Articles about European Commission

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Amazon's tax deal in Luxembourg BROKE the LAW, says EU

Amazon’s sweetheart tax deal with Luxembourg is illegal, according to the European Commission. The Commission’s preliminary findings indicate that the deal, struck back in 2003, constitutes illegal state aid. Since then, Amazon has been paying taxes worth only 4-6 per cent of its operating expenses - an arrangement that the …
Jennifer Baker, 16 Jan 2015

Is new EU digi chief H-dot Oettinger starting a war with his boss?

Things not to do in the first week of your new job: slag off the boss. It seems this memo bypassed the EU's new digital chief Gunther H-dot Oettinger. The new European Commission structure is different to the one Oetti is used to. The new Commission, which took over on 1 November, has seven senior vice presidents in charge of 20 …
Jennifer Baker, 06 Nov 2014
The Register breaking news

Commission to Euro biz: Show us your breaches

EU businesses could be required to flag up any breaches of their "network and information systems" under a new "strategic" action plan to combat cyber security problems across the trading bloc. The European Commission is planning to draft new laws on cyber security that could introduce a requirement for businesses to report when …
OUT-LAW.COM, 25 Jul 2012

Commish: Stop playing that Spanish jazz, Orange. Wait until we’ve done our homework

Orange’s plans to take over Jazztel in Spain could hit a wall as the European Commission begin an investigation to determine if the merger is in line with EU competition law. Both Orange and Jazztel operate fixed telco networks in Spain and the planned takeover would reduce the number of nationwide providers from four to three …
Jennifer Baker, 04 Dec 2014
Belgian cricket. Original pic: Simon Blackley

We need copyright reform so Belgians can watch cricket, says MEP

Battle lines are forming over the EU’s promised copyright reforms, with Brussels’ lobbying machine going into overdrive. On Thursday, the European Film Agency Directors (EFAD), a network of directors of 28 film agencies based inside the European Union, begged the EU Commission to drop its plans for a major copyright overhaul, …
Jennifer Baker, 18 Mar 2015
padlock

EU flings €1m at open source security audit wheeze

EU institutions have finally got the memo about it being a good idea to pinpoint and fix security vulnerabilities. Next year the European Parliament has allocated up to €1m for a project to audit free software programs in use at the European Commission (EC) and the EU Parliament in order to find and repair potential weaknesses …
Jennifer Baker, 23 Dec 2014
Slurp

Euro consumers have TOO MUCH choice – telco operators

Three or four market players is plenty, at least according to the GSMA, the association that represents nearly 800 mobile operators. At an event in Brussels this week, GSMA director Anne Bouverot said it was ridiculous that there were nearly 100 players in the EU market while the US does perfectly well with four or five. In …
Jennifer Baker, 12 Dec 2014
Gunther Oettinger, EU digital commissioner. Pic: Götz A. Primke

Gaffe-prone EU digi chief: We still want our single digital market

CeBIT 2015 Following another gaffe-heavy week last week when he compared net neutrality activists to the Taliban, Europe’s digi-commish Günther H. Oettinger was back on firmer ground today at CeBIT. The EU Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society gave a keynote speech at the international conference, which describes itself as “100 …
Jennifer Baker, 16 Mar 2015

EU operators PLEAD for MERCY, may get roaming rates cut ‘reprieve’

Policymakers are set to propose “no change” in wholesale telecoms roaming rates in the EU as part of a review of the system in 2016, according to a report. The Financial Times said it had seen a draft proposal from the Italian presidency of the European Council which indicated “long-fought proposals on roaming and spectrum …
OUT-LAW.COM, 25 Sep 2014
Sad cloud

EU governments are CRAP at cloud, moans Brussels' infosec watchdog

European governments haven’t got a clue how to implement cloud services. So say the EU's own cybersecurity experts. ENISA (the European Network and Information Security Agency) has released a report on the adoption of something it calls “Gov Cloud”, defined as “a deployment model to build and deliver services to state agencies ( …
Jennifer Baker, 28 Feb 2015

Leaked doc: Europe's justice chiefs forming plans to cosy up to ISPs

Europe’s justice ministers appear to be forming plans to make it easier to access ISPs' data, as part of a series of proposals intended to limit the spread of online radicalising material. The proposals were revealed when an internal document for discussion at the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Riga (on 29, 30 January) was …
Jennifer Baker, 23 Jan 2015
The Register breaking news

European Parliament votes to fight ITU internet power grab

The European Parliament has passed a resolution protesting plans by the International Telecommunications Union to seize regulatory control of the internet. "[The European Parliament] believes that the ITU, or any other single, centralised international institution, is not the appropriate body to assert regulatory authority over …
Iain Thomson, 24 Nov 2012
Uber - living the dream

German court slaps down Uber's ride-sharing app

A German court has slapped Uber with a nationwide ban on its ride-sharing app Uberpop – again. The ruling means the app is no longer allowed, as it enables users to be ferried around by drivers who do not hold the requisite professional licences – a requirement under German law. The company's other services are still permitted …
Kat Hall, 19 Mar 2015

Nothing says 'Taliban' quite like net neutrality, eh, EU Digi Commish?

