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Huge erections - or lots of small ones. Checkmate, mast NIMBYs

Easing restrictions on the maximum height that existing telecoms masts can be increased to will lead to a reduction in the number of masts needed for supporting mobile broadband services, an expert has said. The Government is consulting on proposals to improve mobile connectivity in England [44-page 306KB PDF]. The plans include …
OUT-LAW.COM, 08 May 2013
frustration_anger_irritation_annoyance pain

'Inconsistent' watchdogs throw cloud biz barons into a tizzy

A lack of consistency over the way Asian regulators approach data privacy issues has led to a slow take-up of cloud services by businesses in the region, an expert has said. Hong Kong-based outsourcing contracts expert Peter Bullock of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said that cloud providers are not offering …
OUT-LAW.COM, 03 May 2013
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Retailers: You could get the chance to TEAR UP Penguin ebook contracts

Retailers could be offered the chance to terminate some agreements formed with Penguin over the sale of electronic books as part of the UK publishing company's bid to resolve European Commission concerns about the nature of those agreements. Penguin has formed an informal agreement with the Commission over its practices in …
OUT-LAW.COM, 23 Apr 2013
The Register breaking news

Now draft biz guillotine law triggers info privacy watchdog

There are insufficient data protection safeguards built in to proposed reforms to the EU's insolvency law framework, a privacy watchdog has said. In a recently issued opinion into the European Commission's draft Insolvency Regulation, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) raised concerns about the mandatory publication …
OUT-LAW.COM, 15 Apr 2013
The Register breaking news

Your consent 'almost always' needed when firms use your data to profile you

Organisations "almost always" require individuals' "free, specific, informed and unambiguous 'opt-in' consent" in order to make use of personal data they have previously collected in Big Data projects that involve analysing or predicting the "personal preferences, behaviour and attitudes of individual customers", an EU privacy …
OUT-LAW.COM, 10 Apr 2013
The Register breaking news

New rules to end cries of 'WTF... a £10 online booking fee?'

The government has issued guidance that sets out the kind of costs businesses incur that they are legitimately able to claim back through payment surcharging. Under the Consumer Protection (Payment Surcharges) Regulations, which took effect on 6 April, businesses are prohibited from charging consumers excessive fees for using a …
OUT-LAW.COM, 08 Apr 2013
The Register breaking news

GPs blow whistle to watchdog on patient record privacy threat

The UK's data protection watchdog has highlighted concerns it has with a new information-sharing initiative that has begun operating in the health sector in England. Earlier this week a new Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established with the power to require health bodies to hand over "any information" …
OUT-LAW.COM, 05 Apr 2013
The Register breaking news

EU red-tape slash shock: New tool defuses web shop argy-bargies

Online traders will be able to resolve contractual disputes with consumers based in other EU countries through a new online dispute resolution (ODR) framework after MEPs voted to back the new regime earlier this week. The European Parliament approved a new ODR Regulation and a new Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Directive …
OUT-LAW.COM, 15 Mar 2013
The Register breaking news

$1.5k per complaint. Up to 1,900 gTLDs. Brand owners, prepare to PAY

Brand owners may face a costly battle to fight 'typosquatters' under a new top-level domain regime, an expert has warned. In 2011 the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the body that oversees the identification of websites, voted to expand the number of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that are in use …
OUT-LAW.COM, 14 Mar 2013
The Register breaking news

EU mulls almost-anonymisation of folks' data to cut biz some slack

Officials from justice departments across the EU have been asked to explore to what extent the pseudonymisation of personal data can be used to "calibrate" businesses' obligations to data protection. Pseudonymisation (such as assigning fake names to people), as opposed to anonymisation (complete stripping of identity), allows …
OUT-LAW.COM, 11 Mar 2013
The Register breaking news

Tech titans: Give it a rest with the SEP injunctions, wouldja? - economists

Standard-essential patent owners should be required to try to settle licensing disputes out of court in a bid to restrict the affects of litigation on market innovation, three prominent economists have said. In a paper for the Competition Policy International (CPI) think tank, Kai-Uwe Kühn, Howard Shelanski and Fiona Scott …
OUT-LAW.COM, 08 Mar 2013

New UK.gov cyber-security standard puts MANAGERS in firing line

The UK government is seeking to hear from businesses that would be interested in submitting evidence to help form a new "organisational standard" for cyber security. The Cyber Security and Resilience Team within the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) has asked businesses to detail initial interest in …
OUT-LAW.COM, 07 Mar 2013
money notes lifted up

