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EU competition chief goes after Amazon’s delux Lux tax deal

Europe’s outgoing competition commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, confirmed on Tuesday that he has launched an investigation into Amazon’s tax dealings in Luxembourg despite his imminent departure of his post. Almunia, who is due to leave office at the end of this month when his replacement, Margrethe Vestager, comes in, recently …
Jennifer Baker, 07 Oct 2014
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SCREW YOU, EU: BBC rolls out Right To Remember as Google deletes links

The BBC will publish a summary of articles removed from Google search rankings under the infamous "right to be forgotten" rules. At a public meeting, the Beeb's editorial policy chief, David Jordan, said the public also had a "right to remember". A ruling by the European Court of Justice in May ordered Google to remove links …
Jasper Hamill, 17 Oct 2014
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It's official: EU chiefs WILL probe Apple's Irish tax deal

The European Commission officially announced today that it is looking into the possibility that Apple received illegal state aid from Ireland in 1991 and 2007. The Commish is examining whether deals done with the Irish tax authorities constitute state aid. Apple’s European arm is incorporated in Ireland and, like most …
Jennifer Baker, 30 Sep 2014

Want the EU to work on making cloud snoop-proof? Speak up, my good 'stakeholder'

The public has less than two weeks to respond to one of the vaguest European Commission consultations ever… but one that will decide where the Commish spends its money. The deadline for submissions to the public consultation on Cloud Computing and Software has been extended by a week to 17 October. But unlike many consultations …
Jennifer Baker, 06 Oct 2014
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Google's 'Right to be forgotten' roadshow is just a 'distraction' – EU digital rights group

European digital rights group EDRi will boycott the last day of Google’s right to be forgotten roadshow on Tuesday because it believes the search giant has “misrepresented the whole issue”. As an example, the group pointed to the search giant's Transparency Report, in which it refers to "URL removal requests" rather than the …
Jennifer Baker, 04 Nov 2014

EU's super-commish for tech: Geo-blocks on cat vids, music – NOT FAIR

Andrus Ansip, the new EU super-commissioner for all things digital, says he will work to completely abolish geo-blocking of media in Europe – and urged telcos to get on with pushing out high-speed mobile broadband. What started out as a relatively boring and predictable hearing before the European Parliament on Monday took a …
Jennifer Baker, 07 Oct 2014
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Google will have to WAIT and SEE if I fine them - EU antitrust chief

New EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager has said that she won’t be rushed into a decision on Google's alleged abuse of its dominance of the search engine market. Vestager described the investigations into Google as “multifaceted and complex” and said she would need some time to decide on the next steps. The case against the …
Jennifer Baker, 12 Nov 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
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EU Google-bashing is making us look really bad, say Google bashers

It appears that Google's rivals, who have complained about the ad giant's European dominance, are worried that bashing the goliath can go too far. “It is irresponsible to try and make the Google case seem wider than it actually is,” said Microsoft-backed ICOMP, an organisation representing big businesses that have moaned to the …
Jennifer Baker, 13 Dec 2014
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EU waves remote at Liberty Global's Dutch telly takeover

Liberty Global must sell its Dutch premium pay-TV movie channel Film1 if it wants to take over cable telly operator Ziggo, Brussels' antitrust chief has warned. Since the planned buyout will bring together the first and second largest cable television networks in The Netherlands, the European Union’s competition commissioner …
Jennifer Baker, 10 Oct 2014
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Ex-EU digi supremo Steelie Neelie's net neutrality bid in tatters?

Former EU digital tzar Neelie Kroes’ net neutrality plans for the Continent may be chucked out by national governments. The latest draft of a law prepared by Italy for national delegations to mull over – a copy of which was leaked by digital rights group EDRi here [PDF] – suggests replacing a definition of net neutrality with a …
Jennifer Baker, 25 Nov 2014
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Google’s dot-com forget-me-not bomb: EU court still aiming at giant

Google’s argument that its .com domain is not relevant in so-called "right to be forgotten" requests in Europe will not stand up in court, according a senior legislator at the European Commission. Speaking at the Academy of European Law’s data protection event in Paris on Thursday, Paul Nemitz, the outspoken director of the …
Jennifer Baker, 31 Oct 2014
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What happens in Europe, doesn't stay in Europe: US giants accused of breaking EU privacy pact

More than 30 big US tech firms are breaking international agreed-upon US-EU Safe Harbor commitments to safeguard Europeans’ data, according to a complaint filed with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday. The Washington-based Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) claims tech giants such as AOL, Adobe, Salesforce, …
Jennifer Baker, 14 Aug 2014

EU dangles $6bn threat over Google in endless search abuse probe

Formal charges will be meted out to Google if its latest offer to tweak its search engine in Europe fails to satisfy regulators, Brussels stressed today. The American web giant is accused of abusing its dominance position in search – for example, allegedly unfairly burying its rivals way down in its web search results. The …
Kelly Fiveash, 23 Sep 2014

Right To Be Forgotten in the US: Americans wanna be like EU-oo-oo, says watchdog

The US should be more like Europe – and introduce the controversial "right to be forgotten" ruling – says a top American consumer-defending organisation. In a letter to Google CEO Larry Page and exec chairman Eric Schmidt, Consumer Watchdog asked the search supremos to extend the EU's privacy ruling, dubbed the "right to be …
Jennifer Baker, 15 Oct 2014
Ryanair

EU Ryanair 'screen-scraping' case could affect biz models

Some price comparison websites and other online businesses could be forced to alter their business models if the EU's highest court takes steps to prevent unauthorised "screen-scraping" of data, an expert has said. The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) is due to hear arguments today from Ryanair and a Dutch price comparison …
OUT-LAW.COM, 12 Nov 2014
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EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'

