Articles about Brussels

Radicalisation? UK.gov gets itself in cluster-muddle over 'terrorism'

Analysis Today's report by a Parliamentary committee called for everyone from the government to the press to combat terrorism by creating "counter-narratives" to those used by ISIS to justify its actions. It also argued that it was the responsibility of the press and social media sites to facilitate the creation of these “counter- …
Andrus Ansip, EU vice-president. Pic: Shutterstock

Top digital Eurocrat issues non-denial about hyperlink non-tax

Comment European Commission vice president Andrus Ansip has denied plans to impose “a tax on hyperlinks”, even though the EU can’t tax hyperlinks, and nobody has asked for URLs to be taxed. URLs, as you might suspect, would be very hard, if not impossible, to “tax” anyway. The great Polish writer Stanisław Lem used to disguise satires …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Aug 2016

EU ministers look to tighten up privacy – JUST KIDDING – surveillance laws

European ministers are debating a clampdown on encryption and a further increase in surveillance in response to mounting terrorist threats. Bernard Cazeneuve, France’s interior minister is due to meet his German counterpart, Thomas de Maizere, to discuss possible regulations to limit the use of encrypted communications across …
John Leyden, 23 Aug 2016

How Brussels works: if you can’t beat them, join rewrite an EU directive

Analysis The biggest European telcos are poised to use Brussels to enact their revenge on American internet platforms, and on OTT providers like WhatsApp, the Eurocrats’ house journal The Financial Times claims. This isn’t exactly news, as a “sop to telcos” was exactly how we described what to expect last year, after we were leaked a …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Aug 2016
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Three owner Hutch lobs sueball at EU over failed O2 buy

The owner of mobile network Three UK, CK Hutchison, has lodged a legal challenge against the European Commission. The Telegraph, which broke the story, says a filing has been filed with the General Court (formerly the Court of the First Instance), after the European Competition Commission blocked the acquisition by Hutchison. …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Jul 2016
A coffee pot used to brew tea

Milk IN the teapot: Innovation or abomination?

El Reg towers was plunged into internal strife today, with the production desk struggling to keep the news production line humming as senior editors were forced to launch an investigation into the question that has split the editorial team down the middle: is it acceptable to add the milk to the tea pot? The rift opened up at …
Clodagh Doyle, 29 Jul 2016

European privacy body slams shut backdoors everywhere

Europe's privacy body has reiterated its pro-privacy, anti-backdoor stance. The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Giovanni Buttarelli has long expressed the view that “privacy versus security” is a false dichotomy. In 2015, he told a conference in Brussels that “the objective of cyber-security may be misused to …

Don't doubt it, Privacy Shield is going to be challenged in court

Analysis The European Union's attempts to make data transfers to the United States compliant with privacy laws are an opaque exercise, so much is obvious, but will they work? It's clear that it is necessary to retain the Transatlantic data trade – in economic terms, but also as a means of preventing the Balkanization of the internet. …

Kotkin on who made Trump and Brexit: Look in the mirror, it's you

Interview Two American writers have attempted to grapple with the rise of “populism” exemplified by Donald Trump and Brexit, with both starting (if not finishing) from the Left. Both Death of the Liberal Class by Chris Hedges and The New Class Conflict by Joel Kotkin both make uncomfortable reading for the complacent chatterati. Both …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Jul 2016
drone

Post Brexit EU will spend 'stability and peace' budget funding Chinese war drones

The European Union wants to spend part of its “peace building” overseas aid budget on equipping African and Middle Eastern countries' armed forces, according to reports – which could include the provision of Chinese-built drones. The Financial Times reported yesterday that Brussels bureaucrats are planning to amend the rules …
Gareth Corfield, 05 Jul 2016
London stock exchange, photo via Shutterstock

London Stock Exchange's German mega-merger: It's a go, despite Brexit

The London Stock Exchange takeover by its German competitor Deutsche Boerse (aka the "Merger of Equals") should still be going forward despite Brexit, but a planned vote by their respective shareholders throws another wildcard into how job cuts are shared between London and Frankfurt. The £12bn deal, announced in March, is due …
Dominic Connor, 04 Jul 2016

Evernote riles freetards with two-device limit

Evernote has unveiled the switch that followed the bait, in the form of a new pricing structure that stops users of its free note-making application from synching more than two devices. Its "Remember Everything" pitch now comes with a restriction that's as popular as a UKIP T-Shirt in Brussels, and users aren't happy. Adding …