World spent $3.6 trillion on ICT in 2012 - analyst

International Data Corporation (IDC) said that the figure included what businesses had spent on telecoms services and that total expenditure on hardware, software and IT services alone had topped $2 trillion on its own. The latter figure represented a 5.9 per cent increase from the total IT expenditure in 2011 and was recorded …
OUT-LAW.COM, 04 Mar 2013
The Register breaking news

Google: Our 'freedom of expression' should trump punters' privacy

Google has called on the EU's highest court to uphold its right to display links to published "valid legal material" in the face of calls from Spain's data protection authority to remove links on the grounds of privacy. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is due today to stage a hearing on a case in which it has …
OUT-LAW.COM, 27 Feb 2013
The Register breaking news

Bundestag holds 'unusual' hearing on German Copyright Act

A "highly unusual" additional parliamentary hearing on proposed changes to German copyright law is a sign that there is increasing opposition to the publisher-driven plans, an expert has said. A cross-party sub committee on new media is scheduled to stage a hearing of stakeholders' views on the proposed amendments to the German …
OUT-LAW.COM, 22 Feb 2013
The Register breaking news

How private biz can link YOU to 'anonymised' medical data

Private sector businesses could obtain "identifiable" information about patients without their consent under a new scheme that will see medical data made commercially accessible, according to information disclosed by the government. Under plans previously unveiled by the government, a new research body, the Clinical Practice …
OUT-LAW.COM, 21 Feb 2013
The Register breaking news

Nursing watchdog fined £150k for confidential unencrypted DVD loss

The UK's data protection watchdog has fined the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) £150,000 after it deemed its failure to encrypt sensitive personal data stored on DVDs that were lost to be a serious breach of the Data Protection Act. The nursing and midwifery regulator had arranged for the DVDs, which contained confidential …
OUT-LAW.COM, 19 Feb 2013
The Register breaking news

ICO: How 'sensitive' is personal data? Depends what it's used for...

The sensitivity of personal information should be determined by the reasons behind why the information is to be processed, the UK's data protection watchdog has said. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) outlined its view in a new paper in which it analysed the European Commission's proposed new EU Data Protection …
OUT-LAW.COM, 15 Feb 2013
The Register breaking news

US diplomat: If EU allows 'right to be forgotten' ... it might spark TRADE WAR

US diplomat warns of "trade war" if "right to be forgotten" proposals in Europe are followed through. The introduction of planned changes to EU data protection laws could herald a trans-Atlantic "trade war", a US diplomat has warned. John Rodgers, economic Officer in the US Foreign Service, said that "things could really …
OUT-LAW.COM, 05 Feb 2013
The Register breaking news

'Most US banks' were DDoSed last year - survey

Nearly two-thirds of retail banks experienced at least one distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack in the past year, according to a new survey. In a new report, (12-page/941KB PDF) commissioned by Corero Network Security, 64 per cent of 650 IT and IT security experts from 351 banks said a DDoS attack had been carried out on …
OUT-LAW.COM, 24 Jan 2013

Cautious Brits less likely than US firms to puff on clouds - survey

A "fragmented" legal framework, the "attitude" of regulators and a naturally cautious approach to security issues are among the reasons why UK businesses have made less use of cloud computing than US counterparts, according to experts. IT law and cloud computing specialists Charles Park and Christopher Mann of Pinsent Masons …
OUT-LAW.COM, 23 Jan 2013

UK taxmen turn heat on tax-swerving big biz, hope to smoke out £1bn

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has increased its focus on international businesses it suspects of using profit shifting techniques to avoid taxes in the UK, according to figures obtained by Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com. A freedom of information (FOI) request made by the firm showed that the department's large …
OUT-LAW.COM, 22 Jan 2013
The Register breaking news

Hooking offshore wind farms into UK grid will HIKE bills, MPs warn

It is "unlikely" that a new licensing system intended to connect offshore wind farms to the national grid will save consumers money, an influential committee of MPs has warned. In a report, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said that the offshore transmission operator (OFTO) licensing regime could instead "lead to higher …
OUT-LAW.COM, 15 Jan 2013
The Register breaking news

Biz barons jumpy over EU draft data protection reforms

An MEP's suggested reforms to EU data protection laws, which are to be put to a vote before the European Parliament, would damage the interests of businesses, an alliance of business groups has said. In a statement, the Industry Coalition for Data Protection (ICDP) criticised the draft report that Jan-Phillip Albrecht published …
OUT-LAW.COM, 14 Jan 2013
French cartoon, 1790: devil disguised as man walking tightrope

