On 17 January 2018, the Romanian Ministry of Culture organised a debate on the EU copyright reform proposal. With the room full with about fifty participants, three quarters were representing press publishers, record labels and collective management associations. It seemed almost like a full-fledged campaign meeting organised for and by traditional newspapers and rightsholders organisations to rally support for Articles 11 and 13 of the Copyright Directive proposal – a support meeting coincidentally (or not) organised just prior to national officials presenting their country’s position on the copyright reform in Brussels.
More information is available in English here.
The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed a bill to renew the National Security Agency’s warrantless internet surveillance program for six years with minimal changes, overcoming objections from civil liberties advocates that it undermined the privacy of Americans.
The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg on Thursday ruled that Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems cannot lodge a class action suit against Facebook Ireland. Schrems was seeking to stake the collective claim on the behalf of 25,000 people. The judges instead said he can file an individual case. Schrems maintains that Facebook violates the privacy of European-based users.
Austria’s Supreme Court of Justice has referred a case to the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding hate speech on social media platforms. The referral could have a global impact on Facebook – and ultimately on our privacy and freedom of speech.
Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect in May 2018, and with it, a new set of tough penalties for companies that fail to adequately protect the personal data of European users. Amongst those affected are domain name registries and registrars, who are required by ICANN, the global domain name authority, to list the personal information of domain name registrants in publicly-accessible WHOIS directories. ICANN and European registrars have clashed over this long-standing contractual requirement, which does not comply with European data protection law.
This was one of the highest profile topics at ICANN's 60th meeting in Abu Dhabi which EFF attended last year, with registries and registrars laying the blame on ICANN, either for their liability under the GDPR if they complied with their WHOIS obligations, or for their contractual liability to ICANN if they didn't. ICANN has recognized this and has progressively, if belatedly, being taking steps to remediate the clash between its own rules, and the data protection principles that European law upholds.
This bill, however, would give law enforcement around the globe — though particularly in the U.S. — more access to users’ private data without sufficient privacy protections.
The head of Austria's data protection authority Andrea Jelinek is replacing Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin as the chair of the body representing national data protection supervisors known as the Article 29 Working Party. Jelinek was elected for the post on Wednesday and is likely to also become the head of the upcoming European Data Protection Board, tasked to enforce the general data protection regulation.
EU data protection chiefs are worried member states won't be ready when a new wide-sweeping general data protection regulation goes live on 25 May. National laws still need to be passed to ensure data authorities can enforce the regulation EU-wide.
In January 2018, the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union picked up where the Estonian Presidency left off on the ePrivacy Regulation. It issued two examinations of the last Estonian “compromise” proposal and asked national delegations for guidance on some issues. Together, the documents cover most of the key points of the text. While the Bulgarian Presidency brings clarity on some points, its questions pave the way to undermine the text – and therefore threatens the protection of citizens’ privacy, confidentiality of communications of both citizens and businesses, as well as the positions of innovative EU companies and trust in the online economy.
The European Parliament’s Special Committee on Terrorism (TERR) was established on 6 July 2017, for a renewable twelve-month mandate. The Committee was created with the ambitious aim of addressing ostensible practical and legislative deficiencies in the fight against terrorism across the European Union and with international actors.
EDRi observer Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte (GFF) has filed a constitutional complaint against surveillance by Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND). A new law that the German Parliament passed in October 2016 allows the BND to spy on foreign journalists.