Gun-jumping French pols demand rapid end to English in EU

Brexit A brace of French politicians has demanded a rapid post-Brexit de-anglicisation of EU business, potentially leaving the English-speaking majority of Ireland scrabbling for their Gaelic phrase books. The Gallic complaints about the English language came as the Irish Language Commissioner detailed Irish Irish speakers' …
Joe Fay, 27 Jun 2016
Data scientist image via Shutterstock

Brexit government pledge sought to keep EU-backed UK science alive

BREXIT Scientists and politicans have called on the Brexit government to keep funding EU-backed projects at current rates or risk becoming a backwater. Nicola Blackwood, chair of Parliament's Science and Technology Committee, urged the Brexit Government to move quickly to reassure scientists and their collaborators in the EU that the …
Katyanna Quach, 24 Jun 2016

Don't laugh: Ofcom's a model for post-Brexit Europe

BREXIT With a stunned Europe absorbing the departure of the second biggest member of the EU, our much-criticised Ofcom could provide a guiding light for new ways of co-operating. Ofcom receives plenty of stick here at The Register: most recently for its handling of OpenReach and its insistence on a four-network mobile market, which …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Jun 2016

Vendors suspend tech orders as Brexit slaps Brit pound

BREXIT If there is one thing the IT industry despises it is uncertainty and there was lashing of the stuff poured across the UK following the Brexit vote. Most major vendors already came out in favour of the Remain camp - including Microsoft, IBM, HPE, SAP, EMC, Cisco and many others - the result was so unexpected for the community …
Paul Kunert, 24 Jun 2016
European flag with sad face

Mandarins plotted to water down EU data protection regs

Exclusive Even before Blighty voted to leave the EU, the government was plotting to water down far-reaching data protection regulations from Brussels - The Register can reveal. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was due to come into place by 2018 and have been described as the biggest shake-up of EU data protection laws in …
Kat Hall, 24 Jun 2016
Ireland and Great Britain map, image via Shutterstock

Three non-obvious reasons to Vote Leave on the 23rd

Comment I'm just about old enough to remember the 1975 Europe referendum. Old enough to remember leaflets thudding onto the doormat (for every 'NO', there were three for ‘YES’). Most vividly of all I remember my father and our Austrian GP, who lived a few doors down in Teesside, discussing the EEC as he walked his dog past our house. …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Jun 2016

Friends with benefits: A taxing problem for Ireland in a post-Brexit world

Britain outclasses anywhere in the EU for attracting inward investment, partly because it is in the EU, and Brexit will leave some of those tens of billions looking for a new target. Since Ireland already does well in this, Brexit could turn out rather well for the emerald isle. On the surface, a UK exit from the EU could mean …
Dominic Connor, 16 Jun 2016
His master's voice

EU bureaucrats claim credit for making 'illegal online hate speech' even more illegal

The European Commission has claimed the credit for getting Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft to agree on a code of conduct which will address "illegal online hate speech", despite the companies already following practices demanded by EU bureaucrats. The three-page code of conduct (PDF) seeks to establish how online …

SWIFT CEO promises security improvements

The head of the SWIFT financial network has put forward a five-part plan to improve security after its systems were the focus of several cyberattacks. Gottfried Leibbrandt gave a keynote on Tuesday at a financial services conference in Brussels and promised the organization would work harder to ensure that incidents like last …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 May 2016
Tractor sprays wheat crops under a blue sky. Photo by Shutterstock

SHOCK: GM crops are good for you and the planet, reckon boffins

In a rebuke to the EU, and environmental activists worldwide, the biggest scientific metastudy yet conducted of genetically modified foods concludes they’re good for human health and the environment. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an advisory body of scientists, finds no evidence of risks over …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 May 2016

Big Pharma wrote EU anti-vaping diktat, claims Tory ex-MEP

Revolutions have started for flimsier reasons than draconian new laws that assault the population’s health. In the past, a ruling bureaucratic class has had to do something demonstrably stupid to signal to the people that it’s unfit to govern: like dramatically increase the price of staple foods such as bread, or introducing …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 May 2016

Congress calls for change to NSA spying law

The legal justification for the NSA to tap the internet's backbone was put on the table Tuesday in a hearing of the Senate's Judiciary Committee, with some senators vowing to add privacy protections to the law as expert witnesses noted the FBI was likely reading the love letters of US citizens rather than tracking down …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 May 2016
O2 XDA Argon

French maverick sniffs around O2

European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is expected to block Three UK owner CK Hutchison’s takeover of O2 this week, leaving BT as the dominant player in the UK’s mobile market. BT, lest you forgot, is also the monopoly wholesaler of broadband, and the single largest retail provider of broadband too, with a 31 per cent share …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 May 2016

Hey, YouTube: Pay your 'workers' properly and get with the times

Analysis The latest record industry middleman takes more than ever from the mouths of musicians, at least compared with the old record industry middleman. Head of the recording industry trade group BPI Geoff Taylor says that video music consumption doubled, but revenue only rose by 0.5 per cent. Taylor contrasted this with a 70 per …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 May 2016

Why has Microsoft stopped being beastly to Google?

