Articles about European Commission

The inflatable approaches a swell-lashed Rockall in 2003

Top EU data cop slams Safe Harbor replacement as inadequate

The EU's independent data protection supervisor has said that the proposed US-EU data sharing agreement, Privacy Shield, "is not robust enough to withstand future legal scrutiny" and has refused to endorse it. "Significant improvements are needed should the European Commission wish to adopt an adequacy decision, to respect the …
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 …

Are EU having a laugh? Europe passes hopeless cyber-commerce rules

Analysis The European Commission (EC) has approved a series of ecommerce rules designed to make Europe more competitive online. In true European fashion however, the proposals contain a lengthy series of inconsistent compromises and avoid altogether the most complex policy issues, making them largely worthless. Vice-President for the …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 May 2016
Photo by Guillaume Paumier

The Schmidt's hit by the fan: Alphabet investor sues Google bigwigs over EU antitrust ruckus

An Alphabet shareholder is suing company executives – including exec chairman Eric Schmidt, CEO Larry Page, and president Sergey Brin – for their roles in Google's EU antitrust case. Robert Jessup has filed suit [PDF] in a California state court against more than three dozen people, including the Google cofounders and long- …
Shaun Nichols, 26 May 2016
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Committees: Wait! Don't strap on the Privacy Shield yet

The revelations by rogue NSA sysadmin Edward Snowden in 2013 caused indignant EU politicians to open a dialogue with the US government to update the data transfer regime to safeguard personal data. The Privacy Shield is the culmination of those discussions. The US's hands-off approach has always differed from the EU's …
Frank Jennings, 24 May 2016
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Want a Brexit? Promise you'll sort out UK universities' £1bn research cash loss

Leaving the EU could mean UK universities lose a whopping £1bn research funding, according to report released by Digital Science today. Academics have already warned the UK that leaving the EU would hinder research. A letter to The Times was signed by more than 150 fellows from the Royal Society - including Stephen Hawking - …
Katyanna Quach, 18 May 2016
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Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise salute EU flag, blast Brexiteers

Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have nailed their colours to the EU mast as UK government applies pressure on firms to encourage employees, customers and channel people to support the Remain camp. UK CEO Michael Van der Bel at Microsoft has penned a note in which he stated “first and foremost” the way people decide to …
Paul Kunert, 17 May 2016
Google bikes outside Google HQ. Photo by Randy Miramontez/Shutterstock - for editorial use only.

EU mulls €3bn fine for Google

The European Commission may impose its largest ever fine on a company for misbehaving - and for Alphabet's Google, it could just be the start. The Sunday Telegraph reports that the Commission is considering a fine “in the region of €3bn” for Google’s anti-competitive search practices - or around half of Google’s European …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 May 2016
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Ireland's international tech sector bumps up against language barrier

Ireland has a very good track record of using its corporation tax rate to attract foreign tech firms - anyone who is anyone is either in Ireland or has been here. The number of jobs created down the years has been significant, especially for such a small country. The Industrial Development Agency (IDA) boasts that Ireland’s “ …
Billy MacInnes, 11 May 2016

Ireland's tax arrangements are as clear as a pint of Guinness

Comment Ireland has repeatedly been in the spotlight for its favourable and controversial tax incentives - which have attracted numerous large tech companies to its shores. However, the country has also been accused of being less than transparent in some of its tax arrangements. The European Commission is currently investigating the …
Kat Hall, 09 May 2016

How 'flexible' can the UK actually be on EU data protection law?