Europe’s caretaker Commissioner for Justice says Google et al are trying to throw a spanner in the works of data protection. Speaking at an event in Lyon on Monday, Martine Reicherts, who was appointed Justice Commissioner when her predecessor Viviane Reding became an MEP in May, said certain parties are “trying to use the …
Jennifer Baker, 19 Aug 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

UK.gov rushes out broken 'Orphan Works' system as EU Directive comes in

+Comment The Government has rushed out its controversial “Orphan Works” licencing scheme – but it’s broken on arrival, and if it doesn't start working almost at once it probably won't get the chance. The rushed release is no coincidence. It means, perhaps, that the UK can technically claim that it had a “pre-existing Orphan Works scheme …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Oct 2014

New EU data chief: 'We share common targets with the United States'

After failing to impress the European Parliament in her grilling last week, the new Commissioner responsible for data protection has further explained her position on agreements with the US and data protection. Asked whether she would suspend the Safe Harbour data sharing agreement with the United States, Věra Jourová said that …
Jennifer Baker, 06 Oct 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 …
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Landline deregulation: Big EU telcos have Skype to thank

Traditional telcos have caught a break from the European Commission with the fixed telephony and the wholesale fixed call markets set to be immediately deregulated. However, Steelie Neelie Kroes, the outgoing digital agenda commissioner, denied that this was a sop to get lots of very large and powerful companies on-side, via the …
Jennifer Baker, 09 Oct 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 cyber-cop: Dark-net crooks think they're beyond reach (until now)

Hundreds of website domains seized, 17 arrested and $1m in Bitcoin confiscated – Thursday was, apparently, a busy day for the West's cyber-cops. Operation Onymous, in which police and g-men in more than a dozen European countries as well as the US, has claimed some big scalps including the Silk Road 2.0, Hydra and Cannabis Road …
Jennifer Baker, 07 Nov 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 …

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
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Apple, Google mobe encryption good news... for TERRORISTS – EU top cop

People don’t know the difference between privacy and anonymity, says EU top cop Troels Oerting: they want the former, but the latter will make life too easy for criminals. The Europol Assistant Director and head of European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) was joining a chorus of lawmakers and law enforcers reacting to news that Apple …
Jennifer Baker, 02 Oct 2014

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

Freshly uploaded EU digi-Czar is CLUELESS ON TECH but it's no big deal, says Steelie Neelie

It doesn’t matter that the incoming EU Commissioner for all things digital doesn’t really understand technology, so says Europe's current digi commish Neelie Kroes. Günther H.* Oettinger, the man set to take over Steelie Neelie's role in November, is not renowned for being particularly up on Web2.0, with a marked lack of …
Jennifer Baker, 21 Sep 2014

EU digi bods brace selves for 'charm' of Microsoft, Uber et al

Europe’s digital agenda commissioners will be knee-deep in lobbyists this week. Thanks to its new transparency register, the European Commission is making all of its meetings public. This week, digital economy and society veep, Andrus Ansip, is scheduled to meet: David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer; Brad Smith, …
Jennifer Baker, 20 Jan 2015

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
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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
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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 …

New EU digi-commish struggles with concepts of net neutrality

Comment The incoming EU Commissioner for all things digital, Günther Oettinger, was quizzed by the European Parliament on Monday night. Truthfully, most of the questions lacked teeth. While the answers to his written questions were bland and lacking in any real content, Oettinger seemed to have decided that saying “infrastructure” over …
Jennifer Baker, 29 Sep 2014
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Right to be forgotten should apply to Google.com too: EU

Europe’s data protection watchdogs say there’s no need for Google to notify webmasters when it de-lists a page under the so-called "right to be forgotten" ruling. The Article 29 Working Group (A29), which is made up of the EU’s national data protection authorities, has also agreed that such de-listing requests should apply to …
Jennifer Baker, 26 Nov 2014
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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 …
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 …
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'I don't NEED to pay' to watch football, thunders EU digi-czar

Europe’s new digital chief’s passion for ending geo-blocking has been explained: he’s missing out on his beloved Estonian football. The European Commission’s VP for the digital economy and former Estonian prime minister, Andrus Ansip, has reiterated his determination to end so-called geo-blocking in every speech he has made …
Jennifer Baker, 09 Dec 2014
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EU phone home! Cloudy transatlantic cable coughs, gags, chokes

Updated 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

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

Is EU right to expand 'right to be forgotten' to Google.com?

Worstall on Wednesday The European Union is arguing that the so-called "right to be forgotten" (you know, sure, I was a paedophile mass murderer but it was only the once and I've been to confession now so nobody should know about it) in Google and other search engine results should be extended to the Google.com domain, as well as those aimed more …
Tim Worstall, 03 Dec 2014
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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

Something will happen in Google 'dominance' probe. Just don't ask me what - EU antitrust chief

Europe’s new Competition chief has vowed that there will be next steps in the antitrust probe into Google's alleged "abuse of dominance" – she just doesn’t know what they are yet. Margrethe Vestager was up in front of the European Parliament in Thursday’s round of Commissioner-designate grilling. In response to a question from …
Jennifer Baker, 03 Oct 2014

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

Yelp files competition complaint against Google search biz in EU

Updated 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
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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 …
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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 …

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 …

EU Competition chief: So what if I didn't tame Google? You're all 'irrational' anyway

Analysis Europe’s unelected competition czar has signed off with a sour burp aimed at his elected critics in Parliament. "I don't think antitrust investigations should be part of the conventional political debates," Joaquín Almunia complains in the Wall Street Journal. He was quizzed on his failure to deal with Google, a case which …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Oct 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