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Crikey! Three can buy O2, EU regulator says

The European Commission has approved Telefonica’s sale of O2 in Ireland to mobile network operator Three, in a deal originally proposed in June. This makes the network the second largest in the country behind Vodafone, but, as ever in these deals, the Hutchison Whampoa-owned Three - which paid €850m for the network - claims …
Simon Rockman, 02 Jun 2014
Micro SIM Card

Mobile SIM chip-makers 'will be fined by EU' for price-fixing, say sources

EU antitrust regulators are set to fine Samsung, Philips, Infineon Technologies and other tech firms for fixing the prices of chips used in mobile SIM cards, familiar folks whispered to Reuters. The European Commission kicked off a probe of the chips used in telly smart cards, passports, mobiles and ATM cards all the way back in …

Viv Reding quits justice commish role - heads for EU parliament

European justice commissioner Viviane Reding resigned from her Brussels' post today, after taking up her recently won seat in the European Parliament. The Luxembourg Christian Social People's Party politico said in a short Facebook post that her MEP mandate had begun on the same day as the "drastic reduction of tariffs of ' …
Kelly Fiveash, 01 Jul 2014
Viviane Reding

EU Parliament rubber-stamps 'irreversible' data protection reforms

EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding scored an important victory in the European Parliament today after securing support for a rewrite of the 28-nation bloc's data protection laws. Proposed changes to the DP Regulation secured 371 politicos in favour, 10 against and 22 abstentions. Altogether 276 MEPs voted for the DP …
Kelly Fiveash, 12 Mar 2014

Surprise! Google chairman blasts EU's privacy ruling

Google's chairman Eric Schmidt has attacked judges in the European Union's top court, who ruled earlier this week that the ad giant can be held responsible for the type of personal data that appears on its results pages. The multinational was shocked by the decision, which - in effect - ordered Google to respect existing privacy …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 May 2014

EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'

EU countries appear to be divided on how to implement a recent European Court of Justice ruling that calls on Google and other search engines to remove certain links from their indexes. The 28-state bloc's independent data protection advisory board - the Article 29 working party - met on Tuesday to discuss how removal requests …
Kelly Fiveash, 18 Jul 2014

EU ministers respond sleepily to Viv Reding's 'Snowden wake-up call' on data protection

The European Union's justice commissioner Viviane Reding is convinced that her proposed data protection package will be adopted next year, even though ministers continue to disagree on some of the more delicate points laid out in the planned rules. Brussels' vice president said ahead of a meeting with the justice and home …
Kelly Fiveash, 09 Jun 2014

EU privacy A-Team tells Google: Get a grip and obey OUR laws

The EU's advisory panel on privacy and data protection has warned Google to comply with Europe's laws in an unusually strongly worded statement. The Article 29 Working Party vowed to investigate if Google refused to abide by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling – Google Spain v Gonzalez et al – that decreed Google was not …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Jun 2014

Pinterest who? EU rules social network CAN'T trademark its own name

A trademark ruling in Europe could stop Pinterest from expanding onto the continent, as the EU's office rules that the company doesn't own the rights to the name "pinterest". The EU Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market has ruled against the crafts'n'cupcakes website, deciding that London-based social news aggregator …

EU's year-long, muddled search for a privacy head rumbles on

The European Union is yet to find a replacement for its current data protection boss Peter Hustinx, who was supposed to vacate the post in January but stayed on after it became clear that none of the candidates were suitable successors. Late last month, Brussels officials finally re-advertised jobs for the European Data …
Kelly Fiveash, 04 Jun 2014
Angry woman on mobile

Steelie Neelie 'shocked' that EU tourists turn mobes off when abroad

Nearly half of European tourists say they would never use mobile internet in another EU country and over a quarter turn off their mobiles altogether over fears of monstrous phone bills when they get home. The European Commission, which is trying to get roaming charges abolished, surveyed 28,000 EU citizens and reckon that …

Will the next US-EU trade pact prevent Brussels acting against US tech giants?

