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Newsletters 11 September 2018

European Regional Bureau Newsletter – 1 – 7 Sep 2018

Internet Access

EU: Lobbying intensifies ahead of key vote on EU Copyright Directive

  • Both sides of the debate on the reform of the EU Copyright Directive have intensified their campaigns ahead of the key vote in the European Parliament on September 12.
  • Internet activists claim that the legislation, which was proposed by the European Commission in 2016, would amount to censorship of the Internet. It would require the likes of Google and Microsoft to install filters to prevent users from uploading copyrighted materials.
  • The creative industry lobby, Europe for Creators, released a poll this week which found that two-thirds of Europeans surveyed believe tech giants have more power than the EU. Meanwhile, EDiMA, the trade association which represents most of the US’s tech platforms in Brussels, has set up a twitter account asking MEPs whether they have the copyright for images posted on their social media accounts.

Finland: “5G has come to Helsinki” says Telia Company

  • One of Finland’s leading mobile operators has launched a pre-commercial 5G network in the city centre of the Finnish capital, with the goal to make available commercial services by the beginning of next year.
  • “For two years we have prepared for 5G with demos and trials. We set up the 5G Finland cooperation network to create and pilot 5G services with our partners, and now we can continue exploring the possibilities of 5G in a real live network”, says Jari Collin, CTO at Telia Finland.


GLOBAL: IBM publishes AI ethics guidelines

  • The US tech company IBM has published a guidebook for designers and developers spelling out five ethical principles that manufacturers must account for when creating AI solutions.
  • The guidebook, which was unveiled at the O’Reilly AI Conference in San Francisco, is entitled “Everyday ethics for Artificial Intelligence: A practical guide for developers and users” lists the five principles as: accountability, value alignment, explainability, fairness, and data rights.

EU: Robust new EU cybersecurity rules envisaged for the Internet of Things

  • The EU is planning tough new security standards for ICT products and connected consumer devices on the “Internet of Things”.
  • Negotiations on the EU’s Cybersecurity Act are gathering pace, as MEPs and Member State representatives in the Council work to reach a deal by year-end. Negotiators will meet next week for a first three-way discussion in Strasbourg during the European Parliament’s plenary session.
  • Speaking about the ambition for the legislation, German rapporteur Angelika Niebler MEP has said: “We have a huge profile in the world on data protection, always trying to find a fair balance between the interests of everyone involved. On cybersecurity, we have a real chance.”

EU: MEPs plan resolution with a new rebuke to Facebook

  • The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) is drafting a new resolution that is expected to condemn Facebook for failing to protect its users’ data.
  • The resolution will be drafted by the Chairman of the LIBE Committee, Claude Moraes and was requested by the EP’s leadership, the Conference of Presidents, following Mark Zuckerberg’s visit to Brussels in May 2018. The resolution is expected to be finalised during the EU’s parliamentary session in early October 2018.

UK: Strong regulation needed to avoid digital domination, says think tank

  • A report released this week by the British think tank, Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), has warned that a small number of American tech companies are set to rule the age of artificial intelligence.
  • The report, entitled “The digital commonwealth: From private enclosure to collective benefit” argues that Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon and Apple have accumulated an excessive amount of data, developed the most advanced analytical capabilities and gained the greatest ownership of the Internet’s infrastructure, such as cloud computing.
  • According to IPPR’s report, a strong policy response is needed from governments around the world to prevent the domination of the digital economy by a small number of powerful firms that monopolise user data.
  • In its conclusion, the report finds that large Internet companies should be treated similarly to how regulators treated public utilities, for example water and energy suppliers, in the past.

UK: Small increase in public trust with businesses handling personal data 

  • A study commissioned by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has found that public trust in companies and organisations storing their personal data marginally increased in 2017. However, the overall level of trust remains low.
  • Those surveyed were more likely to trust public bodies than companies with their personal data. The study also found that the majority of the public is aware of the EU’s new personal data protection rules, GDPR, and the ICO believes they have played a role in increasing public trust.

ESTONIA: New cybersecurity ambassador sets out an ambitious agenda

  • Estonia’s new Ambassador-At-Large for Cybersecurity, Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar, has outlined her plans to position Estonia as a key world power in the cybersecurity policy debate. Tiirmaa-Klaar, a former EU diplomat, took up her new role this week.
  • Globally recognised for its expertise on tech issues, Estonia is expected to play a role as a neutral powerbroker on global cybersecurity policy.
  • Tiirmaa-Klaar is now readying herself for the upcoming UN discussions on international rules for state-sponsored hacking. In an official statement she said that it was “important to continue the efforts that already have started in Estonia on analysing the applicability of existing international law in cyberspace, as well as to support international processes promoting cyber norms and confidence-building measures.”
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