Policy Observatory

Juncker demands better EU telecom roaming charge plan

Mon, 2016-09-19 16:01

The European Commission withdrew proposals on Friday that would limit next year's abolition of mobile phone roaming charges after criticism that the rules should do more to favor telecoms firms' customers.

In a dramatic U-turn, four days after officials published rules to restrict how many days consumers could use phones abroad without extra fees, President Jean-Claude Juncker ordered the draft revised in what allies and officials said showed that the EU executive wanted to be seen to listen to ordinary voters.

Introductory remarks by Commissioner-designate Sir Julian King to the LIBE Committee

Mon, 2016-09-19 15:57

Sir Julian King introductory remarks are available here.

EU to give detailed results of e-commerce inquiry on Thursday

Mon, 2016-09-19 15:53

Online and electronics retailers will find out on Thursday whether European Union antitrust regulators plan to take any action after a year-long investigation into restrictions on cross-border online sales within the bloc.

AVMSD Refit or Reform? Audio Visual Media Services in the Digital Era

Mon, 2016-09-19 15:50

This study aims to analyze the key points of the proposed revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive highlighting the strengths and weaknesses, and proposing new policy in the form of final recommendations, with a view to one regulatory scenario that takes into account the diverse positions of the stakeholders involved. The first part of the study examines the current rating audiovisual landscape in Europe, stressing that this is changing quickly thanks to technological advances and market developments and the convergence of media. The second part is devoted to the European Commission's proposal for amendment of Directive 2010/13/EU, together with the assessment of its impact Italian legal order.

The study is available in English here.

Canada’s anti-counterfeiting chargeback project: paying back deceived consumers

Mon, 2016-09-19 15:42

In 2012, Project Chargeback was created as an anti-counterfeiting, anti-piracy initiative. It is having significant success in disrupting the sale of counterfeit and pirated goods over the internet and preventing their entry into the channels of commerce in Canada.

The project, which is administered by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center (CAFC), was launched in response to complaints from Canadians receiving counterfeit or questionable goods from e-commerce websites.

The Post and Courier investigation on police practices in U.S.

Mon, 2016-09-19 15:34

Police forces across the United States are stockpiling massive databases with personal information from millions of Americans who crossed paths with officers but were not charged with a crime.

A person can end up in one of these databases by doing nothing more than sitting on a public park bench or chatting with an officer on the street. Once there, these records can linger forever and be used by police agencies to track movements, habits, acquaintances and associations – even a person’s marital and job status, The Post and Courier found in an investigation of police practices around U.S.

CJEU judgement in case Tobias Mc Fadden v Sony Music

Mon, 2016-09-19 15:20

The operator of a shop who offers a Wi-Fi network free of charge to the public is not liable for copyright infringements committed by users of that network. More information here.

Austrian court refers Facebook privacy case to European court

Tue, 2016-09-13 17:04

An attempt by Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems to have a data protection case against Facebook (FB.O) heard as a class action suit moved a step ahead on Monday when Austria's Supreme Court referred the question to the European Court of Justice (CJEU).

Facebook has questioned the right of Schrems to bring a Europe-wide class action on behalf of tens of thousands of consumers. Schrems is claiming 500 euros ($562) in damages for each of more than 25,000 signatories to his lawsuit, one of a series of European challenges to U.S. technology firms and their handling of personal data.

U.S. tech firms urge Congress to vote for the IANA oversight transition

Tue, 2016-09-13 17:01

Major technology companies including Facebook, Google and Twitter are urging Congress to support a plan for the U.S. government to cede control of the internet's technical management to the global community, they said in a joint letter dated on Tuesday.

The U.S. Commerce Department has primary oversight of the internet's management, largely because it was invented in the United States. Some Republican lawmakers are trying to block the handover to global stakeholders, which include businesses, tech experts and public interest advocates, saying it could stifle online freedom by giving voting rights to authoritarian governments.

The years-long plan to transfer oversight of the nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, is scheduled to occur on October 1 unless Congress votes to block the handover.

EPIC publishes "Privacy and Human Rights" survey

Tue, 2016-09-13 15:39

EPIC has published the first digital edition of Privacy and Human Rights: An International Survey of Privacy Laws and Developments. The report by EPIC and Privacy International provides an overview of key privacy topics in over 75 countries around the world. The report outlines legal protections, new challenges, and important issues and events relating to privacy. Topics include biometric identification, Internet advertising, and location privacy.

