Newsletters 9 July 2017

European Regional Bureau Newsletter – 23 June – 30 June 2017

Internet Access

EU: DG Connect Director on the future of the Internet

  • On 27 June, Pearse O’Donohue, Acting Director for the Future Networks Directorate of DG CONNECT at the European Commission, published a blog on the future of the Internet following the Next Generation Internet Summit, held in the European Parliament on 6-7 June.
  • The blog outlines the need to address the real concerns of citizens, such as lack of trust, choice and respect and lock-in effects. The findings of a survey organised by a consortium of media companies in preparation of this NGI Summit show that citizens like the internet but also question the future impact of this technology on our society.
  • The Commission will launch a new research and innovation programme entitled the Next Generation Internet initiative in autumn 2018,

EU: Commission call for tender on study on mm-waves for 5G deployment

  • The European Commission has launched a call for tenders to carry out a study on the use of millimetre waves (mm-waves) bands for the deployment of the 5G ecosystem in the Union.
  • The study will focus on the particular benefits of mm-wave bands – with initial focus on the “pioneer” 26 GHz band – to build a lively wireless ecosystem, including hybrid systems, and explore economic outcomes in the deployment of innovative 5G services to EU citizens.
  • The call is open until August 8.


Global: Canada and China strike a deal on corporate hacking

  • On June 23, during the second meeting between top national officials, China and Canada signed an agreement to not conduct state-sponsored cyberattacks aimed at stealing the other’s private-sector trade secrets and proprietary technology. The deal covers corporate secrets but not other sectors such as defence.
  • The bilateral pact was concluded four days after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a telephone discussion with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, during which the two leaders focused on a coming third round of exploratory free-trade talks. The next meeting of the Canada-China High-Level National Security and Rule of Law Dialogue will be held in Beijing next year.

EU: Commission consultation points towards more funding for ENISA

  • According to the first insights from the European Commission’s consultation on the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), the agency should receive more funding and support to interact with other EU institutions.
  • More specifically, the organization should cooperate to a greater extent with member states and other authorities, and invest more heavily in public-private partnerships within the cybersecurity industry.
  • The full report on the consultation is expected to be released in July. A proposal on ENISA’s mandate should be released in September.

EU-Japan: Free Trade Agreement – Leak of Preparatory Notes

  • document with the preparatory notes of the EU was leaked on June 27. According to the document, both the EU and Japan have ambitious plans on cybersecurity, cooperation in technology research and the exchange of security information.
  • On data flows, they acknowledge that the two sides “have further increased the convergence between their two systems. This offers new opportunities to further facilitate data exchanges, including through finding an adequate level of protection, thereby supporting the continued growth of digital trade and e-commerce”.
  • However a full agreement on data flows has not yet been reached, and whether this issue is mentioned at all in the final document will depend on whether the sides are able to find a compromise during the final stages of negotiation..

Germany: German regulator suspends law on storing phone and Internet data

  • On June 28, the German regulator Bundesnetzagentur suspended the launch of a data retention law for telecom companies to store telephone and Internet data for up to 10 weeks.
  • A German administrative court ruled last week that such measures ran contrary to European Union law. The Bundesnetzagentur said it would not force telecoms to store such data until legal proceedings surrounding the law had been concluded.
  • The law requires companies to keep data on the timing and duration of telephone calls, as well as online traffic through IP addresses. Location data from mobile phones is to be stored for four weeks.

EU: European Commission addresses cybercrime and encryption

  • On June 29, the European Commission presented its th Security Union Report. The document states that a number of short-term and operational actions should be taken to strengthen the EU response to cyber threats, as a part of wider review of the 2013 Cybersecurity Strategy expected in September.
  • The Commission will provide €10.8 million in funding to 14 Member States under the Connecting Europe Facility to strengthen the network of national Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRT network).
  • The Commission is examining the challenges posed by the use of encryption by criminals. It will report on its findings by October.
  • The Commission also repeated its call for Internet companies to do more to fight online terrorist content at the EU Internet Forum, which met on June 27.

EU: Google fined €2.42 billion for abusing dominance as search engine

  • On June 27, following seven years of investigation, the European Commission fined Google €2.42 billion for having abused its market dominance as a search engine, breaching EU antitrust rules. The Commission claimed the company’s Google Shopping algorithms favoured Google’s own products and services over those of competitors.
  • Google’s General Counsel, Kent Walker, has said in a statement the company “will review the Commission’s decision in detail as it is considering an appeal against it”.
  • Google is being investigated in two other cases: the Android operating system, where the Commission is concerned that Google has pursued a strategy to protect and expand its dominant position in general Internet search; and AdSense, where the Commission believes Google has reduced choice by preventing third-party websites from sourcing search ads from Google’s competitors.


EU: European Council concludes digital issues have to be further addressed

  • On June 23, The Estonian Prime Minister, Jüri Ratas, took the occasion of the last European Council before his country takes over the Presidency of the EU to emphasize his country’s dedication to digital affairs. Referring to tech as the next “steel and coal”, he said he wanted Europe to become “the world leader in digital”.
  • At the European Council, EU Heads of State discussed the need to expand the Digital Single Market (DSM) and pledged to make it more of a political priority in future summits.
  • The Council outlined the need to take a broader look at end-to-end encryption, infrastructure, connectivity, societal and cultural aspects, including the digital divide, norms and standards, content and data, investment, cybersecurity, e-Government and research & development.

EU: Estonian Presidency programme

  • The programme of the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU has been published, outlining its top priorities for the next six months, with the free movement of data on top of the agenda.
  • The document states that high-speed, high-quality and widely available Internet connection is the mainstay of a smart data-driven economy. Estonia is expected to discuss within the first month of its Presidency what conditions are needed to deploy 5G in Europe.
  • The Estonian Presidency expects the Telecoms Council to focus on two crucial files: the proposed ePrivacy Regulation and the European Electronic Communications Code.

EU: BEUC sets out its priorities for the Estonian presidency of the EU

  • The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) has published a memorandum outlining its priorities for the upcoming Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU. These include the telecoms rules reform, data protection and ePrivacy and ending geo-blocking in the Digital Single Market.
  • BEUC argues the telecoms rules that are currently being negotiated will also determine what rights consumers will have regarding the connectivity of future Internet of Things products and applications. Hence, BEUC believes the review of the EU’s telecommunications legislation should also aim at strengthening competition and consumer rights in the market.

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