the country’s political scene.
  • The breach was disclosed by the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, which revealed that Maria Agren, the former director general of the Swedish Transport Agency, had been fired in January for negligent handling of classified data.
  • The Swedish Transport Agency outsourced the handling of classified data to Serbia and the Czech Republic in 2015, with the data being accessible to some without the proper clearance

Global: Ransomware a profitable market

  • According to new research by Google, cyber criminals have made at least $25 M in the last two years from ransomware.
  • Ransomware is used by these individuals and organisations to encrypt or scramble files so that they can no longer be used. The files are only decrypted upon the payment of a ransom.
  • In 2016, criminal gangs became aware of how profitable ransomware could be, with most of the money from it being made in this year.

EU: ECJ declares that EU-Canada Passenger Name Records deal violates citizens’ rights

  • The European Court of Justice has released an opinion stating that the agreement envisaged between the European Union and Canada on the transfer of Passenger Name Record data may not be concluded in its current form.
  • The court found that the current agreement interferes with EU citizens’ rights to respect for private life and the protection of personal data. It found that these interferences could not be justified.
  • The Commission will now have to rewrite the EU-Canada deal with its Canadian counterparts and may have to rethink the PNR approach in general. Commissioner King has however claimed that EU Member States obligations to enact the EU’s own internal PNR system are unaffected by the court decision.

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