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Newsletters 2 September 2017

European Regional Bureau Newsletter – 26 Aug – 1 Sep 2017

Internet Access

EU: Parliament and Council move forward on telecoms reform

  • The European Parliament is moving towards two important Committee votes on the EU telecoms reform; one on end user rights and services in the IMCO Committee on 4 September, and the other on telecoms networks and spectrum in the ITRE Committee on 11 September.
  • On most articles, the political parties have now agreed upon a compromise text. Remaining articles on which there are differences include co-investment, access to mobile infrastructure, penalties, and international calls.
  • Meanwhile, in the Council, Working Party meetings are due on 5 and 6 September on spectrum, services and institutional set-up. The Estonian Presidency is pushing, and a common position could be agreed by the Council in October.

EU: Google responds to EU antitrust charges

  • On Tuesday, Google sent the European Commission its proposals on how it will change how it displays its search results following the €2.4 billion fine recently imposed by the EU”s antitrust regulator.
  • Google must also decide whether to appeal against this fine. If it wants to lodge an appeal, it has just two more weeks to do so.

EE: Estonian Prime Minister emphasises potential of next-generation connectivity for transport

  • Talking at the International Baltic Road Conference, Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas talked about the technological solutions to the complex challenges of the transport sector. Investment in next-generation networks may enable services including self-driving cars and smart cities.
  • He commented that “the development of digital society definitely pays off because growth and efficiency ensure a return on investment”

DigitalEurope on Regulating the Internet and OTTs

  • DigitalEurope, the trade association of digital companies whose members include Google, Amazon, and Microsoft has published its response to ITU’s consultation on Over-The-Top internet-based services (OTTs).
  • DigitalEurope claims that regulate OTTs would be equivalent to regulating the Internet, which up to now has experience explosive growth thanks to a light-touch regulatory regime.
  • The association claims that “regulation of OTTs will also stifle the usage of the Internet and investment in broadband deployment”.


EU: Greek government wants more money for EU cyber security agency

  • The Greek government wants the EU Commission to give the Athens-based Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) more money and a leading role in managing Europe’s cyber security issues.
  • These calls come ahead of a legal overhaul of ENISA planned for September. The agency, founded in 2004, has been pushing for a budget increase, but the Commission has so far refused, leaving its annual funding at €11 million.
  • The Commission’s plans for ENISA are expected to be released on 12th September.

EU: European defence ministers face cyber training exercise in Tallinn

  • The Estonian government, which holds the presidency of the Council of Ministers, has prepared a “cyber exercise” for defence ministers meeting in Tallinn on Thursday 7 September.
  • For two hours, ministers will be testing their national scenarios for a large-scale cyber-attack, focusing specifically on how they can best cooperate and use their mutual defence and solidarity instruments. The ministers will also identify how they can best share confidential intelligence in the aftermath of an attack.

Spain: Authorities will fine large firms that fail to notify authorities of cyberattacks

  • The Spanish government plans to penalise companies that provide essential services, like electricity and transportation, as well as digital service providers if they do not quickly notify authorities of an impending cyberattack.
  • Although Spain suffered limited damage from recent malware attacks WannaCry and Petya, legislators decided anyway to bolster its legal standards.
  • The government is also preparing a legal instrument empowering it to monitor companies providing basic services, in order to enforce preventative measures, aiming to bringing Spain into line with the EU’s Directive on the security of network and information systems (NIS Directive).

EU: Digital Commissioner calls for closer tech collaboration with Western Balkans

  • The EU’s new Digital Commissioner, Mariya Gabriel, told reporters that among her top priorities will be expanding her focus to the Western Balkans to ensure they are included in general discussions on cybersecurity and the Commission’s digital agenda.
  • A former MEP, Gabriel took on the Digital Affairs brief from her German predecessor Günther Oettinger back in early July. Other priorities will include fake news dossiers and digital skills

EU: Council of Foreign Relations blogger calls for cyberdefense overhaul

  • Annagret Bendiek, from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), claims that the EU’s patchwork approach to cybersecurity is not sustainable. With four different policy documents (2013 Cybersecurity strategy, 2015 Digital Single Market Strategy, 2016 Network and Information Security Directive, and the “cyber diplomacy toolbox”) the EU cannot have a coherent approach

UK: GDPR will create huge compliance challenges for companies post-Brexit

  • A recent Financial Times survey of the largest social media, software, financial technology and internet companies has found that many will struggle to adapt to the new data protection rules. The sector is expected to hire new staff, redesign products and face millions of dollars in higher costs as its scrambles to adapt to the legislation.
  • The GDPR, set to come into effect in the EU next May, will give regulators the power to fine businesses up to 20m euros or up to 4 per cent of their previous year’s global turnover, whichever is higher.
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