Policy Observatory

Premier League obtains injunction in the Netherlands

Wed, 2018-02-28 13:41

The English Premier League has secured an injunction against a Dutch internet hosting provider, Ecatel. The internet hosting provider was ordered by a district court in The Hague to stop providing services which facilitate the video-streaming of Premier League matches. Ecatel could face a fine of up to 1.5 million Euros. The action is part of the Premier League’s copyright protection program and it was stated that the legal proceedings followed earlier warnings.

Test at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol: quick and easy boarding using facial recognition

Wed, 2018-02-28 13:38

Together with the airline KLM, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has started a trial with voluntary ‘biometric boarding’, involving boarding without having to show your boarding pass and passport. Passengers can board quickly and easily via a separate gate that identifies passengers using facial recognition. Schiphol and KLM are assessing facial recognition technology with this trial, testing the speed, reliability and user-friendliness of the system. The boarding process and passenger experience will also be evaluated. The ultimate goal is to make the boarding process as easy and quick as possible for passengers. The trial period will last at least three months.

Corporations use facial recognition for marketing and profiling

Wed, 2018-02-28 13:35

In the Netherlands the use of facial recognition technologies for marketing and profiling purposes of customers seems to be increasing. According to the source, this is legally allowed in cases where costumers provide consent. The article highlights the mainstreaming of biometrical technologies. It is questionable if the general public agrees to the widespread use of such technologies and what the impact on societal interaction will be once the technologies have become ubiquitous.

Dutch police increasingly using facial recognition technology

Wed, 2018-02-28 13:30

The Dutch police has a facial recognition database containing "well over a million" faces of people taken into temporary detention (and consequently in the "strafrechtdatabase"). According to the news source, police ran approximately one thousand suspects through it, which led to 93 hits. There are at least three humans involved in the process as safeguarding measure: one before a photograph is fed through the algorithm to look at consider aspects such as the quality of the picture. Two humans are checking the results of the automated process. Furthermore, a hit is seen as in "indication" of someone's identity, not as definite proof.

Coalition agreement of CDU/CSU and SPD asks to consider modern ways of IPR utilization and ancillary copyright for press publishers

Wed, 2018-02-28 12:13

The coalition agreement of CDU/CSU and SPD, who could form the next German government, includes some considerations on how the IPR legislation should be developed in the EU. In particular, the agreement suggests an ancillary copyright for press publishers, as well as regulations to cover modern ways of IPR utilization. However, it remains unclear which forms exactly shall be tackled. In addition, a national strategy to strengthen Open Access shall be developed.

The process of drafting a Cybersecurity Act commenced

Wed, 2018-02-28 11:07

A consultation procedure was initiated on 15 February 2018 to discuss and gather ideas and recommendations for the future Cybersecurity Act, which will aim to transpose the NIS Directive concerning measures for a high common level of security of network and information systems across the Union.

Insights about the first three years of the Right To Be Forgotten requests at Google

Tue, 2018-02-27 12:36

Blog post from Google that summarizes the key findings after two full years of application of the Right to Be Forgotten using categorised data, including practices and statistics on how Google is implementing the European Court’s decision.

Crazy Swedish bill makes sharing TV as bad a "crime" as manslaughter

Fri, 2018-02-23 15:25

A new bill has been tabled in Sweden that triples the maximum prison sentence for infringement of the copyright monopoly, such as using ordinary BitTorrent, to a maximum of six years in prison.

Spanish Guardia Civil blocks access to 23 webs that provided movie downloads

Tue, 2018-02-20 14:04

Spanish Guardia Civil has announced an operation to block access to up to 23 websites that provided links to contents protected by copyright, including games, music, movies and TV shows.


How Apple is paving the way to a ‘cloud dictatorship’ in China

Tue, 2018-02-20 10:59

The US-based global tech giant Apple Inc. is set to hand over the operation of its iCloud data center in mainland China to a local corporation called Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) by February 28, 2018. Once the agreement is signed, GCBD — a company solely owned by the state — would get a key that can access all iCloud user data in China, legally.

EPIC joins call for increased oversight of intelligence agencies

Mon, 2018-02-12 10:15

EPIC and other leading open government organizations urged Congress to promote transparency and accountability of the Intelligence agencies. The groups called for the release of annual public reports, all significant opinions by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and an accounting on the number of Americans subject to foreign intelligence surveillance. EPIC previously called on lawmakers to require federal agencies to obtain a warrant before searching information about Americans in foreign intelligence databases. Through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, EPIC obtained a report detailing the FBI's failure to follow procedures regarding the use of foreign intelligence data for a domestic criminal investigation. EPIC has also testified in Congress on reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

UK mass digital surveillance regime ruled unlawful

Mon, 2018-02-12 10:11

The court of appeal ruling on Tuesday said the powers in the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014, did not restrict the accessing of confidential personal phone and web browsing records to investigations of serious crime, and allowed police and other public bodies to authorise their own access without adequate oversight.

German opposition calls for abolition of online hate speech law

Fri, 2018-02-09 19:13

Germany’s opposition parties on Sunday called for the abolition of a new law that aims to rid social media of hate speech, saying it was wrong for private companies to be making decisions about whether posts are unlawful. The legislation, which came into force on Jan. 1, can impose fines of up to 50 million euros ($60.1 million) on sites that fail to remove hate speech promptly, raising fears that Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms could block more content than necessary.

Austria refers Facebook ‘Hate-Speech’ case to the CJEU

Fri, 2018-02-09 19:10
The supreme court of Austria (‘Oberste Gerichtshof’ - OGH, case number 6Ob116/17b) has asked the Court of Justice of the European Union for clarification on the scope of Art. 15 (I) of the E-Commerce Directive and the host provider privilege.

France tables new 'fake news' law

Fri, 2018-02-09 19:07

France has tabled new legislation to quickly take down fake news at election time, its culture minister, Francoise Nyssen, has said. The new "judicial procedure" would "permit us to act very quickly when a fake news story goes viral, particularly during an election period," she told the Journal de Dimanche newspaper. The bill comes after Russian hackers and trolls tried to stop president Emmanuel Macron from getting elected last year.

No, the EU did not abolish geoblocking today

Fri, 2018-02-09 19:04

The EU did not agree to end geoblocking last November, or axe geoblocking last May or put an end to geographic discrimination today.

The extra copyright for news in Germany was a failure – yet the Bulgarian EU presidency now presents it as a good compromise for all of Europe

Fri, 2018-02-09 18:51

Should the EU introduce an extra copyright for news sites, restricting how we can share news online? The controversy around this plan continues to brew – this time in the Council, where the member state governments are trying to find a consensus.

România to define its national position on the EU copyright proposal

Fri, 2018-02-09 18:48

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.

US Senate passes bill renewing internet surveillance program

Fri, 2018-02-09 18:42

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.

EU court rules against Facebook class action

Wed, 2018-02-07 19:30

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.