Newsletters 9 August 2019

European Regional Bureau Newsletter – 27 July – 2 August 2019

Internet Access

EU: How will 5G deployment look like in the EU?

  • The European Commission (EC) has released a factsheet addressing how the “fifth generation” of telecommunication systems will impact the EU’s digital economy in the coming years.
  • The document highlights how 5G will have a cross-sectorial impact, from enabling connected and automated mobility, to the improvement of smart grids’ efficiency, more accuracy in e-Health, and better control over factories.
  • The factsheet also gives an overview of how the EU is a world leader in 5G trial activities, noting its pioneering position in assigning 14% of its spectrum assigned, the publication of 5G roadmaps by 11 Member States, and the expectation of 5G being launched by the end of 2020 by all Member States.

EU: Upcoming workshop on research priorities for the next generation of IoT

  • The European Commission’s directorate for Communications Networks, Content and Technology will be hosting a workshop on 16 October entitled “Next Generation Internet of Things (IoT)”.
  • The interactive seminar will address IoT’s role as a key enabler of the Next Generation Internet (NGI) and will discuss its use in areas such as transportation, health, energy and wearables.

EU: BEREC calls for input on the impact of 5G on regulation – Deadline 2 September

  • The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has opened a call for inputs for business and organisations planning on using 5G connectivity to ensure that regulation does not impede innovation in services.
  • Stakeholders are asked to assess whether the list of regulatory aspects identified by BEREC is complete and which of these should become a priority for the Agency in the coming three years.

Greece: Public funding to develop Greek ultrafast broadband network

  • The European Commission announced earlier this week it would support Greece with €300 million under EU State aid rules to support the deployment of a Ultrafast Broadband infrastructure Scheme in areas with insufficient connectivity.
  • Such funding is expected to boost private investment in Greek rural areas in which broadband infrastructure is non-existent, aiming at a download speed of at least 100 Mbps, upgradable to 1 Gbps.
  • Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager stated: “This is an important step for competitiveness and innovation in Greece […] enabling Greek households and business to benefit fully from the Digital Single Market”.


Global: Quantum computer – Reshaping the world of cybersecurity

  • The World Economic Forum (WEF) has published an article addressing how quantum computing’s power can potentially represent a threat to cybersecurity.
  • In this regard, despite quantum great advantages in fields such as finance and healthcare, it can represent a threat to weaker encryption now, and safer encryption in the future.
  • The article concludes that the evolution of quantum technology requires quantum-safe cryptography and security, especially in critical infrastructures such as government and military communications, confidentiality of medical data and financial and banking transactions. Tech giants such as Google and Microsoft are already developing these.

Global: Deepfakes risks damaging social media platforms credit rating

  • Moody’s Investors Service warned in a new report that deepfake technology poses a threat to the business performance and credit quality of platforms, particularly if videos and images are used and aimed at their executives, as was the case with the recent deepfake of Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
  • The solution, Moody’s suggest, is a combination of technology and education “over the long term, technical and educational measures to rein in deepfake campaigns could also help mitigate risk”.

EU: US company tackling fake news to seek market space in the EU

  • NewsGuard, a New York-based company ranking the credibility of news sites with the use of 9 different criteria and research, is aiming at deepening its presence in the EU market.
  • The company’s CEO had held conversations with the Commission earlier in the year in which they recommended the EU executive to use the tool in its work with platforms under the EU Code of Practice on disinformation.

EU: You can now shape the future of data flows

  • The European Commission launched earlier this week a consultation on data exchange which will feed into a future European Data Flow Monitoring Initiative, an instrument that will help to map data flows across the EU.
  • The consultation is anonymous and targets companies and public entities asking them how much data they store on cloud services and how much of that data moves from one cloud infrastructure to another.
  • The consultation is open until the 15 October 2019 and results will also ensure a correct implementation of the regulation on free flow of non-personal data.

EU: Moving forward on e-Privacy proposals

  • In an attempt to move forward in the e-Privacy proposals negotiations, Politico EU reports that the Finnish presidency of the EU Council has presented a new text to Member States.
  • Earlier last week, Germany released a position paper arguing that its government was unable to accept the text as it was since it did“not afford the level of protection for the end-users and the confidentiality of communications”, calling instead for the regulation to cover all data steaming from communications while they are in transit and once they are stored.
  • The new Finnish document, although not integrating some of the German proposals, focuses on article 6, which deals with the permitted processing of data, metadata and content. The article has now been divided in four different sections hoping to ease discussions towards an agreement. The document also includes a “temporary solution regarding the child imagery issue”.
  • The new version will be discussed in the Telecom working party on September 9th.

EU: Website operators share the burden of data controlling, says ECJ

  • The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) ruled earlier this week that, a website operator featuring a Facebook ‘Like’ button is considered a joint data controller “in respect of certain operations involving the processing of the data of visitors”.
  • The ruling resolves a question raised by a German Court on an online clothing retailer, and establishes that although the company cannot be made responsible of Facebook’s data processing once those data have been transmitted, “it must provide, at the time of their collection, certain information to those visitors” that reflect the purpose of the processing.

UK: Newly appointed Home Secretary reopens the encryption debate

  • The new UK Home Secretary Priti Patel called during her first public statement for the creation of a backdoors to encrypted messaging services owned by the likes of Facebook.
  • Patel explicitly called on Facebook to limit the use of “end-to-end encryption” as it may “have some serious consequences for the vital work that companies already undertake to identify and remove child abuse and terrorist content”.

Greece: Company fined over GDPR infringement

  • The Hellenic Data Protection Authority (DPA) has fined the Greek PwC branch €150,000 for infringing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • The DPA established that the company had unlawfully processed the personal data of its employees as it did so “in an unfair and non-transparent manner” allowing employees to believe that such processing was complying with the legal provisions, while in reality it was being done “under a different legal basis about which the employees had never been informed”.
  • The economic sanction complements the DPA’s ruling of PwC restoring the employees’ data processing in a GDPR-compliant way.

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