Dutch police to register sympathisers of Kurdish separatist PKK

Tue, 2016-09-13 15:32

Dutch police are planning to register the names of Dutch Turks who sympathise with the Kurdish separatist movement PKK in their official computer system, the Telegraaf said on Tuesday.

Wikimedia, EDRI, and others call for EU Copyright Package to uphold DSM fundamental principles

Tue, 2016-09-13 15:29

In the letter published on 9 September, the signatories request the EU Commission not to create a new ancillary right for publishers, to maintain the E-Commerce Directive safe harbour and not to limit the Text and Data Mining exception to 'public interest research institutions' only.

Unlocking copyright for users: Make law, not licenses

Tue, 2016-09-13 15:25

From the perspective of COMMUNIA and EDRi the leaked drafts of the Commission’s proposal presents a grim picture, where all ambitious attempts to adjust copyright to the challenges of the digital economy were replaced by a focus on propping up existing revenue streams. If the leaked proposals are measured against EDRi’s list of copyfails, almost none of the points identified as necessary to address are covered by the draft legislation. Those that are addressed are only superficial fixes to the existing state of affairs. The leaked proposal is like the new ACTA, as EDRi’s Diego Naranjo put it.

EU court blocks Brazilian company from trademarking sound of a ringing phone

Tue, 2016-09-13 15:20

The EU General Court judgment held that distinctive sounds can be trademarked, provided that they may be represented graphically. However, because the ringtone sound is so familiar and so universal, the court decided that a general consumer in the European Union would be "unable, without prior knowledge, to identify that ringing sound as indicating that the goods and services come from Globo."

Encryption backdoors weaken security says UK’s new European Commissioner

Tue, 2016-09-13 15:16

Julian King, the UK’s new European Commissioner said that he believed encryption backdoors would weaken the online ecosystem as a whole. Regarding data protection questions he would “respect purpose limitations,” citing recent court rulings in the Digital Rights Ireland and the Max Schrems cases. Moreover, despite the ongoing controversy over PNR, King said he wanted to implement existing instruments “to the full.”


Remarks of U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information at fostering the advancement of the Internet of Things workshop

Sun, 2016-09-11 14:49

The article contains the remarks of Angela Simpson Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Fostering the Advancement of the Internet of Things Workshop. The workshop's information will be integrated in the Department of Commerce policy green paper on IoT, which will identify next steps for the Department and recommendations for the next Administration.

Facebook is accused of censorship after deleting iconic Vietnam War photo

Sun, 2016-09-11 14:37

Aftenposten, Norway's largest newspaper, criticised Facebook for removing the Pulitzer-prize winning photograph from one of its posts. The newspaper published a series of photographs that "changed the history of warfare". The 1972 picture by Nick Ut features nine-year old Kim Phuc running away, naked, from napalm bombs. Facebook asked the newspaper to remove or "pixelise" it because of her nudity.

The newspaper refused and Facebook took down the post. The newspaper then put the photograph on its front page on Friday (9 September), next to a Facebook logo.


U.S. Justice Department group studying Internet of Things threats to national security

Sun, 2016-09-11 14:23

The U.S. Justice Department has formed a threat analysis team to study potential national security challenges posed by self-driving cars, medical devices and other Internet-connected tools, a senior official said.

The new group's goal is to secure the so-called "internet of things" from exploitation by “terrorist threats” and by others who might try to hack devices to cause loss of life or achieve political or economic gain, according to Assistant Attorney General John Carlin, head of the Justice Department’s national security division.

Revenge porn to be criminalised in Western Australia domestic violence law

Sun, 2016-09-11 14:10

The Western Australian government aims to criminalise cyber-stalking and revenge porn with new family violence legislation.

Under the proposed laws, anyone who cyber-stalks or posts revenge porn online to blackmail or humiliate their current or former partner could face a two-year jail term.


CJEU says that linking to unauthorised content is NOT a communication to the public unless one seeks financial gain and has knowledge of illegality

Thu, 2016-09-08 13:17
This morning the Court of Justice of the European Union has issued its judgment in GS Media. This was a reference for a preliminary ruling from the Dutch Supreme Court. It had been made in the context of proceedings between Sanoma (the publisher of Playboy magazine) and GS Media, concerning the publication by the latter on a website that it operates (GeenStijl.nl) of hyperlinks to other websites hosting unpublished photographs of Dutch starlet Britt Dekker. These photographs were due for publication in a forthcoming issue of Playboy.