Comment Gaffe-prone Gunther is at it again. This time the EU Digi-Commissioner Gunther H-dot Oettinger has described the enforcement of "uniform" net neutrality as "Taliban-like". Unsurprisingly digital rights activists have not been pleased at being compared with a fundamentalist organisation judged by the UN to be responsible for the …
Jennifer Baker, 10 Mar 2015

Slurping air passengers' private details not great for privacy, concede EU data bods

Despite calls for increased monitoring of airline passengers after the Charlie Hebdo murders, EU data protection authorities have repeated that the indiscriminate nature of passenger name record data processing means it is likely to undermine EU citizens' right to privacy. The Article 29 Working Party (WP29), made up of the 28 …
Jennifer Baker, 06 Feb 2015

Likes of Google to have undue influence in Brussels, say activists

The EU is in danger of signing away its ability to regulate major US companies - for instance Google and Facebook - according to lobbyists opposed to the way transatlantic trade talks are going. Round eight of negotiations on TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement) is taking place in Brussels this …
Jennifer Baker, 05 Feb 2015
Facebook WhatsApp

EU blesses $19bn Facebook-Whatsapp marriage

The European Commission has approved the merger of Facebook and WhatsApp, ruling they are not close competitors – despite both offering free online messaging. After sending out lengthy questionnaires to the pair's rivals, the commission gave the nod to the proposed deal. Competition chief Joaquín Almunia explained: “While …
Jennifer Baker, 03 Oct 2014
Use google.com button

Google MENACED by Russian probe over 'abuse of dominance' gripe

Russia's answer to Google, Yandex, has filed an official complaint against the American ad giant to the Russian competition authorities. Yandex claims the US ad slinger is abusing its position and forcing mobile phone manufacturers to include Google search on the home screen of all Android devices. The complaint comes as Yandex' …
Jennifer Baker, 18 Feb 2015

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
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 …

EU creative collection agencies want YouTube et al to pay their wages

Collecting agencies for audio-visual creators on Monday urged the European Commission to protect their income in the planned new copyright law and to make online platforms (among others) pay for it. The Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA), the association of European collective management organisations, called on digi …
Jennifer Baker, 24 Mar 2015

Don't use Charlie Hebdo to justify Big Brother data-slurp – Data protection MEP

The European Parliament’s data protection supremo says calls from national leaders to monitor all airline passengers are “playing into terrorists' hands”. German MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht, who heads the Parliament’s overhaul of EU data protection laws, described the plans for mass storage of PNR (passenger name record) data as …
Jennifer Baker, 14 Jan 2015

Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU

Apple’s "free" apps are "free" no more, thanks to the EU. Instead of clicking a button labelled with the word, fanbois must now select a button marked “get”. The move appears to be in response to warnings from the European Commission that the “free” label is misleading when games contain in-app purchases and could lead to legal …
Jennifer Baker, 20 Nov 2014

EU ministers hold Big Meeting on Big Data. But how will they get you to hand it over?

Analysis Europe’s Industry and Internal Market Ministers have been told to have a good long think about Big Data before showing up to their next meeting in Brussels on 2 March. The “theme” of the next Competitiveness council meeting is “Unlocking Europe's digital potential: faster and wider innovation through open, networked and data- …
Jennifer Baker, 18 Feb 2015
The Register breaking news

European Parliament votes against ACTA legal review

The European Parliament (EP) has voted overwhelmingly not to refer the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) for judicial review, but instead to strike while the iron is hot and vote on the treaty this June. The EP's International Trade Committee voted 21 to five against referring the controversial treaty to …
Iain Thomson, 27 Mar 2012

If the COMMISH says block that email account, BLOCK IT!

Europe’s General Court has said the European Commission was right to fine a Czech company for not blocking access to an email account during an antitrust case. In November 2009, the Commish ordered Energetický a Průmyslový Holding (EPH) to block email accounts of key personnel by changing the password to one known only to …
Jennifer Baker, 02 Dec 2014

Knives out for new EU rules forcing govts to reveal hacker attacks

Talks began on a new computer security law for Europe on Tuesday night. National ministers, the European Commission and MEPs got together for the first time in an attempt to nail down the wording in the proposed Network and Information Security (NIS) Directive. When it was proposed by the commission early last year, the draft …
Jennifer Baker, 14 Oct 2014
Angry woman on mobile

Euro ministers ditch plan to ban roaming charges

Europe’s telco ministers appear to have done a U-turn over a proposed total removal of mobile phone roaming charges by the end of the year. In 2013, the European Commission proposed a plan - backed by MEPs - to end costly roaming surcharges by the end of 2015. No longer would holidaymakers or business travellers be surprised and …
Jennifer Baker, 05 Mar 2015
Dr Dre Beats Solo

Forgot About Dre? Not us. Euro bods give nod to Apple and Beats deal

The European Commission has given its official blessing to the $3bn acquisition by Apple of headphone manufacturer Beats. After considering whether the link-up fitted in with merger regulations, the antitrust regulators decided the two firms were sufficiently different that there was no concerns about competition. In a …
Jasper Hamill, 28 Jul 2014
European Union Flag