Happy now? Mobiles, cloud, big data now 'a growing security risk'

Innovations in mobile and cloud computing, social technology and the use of "big data" present an emerging risk to organisations' IT security, experts have warned. The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), which is an EU advisory body, said that those technologies would increasingly provide the platform for " …
OUT-LAW.COM, 11 Jan 2013
The Register breaking news

A pre-ticked box in web forms should NOT mean consent - EU report

Businesses will not be able to use pre-ticked boxes to gain user consent for the processing of their data under changes proposed by the European Parliament to new EU data protection laws. In a new report, Jan-Philipp Albrecht, a rapporteur for the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee on the …
OUT-LAW.COM, 10 Jan 2013
francis_maude_flames_evil

New gov rules stick pin into bloated ICT frameworks

Following an internal review of government IT procurement, the Cabinet Office has announced that it has scrapped plans to use some existing ICT frameworks. It has said that government departments will only be able to establish framework agreements in future if they can show it will "explicitly deliver against key strategic needs …
OUT-LAW.COM, 08 Jan 2013
The male 'Blue moon' butterfly. Image credit: Sylvain Charlat

Chill out, biz barons... your new IT system might not look like the old one

Organisations that wish to update their IT systems and transform their business need to be careful not to be overly prescriptive with suppliers and overlook other important considerations, an expert in resolving IT disputes has said. Ian Birdsey of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said that organisations often " …
OUT-LAW.COM, 27 Dec 2012
The Register breaking news

ICO hits the road to crack 'underlying problem' at data-leak councils

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) will meet representatives from local authorities to address what it has called an "underlying problem" with the bodies' approach to data protection. The ICO made the announcement after it reported that it had served civil monetary penalty notices to four separate local authorities in …
OUT-LAW.COM, 19 Dec 2012
The Register breaking news

Tweeting bankers warned: U better not mislead customers...LOL

Banks must remember regulatory compliance issues when interacting with customers via Twitter, says an expert. Banks face regulatory risks when responding to customers through social media channels, a legal expert has said. A new study by Virgin Media Business has revealed that 63 per cent of banks now respond to customer …
OUT-LAW.COM, 12 Dec 2012
The Register breaking news

Silicon Roundabout £50m THING to spew 200 startups A YEAR

Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson have unveiled plans to establish a £50 million "technical and creative institute" around the area dubbed the Silicon Roundabout at Old Street in London. The plans, set out at a conference organised by LSE Cities, propose an architecture-designed scheme housing 200 …
OUT-LAW.COM, 11 Dec 2012
The Register breaking news

Start the clock! Public sector web MUST be disabled-friendly by 2015

Public sector organisations will be required to ensure that disabled users of their websites have the same access to certain content and services as other internet users by the end of 2015 under new European Commission proposals. The Commission said that more than 100 million EU residents would benefit from the rules it has …
OUT-LAW.COM, 05 Dec 2012
The Register breaking news

ICO: Anonymised data doesn't HAVE to guarantee your privacy

Data anonymisation does not have to provide a 100 per cent guarantee to individuals' privacy in order for it to be lawful for organisations to disclose the information, the UK's data protection watchdog has said. The view of the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), detailed in a new code of practice (108-page/2.15MB PDF) on …
OUT-LAW.COM, 26 Nov 2012

OEMs and sellers must pay refunds on software faults - OFT

Businesses that sell digital content to consumers should generally be responsible for providing refunds when services connected to that content fall below "quality standards" due to faults with the content, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has said. The UK's consumer protection regulator said that consumers should have a "right …
OUT-LAW.COM, 30 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

EC tells Euro rebels: Hike up your ebook tax to 15%, or else

Luxembourg and France must stop applying a reduced VAT rate to electronic books because doing so distorts competition across the rest of the EU and is in breach of EU tax laws, the European Commission has said. The Commission said it had issued both member states with "reasoned opinions" formally requesting that countries change …
OUT-LAW.COM, 29 Oct 2012

Brace yourselves, IT suppliers: You'll be squeezed HARDER next year

IT law specialist Clare Murray of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said that cost-cutting requirements and the changing needs of organisations are behind a rise in the number of IT outsourcing contract renegotiations. She said she expects the trend to continue. "Customers are under pressure to cut costs and are …
OUT-LAW.COM, 26 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

Sky staffer plundered database to benefit naughty false firms

A former Sky employee who took Sky customers' information from its databases and passed it on for use by others was guilty of misusing the company's confidential information and infringing the firms' database rights, the High Court has ruled. Steven Lee, who worked for Sky In-Home Service for more than five years, was also …
OUT-LAW.COM, 25 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