If EU member states can, by law, exercise legislative “flexibility” when implementing 50+ Articles of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), how can the regulation ever become harmonised across European Union? Pose this important question another way: given that the UK government intends to use legislative flexibility …

The EU wants you to log into YouTube using your state-issued ID card

Analysis The EU’s enquiry into online plantations platforms will recommend a hands-off approach that will delight Silicon Valley. A draft of the enquiry was leaked this week. The study, part of the EU's Digital Single Market wheeze, also sneaks in one of the EU bureaucrats' top favourite obsessions: national ID cards. You shouldn't be …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Apr 2016
'Broken Copyright' StockMonkeys.com

Getty Images flings competition sueball at Google Image Search

Getty Images has announced it will file a competition law complaint against Google with the European Commission. The photo library's beef with Google is that in 2013 it changed its image search service so that it instead of displaying thumbnail images users were instead offered “high res large-format content.” That change, …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Apr 2016
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IBM says no, non, nein to Brexit

IBM has left UK staff in no doubt it wants Britain to remain in the European Union even though many of those working in its services division might not be EU-based by the end of 2017. In February, Big Blue was one of 200 large firms across a range of industries that urged Brits to vote to stay in the Union, claiming a "Brexit …
Paul Kunert, 26 Apr 2016
Don Draper is Sad

Ad-blocker blocking websites face legal peril at hands of privacy bods

Websites that detect ad-blockers to stop their users from reading webpages could be illegal under European law. Alexander Hanff, a privacy campaigner and programmer, says he has received a letter from the European Commission confirming that browser-side web scripts that pick out advert blockers access people's personal data ( …
Iain Thomson, 23 Apr 2016
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Not OK, Google! FTC urged to thrust antitrust probe into Android

Advocacy group Consumer Watchdog is calling on the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to follow the European Union's lead and bring antitrust charges against Google Android. The group said that following the European Commission's statement of objections this week against the Chocolate Factory, it would like to see the FTC put …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Apr 2016

Prof squints at Google's mobile monopoly defence, shakes head

Analysis Google says that its tight control over Android is necessary to keep Android great, and safe for consumers, adding that it's not all that heavy-handed. Honest. Google feels hard done by because it has created a market of alternatives to Apple’s costly and proprietary iPhone, and that ecosystem benefits consumers. There’s no …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Apr 2016
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Official: EU goes after Google, alleges it uses Android to kill competition

The EU's competition authority thinks it has a smoking gun against Google. Consumers suffered because Google’s contracts with phone OEMs prevented the market from creating a better Android, the EU Commission alleged today. It has sent a formal Statement of Objections to Google that forces Google to come up with remedies or …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Apr 2016

Google warned by EU

Google abuses its dominant market position, according to EU antitrust folk. In a Statement of Objections addressed to Google and its parent company Alphabet, the European Commission has warned the advertising giant over imposing restrictions on Android device manufactureers and mobile network operators, and is thus in breach …
European flag with sad face

EU: We're splashing out €6.7bn on a giant scientific cloud

The EU is launching a €6.7bn (£5.3bn) mega “science cloud”, intended to better exploit the continent's academic research via big data. According to a press release from the European Commission, the EU is the "largest producer of scientific data in the world, but insufficient and fragmented infrastructure means this 'big data' …
Kat Hall, 19 Apr 2016
Google faces antitrust charges in the European Union

So you’d sod off to China to escape the EU, Google? Really?

Analysis Google structures its entire organisation to avoid privacy laws, minimise taxes and de-risk itself from competition oversight*. Today Google’s European supremo hinted that being in China might be less of a hassle, and that losing Google would serve us Europeans right for being so backward. Of course, it’s a sheer coincidence …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Apr 2016

Database of patent licence terms could help resolve FRAND disputes, says expert

Making the terms on which patents are licensed available for public scrutiny could help businesses, courts and regulators determine if the terms of other patent agreements are fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND), an expert in valuing intellectual property (IP) has said. Dr Roya Ghafele, director of Oxfirst, told …
OUT-LAW.COM, 14 Apr 2016
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Euro watchdogs give America's data-sharing Privacy Shield an 'F'

Europe's data protection authorities have graded the new Privacy Shield agreement that covers data sharing between the US and Europe a fail. In a formal response [PDF] published Wednesday by the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, the influential group outlined a number of serious concerns about the agreement, including …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 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
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
Spritam 3D printed pills