Analysis "You can't deprive a gangster of his gun" – Noel Coward Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sees things differently from his predecessor Steve Ballmer. And one of the first thing Nadella saw differently is Microsoft’s relationship to Google. On assuming the hot seat, he couldn’t understand why Microsoft was obviously at war with …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Apr 2016

European Union set to release anti-competition hounds on Google

The European Union looks to be formulating plans to charge Google with anti-competitive conduct over the Android operating system. The move coincides with a flank attack on Google, with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp filing a complaint about the legality of the Alphabet subsidiary's search and news services. The grounds for the …
Man on bicycle talks on mobile on busy Brussels street. Photo by Alredo Cerra via Shutterstock

Europe's new privacy safeguards are finally approved, must invade EU nations by 2018

Analysis The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been ratified by the European Parliament. The final seal of approval follows successful passage through the EU Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. Following four years of discussions and amendments, the GDPR is now officially EU law and will …
John Leyden, 14 Apr 2016
Three store maidenhead

Ofcom wants you to thank it for resurrecting the spectre of BT's 1980s monopoly

Comment Years ago, we used to mock Ofcom for its Ofcom-branded bottled water, and its tediously technocratic “evidence based” approach, something which is actually enshrined in the 2002 Act that created it. Throughout its first decade, Ofcom chief execs stood regally above the fray, knowing that a regulator’s decision must be …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Apr 2016
European commission photo via Shutterstock

EC cooking up rules change for aggressive tax avoiders

The European Commission is reported to be updating its planned rules for tackling aggressive tax planning. Brussels’ legislators are understood to be updating existing tax plans that would force companies to say where their money is held. Under the proposed rules, firms operating in EU member states with a turnover of more …
Gavin Clarke, 12 Apr 2016

UK competition watchdog gripes to Brussels about Three-O2 merger

Britain's competition regulator has written to Brussels to put the brakes on the proposed £10.25bn merger between Three and O2 unless a fourth mobile operator is proposed. In a letter to Europe's competition chief Margarethe Vestager, chief executive of the UK's Competition and Markets Authority, Alex Chisholm, reiterated the …
Kat Hall, 11 Apr 2016
European commission photo via Shutterstock

Three to chop off £3bn of its network in bid to woo EU over O2 merger

Three UK is making a last-ditch attempt to win EU approval of its £10.25bn O2 merger with a number of sweeteners, including £3bn in network deals with competitors, according to reports. According to The Telegraph, Three's owner, CK Hutchison, has signed deals with Virgin and Sky that will guarantee space on its expanded mobile …
Kat Hall, 07 Apr 2016

Brexit: Time to make your plans, UK IT biz

Analysis The Brexit debate continues and, with the Leave and Remain camps neck and neck, it looks likely that the undecided few will carry the result. It seems that we can expect more headline-grabbing soundbites until the vote on June 23. The polarised nature of this debate is throwing up some interesting oddities, so you might be …
Frank Jennings, 31 Mar 2016
Woman in bathrobe is shocked by something she is reading on her laptop. Pic via Shutterstock

Ofcom is keeping schtum over BT Openreach plans until end of year

Telecoms regulator Ofcom will not release details of its proposals for greater structural separation of Openreach and BT until the end of the year. In February the regulator stopped short of recommending a full separation of BT and Openreach in its Digital Communications Review. Ofcom will now draft its "proposals for …
Kat Hall, 31 Mar 2016

William Hague: Brussels attacks mean we must destroy crypto ASAP

William Hague, the Conservative former Foreign Secretary in the UK, has claimed that the latest Brussels terrorist attacks “show the need to crack terrorist communications.” Writing in The Telegraph, Hague claimed that the stand-out detail from the attacks in Brussels was “the communications discipline of those responsible.” …
EU egg timer, photo via Shutterstock

EU ministers to demand more data access after Brussels attacks

Following the terrorist attacks in Brussels, European Union ministers are planning on a new security-driven push for access to communications data – including a dedicated international data sharing platform. This comes after 31 people were killed and roughly 300 others were injured when three suicide bombers attacked Brussel's …

Lost in the obits: Intel's Andy Grove's great warning to Silicon Valley

Analysis A few years ago, Andy Grove took the Davos crowd to task. The received wisdom at the time – and it still is – was that America's future was as a "knowledge economy." It was 2010, and the former Intel CEO lamented that Foxconn employed more people – 800,000 in total – than Sony, Intel, Apple, Dell, Microsoft and HP combined. …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Mar 2016