The European Union government in recent years has proven to be perhaps the most willing to take on the world's major tech companies over digital rights and wrongs. But that could come to an end if planned measures allowing companies to sue governments for lost profits are implemented as part of the next EU-US trade agreement. A …
Jennifer Baker, 18 Jul 2014
O2 XDA Argon

EU regulators quiz mobe industry over Hong Kong group's new bid

EU competition regulators are going to the mobile ISP industry with new concessions from Hong Kong firm Hutchison Whampoa, as it seeks approval for its $1bn bid for O2 Ireland. Sources whispered to Reuters that the conglomerate has offered the European Commission a new deal for Telefonica's Irish company after an initial …
management regulation1

EU antitrust bods: Motorola, Samsung too dominant to take on poor little Apple

Motorola and Samsung have escaped with a stern finger-wagging from the EU after using standards-essential patents (SEP) to stop the sale of Apple devices in Europe. The European Commission’s antitrust division said that Moto’s attempt to enforce an injunction on Apple gear based on a smartphone SEP was “an abuse of a dominant …
shutterstock_copyright_theft_burn_sidey must credit and link to shutterstock

One European copyright law-to-rule-them-all? EU launches review

The European Commission is seeking industry views on whether to completely harmonise copyright laws across the EU. The Commission has launched a consultation in an effort to gather views on how to modernise the existing EU copyright framework (36-page/223KB PDF). Respondents are being asked for views on matters ranging from the …
OUT-LAW.COM, 10 Dec 2013
Akamai_web_monitor

EU phone home! Cloudy transatlantic cable coughs, gags, chokes

A major transatlantic cable linking the EU and the US appears to have been cut, causing major problems for cloud operators. Global frontend security service Cloudflare and huge hoster DigitalOcean both reported significant connectivity problems on Monday as a consequence of a fault in the Telia transatlantic cable. Most large …
Jack Clark, 19 May 2014
A Dyson vacuum cleaner

Brit inventor Dyson challenges EU ruling on his hoover's energy efficiency ratings

Brit inventor James Dyson is challenging the EU's labelling policy for hoovers in court, claiming that it doesn't do his vacuum cleaners justice. Dyson said that the EU's energy efficiency rating system was based on dust-free lab conditions that were completely different to the way that hoovers performed in the home. The firm is …

EU warns United States: SHAPE UP on data protection OR ELSE

The US has until this summer to fix problems identified in the way an EU-US framework for the transfer of personal data between the regions operates, a senior EU official has said. Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner, said that the EU-US "safe harbour" agreement would be suspended if the US fails to take "legislative …
OUT-LAW.COM, 31 Jan 2014
NSA parody T-shirt

Prez Obama cyber-guru: Think your data is safe in an EU cloud? The NSA will raid your servers

A former White House security advisor has suggested that you, dear reader, are naive if you think hosting data outside of the US will protect a business from the NSA. "NSA and any other world-class intelligence agency can hack into databases even if they not in the US," said former White House security advisor Richard Clarke in …
Jack Clark, 24 Feb 2014

Yelp files competition complaint against Google search biz in EU

Local services review site Yelp has formally submitted a complaint against Google's search business to Brussels' competition officials. It comes as the European Commission's antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia pushes to bring an end to a lengthy probe of the ad giant by sealing a proposed settlement deal with Google, even as …
Kelly Fiveash, 09 Jul 2014
euros_channel_money

Intel pleads for €1bn EU fine to be overturned, is DENIED

Remember when Intel gave rebates to PC makers who bought its chips? The world’s largest computer chip maker has now lost its attempt to overturn the ancient €1bn fine from the European Union over its anticompetitive war with rival AMD. The record €1.06bn fine was handed down by the European Commission’s antitrust division …

Angela Merkel: Let US spies keep their internet. The EU will build its own

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has lent her support to the idea of building out new European data networks to help keep Europeans' email and other data out of the hands of US spies. In the latest edition of her weekly podcast on Saturday, Merkel said she planned to raise the issue among other topics in a meeting with French …
Neil McAllister, 17 Feb 2014

GSMA: EU net neutrality reforms are the enemy of business

Proposed reforms designed to ensure net neutrality across the European Union will hinder innovation to the detriment of businesses and consumers, according to a leading global mobile operators' association. The GSMA, which represents almost 800 mobile operators worldwide, said that EU proposals to prevent internet service …
OUT-LAW.COM, 25 Mar 2014

OK, EU chiefs, 3 years of copyright wrangling - let's get it sorted. Now this white paper... DOH!

Europe’s copyright reform process has stalled after a dispute between European commissioners – and reportedly some intense pressure from Silicon Valley’s “Third Senator”, European Commissioner Neelie Kroes. The current reform process got going in May 2011 with a “blueprint” for IP rights reform, kicking off a long and cautious …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jul 2014

Italy's 'Google tax law' could fall foul of EU discrimination rules

The European Commission has warned that Italy's proposed "Google tax law" would likely break European Union rules on non-discrimination, Reuters reported. The Italian government first floated the idea of the law last month, which became known as the "Google tax law" for what is seen its obvious target. The rule would require any …
Apple iPod Classic