Brexit: Leaving the EU could trigger UK science patent law rejig

Opinion Some aspects of patent law of relevance to life sciences companies could come back under the control of UK law makers if the UK votes to leave the EU. The UK market could be effectively closed to parallel imports and, by the adoption of appropriate legislation, the UK could remove uncertainty and encourage investment in the …
OUT-LAW.COM, 05 Apr 2016
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Hue, not Three, could be Hutchison’s crown jewel as MNO model morphs

The European Commission has two months to decide whether to allow the takeover of Telefonica’s O2 UK arm by CK Hutchison, owner of 3UK, and if it does, what conditions will be imposed. One of the most likely demands will be for the merged entity to divest some of its infrastructure for a new entrant, or at least to earmark a …
Wireless Watch, 04 Apr 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
BT Openreach van outside Comedy Pub

Ofcom wants to crack down on pisspoor BT Openreach biz lines

Ofcom wants to impose "strict new rules" on BT Openreach to improve its leased line services to businesses, in draft proposals today recommending faster installation times, lower prices for high-speed lines and greater access to its “dark fibre” network by competitors. In its Business Connectivity Market Review proposals the …
Kat Hall, 22 Mar 2016
Netflix

'Contractual barriers' behind geo-blocking could breach EU rules

Consumers are partly prevented from accessing online services and content across the EU by "contractual barriers" put in place by businesses, the European Commission has said. Where contractual provisions are behind so-called "geo-blocking" then those agreements might breach EU competition rules, the Commission said in …
OUT-LAW.COM, 21 Mar 2016
European commission photo via Shutterstock

British IT outsourcers back Remain in the EU referendum campaign

A trade group representing companies that ship UK tech jobs overseas says we should vote to stay in the European Union. “Outsourcing is a significant growth industry for the UK - currently the UK’s second largest employer - and one where we have every chance of taking a global leadership position. Exiting the EU would quickly …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Mar 2016
Woman reads book, sips tea on couch. Photo by Shutterstock

Data protection: Don't be an emotional knee jerk. When it comes to the law, RTFM

How many times have you spoken to someone in a call centre who refused to give you information on the basis that the "Data Protection Act" prevents them? Any potential customers in Germany who told you they can’t buy your IT or cloud service because their law prohibits data transfers outside Germany? Has anyone told you that a …
Frank Jennings, 10 Mar 2016
EU logo on rubber glove

European commish considers probing Android, again

The European Union has taken early steps towards opening an antitrust investigation into the Android operating system. According to Bloomberg, Google's opponents have been asked to prepare redacted versions of their complaints with business secrets removed, so the documents can be shown to Google. The spirits tell Bloomberg …

Feel old? You will now: Blighty's mobile network Three is a teenager

Hutchison Whampoa’s Three network turns 13 today. The fifth mobile network to launch in the UK went live on … the March 3, 2003. Or 3-3-03. (Geddit? The date was no accident: 3 is a lucky number in Chinese culture.) Car crash Even with Hutch’s billions behind it, 3 had a rotten launch. The entire industry was suffering a …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Mar 2016
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GDS gets it in the neck from MPs over Rural Payments Agency farce

The Government Digital Service's reset of the Rural Payments Agency's IT system, which ended in disaster last year, was “inappropriate for farmers”, according to a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report. Last March a failure to integrate the digital front-end with the back-end system of the Common Agricultural Policy IT system …
Kat Hall, 02 Mar 2016
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
Cat 5 cable

Phorm suspends its shares from trading amid funding scrabble

Controversial web monitoring business Phorm has temporarily suspended trading in its shares after failing to secure funds. In a statement to the London Stock Exchange yesterday, it said it is in "advanced discussions" regarding alternative financing. "There can be no guarantee that such discussions will result in any funds …
Kat Hall, 26 Feb 2016