Comms 'redlining' in Brussels as explosions kill up to 30 people

Communications are "redlining" in Brussels after three explosions struck the city this morning, two at the Zaventem international airport and one at the Maelbeek metro station. Belgian national media has called for citizens to stay indoors and off of their phones around the capital city following what seem to be terrorist …
Prey for the Gods - game by No Matter studios (sequel to In the Shadow of the Colossus)

CK Hutchison/O2: 'Four networks' dogma risks one giant and three hopeless dwarves

Analysis Three parent CK Hutchison is so keen to get its merger of O2 approved by Brussels, it’s willing to give up infrastructure and spectrum that a new entrant could use to create a fourth network. Brussels (and Ofcom) remain dead set on the UK having four major networks, rather than regulations that beef up competition from Virgin …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Mar 2016
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We’re so over Uber: Italy ponders slapping taxes on workers in the ‘sharing economy’

Italy has tabled Europe’s first, and most ambitious, legislation to tax and regulate internet platforms in the so-called “sharing economy”. The “sharing economy” euphemism is misleading, as companies like AirBnB and Uber are really “resource allocation intermediaries”, and could well monopolise social infrastructure in the …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Mar 2016
GCHQ road sign

GCHQ: Crypto's great, we're your mate, don't be like that and hate

Robert Hannigan, director of UK spy agency GCHQ, has said this week there is an ethical problem presented by encryption. The snoop-boss, speaking to an audience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, said the industry's technical experts should help intelligence analysts crack crypto used by criminals. …
European commission photo via Shutterstock

Europe is spaffing €20bn on handouts for tech

Sketch Europe's dreams may be sinking like the Titanic, but wait: there’s €20bn of taxpayer’s cash swilling around for tech handouts. So we found at yesterday's Digital4EU shindig. “There’s a lot of money with a digital label on it – over €20bn,” said Luciana Tomozei, policy advisor at the European Investment Bank. This comes via …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Feb 2016

Cameron co-opts UK mobile industry for EU Remain campaign

The date of the UK referendum on EU membership is set, and the campaigning has begun. Prime Minister David Cameron sees European mobile co-operation as a key part of the case for voting Remain. Today he chose Telefonica’s O2 HQ in Slough for a speech and public Q&A. Cameron argued that Britain would lose influence outside an …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Feb 2016

TTIP: A locked room, no internet access, two hours, 300 pages and lots of typos

A German MP has given an insight into the surreal restrictions imposed around the upcoming US-EU trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Katja Kipping has written a personal account of her visit to a special reading room at the German Ministry of Economics that was set up after Parliamentarians …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Feb 2016
Grinning man in suit points at a calculator meaningfully. Pic via Shutterstock

Europe: Go on. Ask us to probe the £130m 'sweetheart' deal HMRC made with Google

The EU's Competition Commissioner has said Europe would probe Google's £130m sweetheart deal with the UK government "if asked" - following growing calls for Brussels to scrutinise the deal. The Scottish Nationalist Party has today written to Brussels to investigate the arrangement. Stewart Hosie MP said: "The truth is that we …
Kat Hall, 28 Jan 2016

Apple CEO visits EU regulator to discuss tax bill

Apple chief executive Tim Cook met European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager in Brussels last week, apparently to discuss the European Commission's investigation into the company's tax affairs. The Commission confirmed that a meeting had taken place but said it could give no further details. The Commission is …
OUT-LAW.COM, 25 Jan 2016

IRA’s former political wing takes aim at Apple over back tax

Ireland’s republican party Sinn Féin has declared it has no intention of giving Apple any wriggle room over an upcoming European ruling that could leave it liable for billions in back taxes. Ireland is braced for an election - and starting 100th anniversary commemorations of the Easter 1916 rising against British rule. Some …
Joe Fay, 21 Jan 2016

Microsoft legal eagle explains why the Irish Warrant Fight covers your back

Interview Microsoft thinks its litigation against the US government to protect your data is far more important than the Schrems case. And that was pretty big. What’s it all about? The so-called “Irish warrant” case challenges Uncle Sam in areas it isn’t used to feeling any discomfort – and it encompasses far more data. So let’s hear the …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Jan 2016
botnet

Microsoft: We’ve taken down the botnets. Europol: Would Sir like a kill switch, too?

Last December, Microsoft intercepted traffic on users’ PCs and helped break up a botnet. And nobody complained. So the company very tentatively asked at a session on ethics and policy in Brussels this week whether it should do more. John Frank, Microsoft's VP of European Government Affairs, explained how Microsoft had helped …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Jan 2016