EU move to standardise phone chargers is bad news for Apple

In a move that'll be cheered by phone users the world over, the European Union has decided that mobile phones should have a standard charger plug. In a unanimous vote, the EU's Internal Market Committee decided that there's no good reason the charger should be treated as a proprietary secret. As German MEP Barbera Weiler put it …
Photograph 12

EU pulls out antitrust probe, prods Euro pay-TV contracts

The EU is launching an anti-competition probe of major Hollywood studios and Europe's biggest pay-TV networks over their exclusive licensing deals. The European Commission's antitrust division said it was looking into the territorially exclusive contracts to see if they stopped broadcasters from being able to offer their …
fingers pointing at man

Data Retention Directive CLASHES with EU citizens' privacy rights, says top lawman

A seven-year-old EU directive that requires telecoms outfits to retain details of phone calls and emails - such as traffic and location - clashes with the 28-member bloc's privacy rights for citizens, a Court of Justice Advocate General has said. Pedro Cruz Villalón believes that the 2006 data retention directive "constitutes a …
Kelly Fiveash, 12 Dec 2013

MEPs demand answers from EU antitrust chief about planned Google search biz deal

MEPs have asked Brussels' competition boss Joaquin Almunia to explain to the European parliament why he thinks that a planned settlement deal he recently struck with Google over its dominant search biz in Europe is good enough to address concerns about the ad giant's alleged abusive tactics. In a letter – seen by The Register – …
Kelly Fiveash, 20 Feb 2014

Telcos can be forced to turn copyright cop, block websites – EU law man

ISPs across Europe can be instructed to block websites that provide access to pirated material, an EU advocate general said in a non-binding court opinion published yesterday. Pedro Cruz Villalón said that telcos can be ordered to, in effect, operate as buffers between their subscribers and site operators who infringe copyright …
Kelly Fiveash, 27 Nov 2013
euros_channel_money

EU hunts down online cross-border lawbook bureaucra-snaggles

The European Commission is to conduct an "in-depth review" of the risks present in conflicting laws and jurisdictions that apply online. The Commission made the announcement in a new communication it issued last week on internet governance. The Commission identified "a number of contradictory legal decisions" that have been …
OUT-LAW.COM, 19 Feb 2014

Meta search engines may infringe database rights: EU Court of Justice

Operators of websites in the EU that allow users to search for content on other sites and then display the information on their own site may be in breach of intellectual property laws as a result of a recent ruling by the EU's highest court. In a judgment issued last month, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) said that …
OUT-LAW.COM, 13 Jan 2014
money_yen_dollar_pound

EU probe into Apple's taxes: It's NOT to do with double-Dutch-Irish anything sandwiches

As already reported here at El Reg, Apple is being investigated by the EU over its tax “deal” in Ireland. The interesting part of the whole story is that it has pretty much nothing at all to do with all of the things that people normally complain about concerning Apple's taxes. It isn't, for example, about the way that the …
Tim Worstall, 12 Jun 2014

Vodafone turns to EU, asks it to FORCE 'fair' fibre pricing

Vodafone needs to get high-speed handsets into the hands of consumers to effectively compete in the market. But the company also needs to worry about how to handle all that data – and it's hoping the European Commission will help it get its hands on some cheaper fibre. It is hoping the EU will introduce mandatory price …
Simon Rockman, 27 May 2014
Great Wall of China

You can't have that many! China scuppers US, EU tech tariff talks

The EU and the US have accused China of continuing to block attempts to get rid of trade tariffs on technology goods by asking for far too many exclusions. The various governments have been discussing the expansion of the Information Technology Agreement at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), where China has been trying the …
Pile of mobiles

EU delays vote on roaming, open internet after TRANSLATION fail

The European Parliament's industry committee has postponed a vote on putting an end to roaming charges across the EU by 2015 and ensuring that telcos don't get to charge companies like Google to pay for faster interwebs. The Industry, Research and Energy committee (ITRE) was due to vote on a legislative report on roaming charges …
Thibaut_Kleiner

EU network tech boss: Europe to take the lead on 5G (thanks, Huawei)

At the 5G@Europe Summit on Monday, Brussels networking czar Thibaut Kleiner said that Europe will "lead" the way with 5G, and that this will mean growth in the IT sector and the economy at large. The Munich event was heavily sponsored by Huawei and while panel members included representatives from French telecom and networking …
Simon Rockman, 11 Feb 2014

Google strikes deal with EU competition chief over abuse of search dominance claims

Google has secured a settlement deal with the competition wing of the European Commission over its alleged abuse of the EU's search market that will be legal-binding for five years. The ad giant has attempted to reach such an agreement several times, only to be knocked back by antitrust commissioner Joaquin Almunia. But today, …
Kelly Fiveash, 05 Feb 2014