One major hurdle cleared for Dell's $67bn slurp of EMC

Dell and EMC have received US Federal Trade Commission clearance for their $67bn merger with the expiry of the 1976 Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act-mandated waiting period. Under the terms of the HSR act, the corporate parties to a merger must file details with the FTC and US Department of Justice, and wait for 30 …
Chris Mellor, 23 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

'Leave' or 'Stay' in the referendum? UK has to implement GDPR either way

Opinion “In” or “out”, the UK has to implement the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This is important given that some organisations might think that a “Leave” vote might change matters with respect to the GDPR compliance (especially as the Cabinet minister responsible for GDPR implementation, John Whittingdale, is a prominent …
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Zuck: Facebook won't retry Free Basics in India

MWC16 Mark Zuckerberg says he'll find other ways to deliver connectivity to rural Indians, after his Free Basics program was rebuffed in India. But the program will press on in the other 37 countries. Free Basics was just one of Facebook's Internet.org initiatives, he stressed, which intended to bring the 4.1 billion unconnected …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Feb 2016

Privacy Shield: Data Protection Commissioners break out a six-pack

Hawktalk In this blog, I make a few comments about “Safe Harbor 2” (or the “Privacy Shield” to use the flash marketing term for the recently announced agreement). In summary, there is no published evidence that the Privacy Shield actually provides an adequate level of protection: so contrary to all those optimistic news reports, can you …
Girl in rain

Bulk sensitive data slurp? You can't stand under our umbrella-ella-ella – EDPS

A data protection framework that will underpin the exchange of personal data between law enforcement agencies in the EU and US should not apply when sensitive information is to be transferred to the US in bulk, an EU privacy watchdog has said. The data protection "umbrella" agreement was announced by the European Commission …
OUT-LAW.COM, 17 Feb 2016

Europe whips out tool to get a grip on govts jerking around the web

The European Commission (EC) has published a beta version of its new internet governance tool, called the Global Internet Policy Observatory (GIPO). GIPO has been a year in the making after it signed a contract back in December 2014 to create a tool that would "address the main challenges of the multi-stakeholder governance of …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Feb 2016
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Google? Great firm, lovely people, says Microsoft-backed ICOMP

A Google-bashing industry group backed by Microsoft says its Google-bashing days are over. In a blog post from last week, ICOMP confirmed that it was changing its focus: While we continue to monitor the Commission’s Google investigation, we are aligning our focus to evolving interests of our membership. ICOMP now focuses on …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Feb 2016
HMRC photo, Gov.uk

HMRC is to tax OpenStack cloud with UK citizens' data

Britain’s taxman has embraced OpenStack for a fledgling cross-channel digital tax service. HMRC is rolling out its vaunted multi-channel digital tax platform (MDTP) on OpenStack from relatively unknown cloud start up DataCentred. That means what was once billed as a Linux for the cloud has become the web and data centre …
Gavin Clarke, 10 Feb 2016
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EU could force countries to allocate 700 MHz band to mobile by mid-2020

New legislation could force EU countries to make sure the 700 MHz band of spectrum is made exclusively available for mobile services by the middle of 2020. The European Commission has published proposals to introduce new laws that would require EU countries to “allow the use of the 694-790 MHz frequency band for terrestrial …
OUT-LAW.COM, 08 Feb 2016
Man with head in the cloud

Europe makes it rain for cloud biz: £30m of gold showered on BT, IBM etc

The European Commission has announced what companies will supply the organization with its new cloud services. Contracts were broken out into three "lots," covering a private cloud setup, public cloud setup, and platform-as-a-service, for which it will pay a total of €34.6m (US$38.5m, £26.6m). Despite having received 20 …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Feb 2016

Three: We won't hike prices if you say yes to £10.5bn O2 merger

Three has promised it will not raise prices for customers if it is allowed to hop into bed with O2 in its proposed £10.5bn in an open letter hitting back at regulators' fears over the deal. In the letter, Hong Kong-based CK Hutchison, which owns Three UK, promises it will not raise the price for consumers of a voice minute, a …
Kat Hall, 04 Feb 2016