Brazilians strip Google News bare: News barons decide to pull out

Members of the National Association of Newspapers in Brazil (ANJ) have decided to stop Google from displaying snippets of their content on the internet giant's 'News' service. ANJ, which represents publishers making up approximately 90 per cent of the newspaper circulation market in Brazil, said that the appearance of its …
OUT-LAW.COM, 23 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

EU judge scolds Austria: Data sheriffs must be properly independent

EU countries that merely provide for their appointed data protection authorities to have "functional independence" cannot be said to be compliant with EU law, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled. In order to be said to have "complete independence", DPA staff must not share the same offices as Government …
OUT-LAW.COM, 19 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

'No cutting off people's internet based on secret evidence'

Ofcom should force rights-holders into publishing most of the details about how their systems for identifying cases of online copyright infringement work, a consumer watchdog has said. In a letter (6-page/1.71MB PDF) to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Consumer Focus said that it would seek "full transparency in …
OUT-LAW.COM, 17 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

When cookie spewers single you out, it IS personal, barks watchdog

Information that can lead to individuals being "singled out and treated differently" should generally be classed as "personal data", an EU privacy body has recommended. The Article 29 Working Party has outlined changes (45-page/410KB PDF) to how it wants 'personal data' to be defined, and to what information the term should …
OUT-LAW.COM, 16 Oct 2012

Watchdog: Gov bods should rummage through BINS for FOI data

Public sector bodies will generally be required to disclose information even if it is stored in computer 'recycle bins', the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has said. The watchdog has issued new guidance (25-page/350KB PDF) to help public bodies which are subject to the UK freedom of information (FOI) or environmental …
OUT-LAW.COM, 15 Oct 2012
grab_that_cash

ICO tries to justify hefty NHS data breach fines

The UK's data protection watchdog has defended its civil monetary penalty regime after it was criticised for the amounts of fines levied on public health bodies. Earlier this week Christopher Fincken, the chairman of the UK Council of Caldicott Guardians, said that the money NHS bodies were using to pay fines levied on them by …
OUT-LAW.COM, 11 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

UK bungs £250m to factories stung by climate-change policy

The heaviest energy users are being asked to shape a proposed £250m compensation package designed to help reduce the impact of energy and climate change policies on the cost of their electricity. The new consultation, which sets out the design of the scheme, follows on from the Government's call for evidence on the issue in …
OUT-LAW.COM, 10 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

Don't delete that email! Why you must keep biz docs for 6 YEARS

Companies should retain project emails and documents in a central repository for more than six years before considering deleting the information, an expert in resolving IT disputes has said. Ian Birdsey of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said that organisations should consider retaining the information for …
OUT-LAW.COM, 09 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

Don't panic, but UK faces BLACKOUTS BY 2015

The UK risks energy shortages by 2015 or 2016, energy regulator Ofgem has predicted. The shortages will primarily be caused by EU environmental legislation forcing the early closure of coal and oil-fired power stations, it said. Its first annual Capacity Assessment [93-page / 1.9MB PDF] projects that electricity margins, or the …
OUT-LAW.COM, 08 Oct 2012

EU green-lights 'copyright land grab' law on orphan work

EU ministers backed new laws to allow libraries, museums and universities - among other organisations - to digitise works that have become "orphaned" from their creators. The Council of Minister's formal adoption of the EU's Directive on orphan works [29-page 154KB PDF] means that member states will now have to implement the …
OUT-LAW.COM, 08 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

Google Wallet: Rub our button, cough 15p for quick read

A new scheme launched by Google is allowing internet users to pay to access content on individual pages on websites. The internet giant has partnered with a select number of publishers – including Oxford University Press and Peachpit – to enable users of its 'Google Wallet' mobile payment system to buy content from individual …
OUT-LAW.COM, 05 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

Privacy guardian wants one EU rulebook on ID databases

Organisations tasked with certifying systems individuals use for inputting personally identifying information should have to abide by a "common set of security requirements", an EU privacy body has said. The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) recommended that 'trust service providers', and those that issue individuals …
OUT-LAW.COM, 04 Oct 2012
g_cloud_uk_gov

HMRC: Moving our data to the cloud will make it MORE secure

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is to move data it currently stores in local offices to a new centralised government cloud computing depository in a move it says will save it £1m a year and improve on the security of its IT services. HMRC said it had signed a contract with Skyscape Cloud Services to enable it to store data in the …
OUT-LAW.COM, 03 Oct 2012