EU Justice Department stalls India's security clearance

India’s outsourcing giants are likely to face more delays in their frustrated bid to tap a potential IT services market worth $30 billion, after a report emerged suggesting the EU still has big data security concerns with the country. The EU and India have been trying to finalise their Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement …
Phil Muncaster, 19 Jun 2013
management regulation2

EU agrees to make documents available to support anti-cartel suits

Companies and individuals affected by cartel activity in Europe will gain access to vital documents to help sue for damages under new proposals which the European Commission says will ensure they "can obtain the evidence necessary to prove their claims". MEPs and European Council representatives agreed the terms on the proposed …
OUT-LAW.COM, 24 Mar 2014

Google CAN be told to delete sensitive data from its search results, rules top EU court

Google and other search engines can be held responsible for the type of personal data that appears on results pages it serves up, the European Union's Court of Justice ruled in a landmark case this morning. Its decision (PDF) is a rare example of the CoJ disagreeing with an earlier advocate general opinion from June last year, …
Kelly Fiveash, 13 May 2014
EU Bods look to future of UHF

EU eyes UHF spectrum: What do you think, biz bods... broadband?

The European Union has formed a new advisory group to work out what the future uses of the UHF spectrum band (470-790MHz) should be. And the list of representatives to the board reflects a more political than technical take on this, with company presidents and director generals listed rather than CTOs. The advisory group will be …
Simon Rockman, 17 Jan 2014

Cameron on EU data protection rules rewrite: 'Hold it so we get it right'

Britain's Prime Minister insisted today that he had successfully put a stop to Brussels' vice president placing what one Downing Street source told The Register would be an artificial date on the rewrite of Europe's 18-year-old data protection law. David Cameron - in response to a question from Labour leader Ed Miliband - said …
Kelly Fiveash, 28 Oct 2013

EU digital tsar 'Steelie' Neelie Kroes: Telcos must adapt to losing roaming cash

Europe's digital tsar Neelie Kroes has been defending her call for greater integration of telcos across Europe, and appears to be arguing that what she described as "artificial" lowered roaming revenues should not hinder the telcos' greater investment in European infrastructure. Neelie's plan is to get rid roaming charges across …
Bill Ray, 09 Oct 2013
Donkey alive and well on Street View

'Donkey-tugging' EU data protection law backed by MEPs

MEPs voted for an overhaul to existing data protection laws in Europe late yesterday, after the parliament's civil liberties committee made nearly 4,000 amendments to Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding's draft bill. The lawmakers, in recent months, have been lobbying for tougher controls in the wake of the PRISM/NSA scandal. …
Kelly Fiveash, 22 Oct 2013
European Union Flag

Steelie Neelie bangs cloudy Euro heads together with EU-wide conduct code

The EU has assembled the clearest cloudy minds known to humanity - on this side of the Atlantic, anyway - to work on a code of conduct that gives small biz customers more comfort in signing up to fluffy white tech services. “Steelie” Neelie Kroes, vee pee of the EC, seems to think the cloud will generate 2.5 million new regional …
Paul Kunert, 29 Oct 2013

Shambolic search for new head of EU privacy watchdog halted

A seven-month long search for a new European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has ended chaotically, after five candidates who were shortlisted for the job failed to meet Brussels' strict criteria, The Register has learned. It means that the posts that are currently held by Peter Hustinx and his deputy Giovanni Buttarelli will …
Kelly Fiveash, 08 Jan 2014
Google_skull

Slippery Google greases up, aims to squirm out of EU privacy grasp

Google is wriggling desperately to escape new European privacy rules that could force it to take some responsibility for what information it republishes in response to a given search – in particular a search of someone's name. The European Parliament voted in favour of data protection reforms in March, which the EU's press …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jun 2014

Steelie Neelie: EU biz can use YOUR private data WITHOUT PERMISSION

Businesses should be allowed to process part-anonymised, or pseudonymised, data without the consent of individuals whose data it is in certain circumstances, a senior EU official has said. Neelie Kroes, the EU Commissioner responsible for the Digital Agenda, said that companies should be able to process pseudonymised data …
OUT-LAW.COM, 16 Dec 2013
The Register breaking news

Yes, maybe we should keep hackers in the clink for YEARS, mulls EU

The EU is pushing through a directive calling for harsher criminal penalties against convicted hackers. The proposed rules (PDF) set a baseline sentence of two years' imprisonment in cases where hacks are carried out with the intent to cause serious harm, involve circumventing security measures and where no attempt is made to …
John Leyden, 11 Jun 2013