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

Internet gossip has NOWT to do with data protection, EU Commish

Comment Europe’s new data chief has taken a leaf out of fellow European Commissioner “H Dot” Oettinger’s book, delivering a cast-iron “no shit, Sherlock” statement about things people write online. The EU’s new Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova was speaking ahead of a meeting of all the EU’s justice ministers about data protection …
Jennifer Baker, 04 Dec 2014

Oi, lobbyists. Cough up your details – EU's new first vice-president

Tech lobbyists trying to water down EU laws may soon find themselves in the spotlight, if new EU Commission supremo Frans Timmermans gets his way. The Dutch politician – who is set to take up the EC's number two spot next month with the official title “First Vice-President in charge of Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional …
Jennifer Baker, 07 Oct 2014
The European flag

MEPs want 'unbiased search', whatever that is – they're not sure either

Remember that vote in the European Parliament last week to “break up Google”? Well it’s not just about breaking up the American search giant. A closer reading between the lines of the non-legislative resolution reveals sideswipes at Amazon and eBay as well. The resolution – which was approved by by 458 to 173 last Thursday – …
Jennifer Baker, 02 Dec 2014

One digi market to RULE 'em all: Get with the net neutrality plan, guys, moans EU digi-veep

Europe’s new digi chief has told telecoms ministers to get their act together and deliver strong net neutrality rules. Andrus Ansip, European Commission veep for all things digital, said he had “no illusions” that this would be easy, adding: “I really hope that an agreement can be reached over the coming months. Otherwise, I …
Jennifer Baker, 08 Dec 2014

Let's vote on breaking up Google, say MEPs with NO power to do any such thing

On Thursday this week, the European Parliament will vote on whether to break up ad and internet giants such as Google ... even though it has no real power to do so. The so-called Resolution on the Digital Single Market, proposed by German MEP Andreas Schwab and his Spanish colleague Ramon Tremosa, seeks to unbundle search …
Jennifer Baker, 24 Nov 2014
The Register breaking news

Commission clears Hollywood studios after U-turn

The European Commission has ended an investigation into the major Hollywood studios after they changed contract provisions on installing digital kit at cinemas. Eurocrats reckon the changes will make it easier for small, independent films to get decent distribution. Moving a cinema onto digital equipment is expensive, so the …
John Oates, 04 Mar 2011
Fight sticker

Should spectrum hog TV give up its seat for broadband? You tell us – EU

The European Commission wants help in deciding whether or not to allow terrestrial TV to hang on to valuable spectrum. The Commish launched a public consultation on Monday asking industry, academia and users of TV or wireless broadband to speak their brains on how to proceed in allocating the 700 megahertz band. Currently, the …
Jennifer Baker, 13 Jan 2015
Zombie rising from the grave

EU's zombie data-grab plan climbs out of coffin

The European Parliament is divided over new efforts to revive a plan to slurp citizens' travel info. The Passenger Name Records (PNR) system was thought dead after the parliament rejected it in 2013, but following the Charlie Hebdo attack national governments have again insisted that the only way to prevent such tragedies is to …
Jennifer Baker, 26 Feb 2015

If Europe is against US's Irish email grab, it must pipe up now

Analysis The European Commission is running out of time to wade into the battle between US prosecutors and Microsoft over servers in Ireland. Uncle Sam's lawyers want the American company to hand over emails stored in the Emerald Isle, and everyone but the EC is piling in with their 2p. Before Christmas, the Irish authorities filed an …
Jennifer Baker, 07 Jan 2015
European Union Flag

Welcome your new digital.. commissioners? Likely pair could fill Steelie Neelie's shoes

It’s going to take two men to do one woman’s job at the new European Commission. The new line-up was announced on Wednesday following weeks of speculation and horse-trading of the sort that usually accompanies football transfers. President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker has decided to create two Digital roles to replace the current …
Jennifer Baker, 11 Sep 2014

We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie

Europe’s digital chief Neelie Kroes will reiterate her commitment to “international governance of the internet” later today – that’s code for a smaller role for the US. The European Commissioner will represent the EU at the ninth Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Istanbul, Turkey, next week and will push for a more “global …
Jennifer Baker, 29 Aug 2014
Facebook

What's up, Zuck? Facebook asks Brussels to probe its GIGANTIC WhatsApp deal

Facebook has asked the competition wing of the European Commission to probe its $19bn buyout of WhatsApp in a move to apparently nullify a host of investigations being sparked in multiple EU nations. According to the Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter, Facebook appears to be keen to swerve antitrust …
Kelly Fiveash, 28 May 2014
Rupert Murdoch @ Davos 2009 credit: World Economic Forum

Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims

Google has penned a response to News Corp’s accusations that the web firm is a “platform for piracy” and its exhortation to Europe to crack down on on the search firm even further. In a post on the Choc Factory’s official blog, Rachel Whetstone, head of global comms, rebutted News Corp’s points one by one while taking a few …
A garden gnome depicted stretched out across picnic table... with a pipe in one hand while the other props him up. Has a confrontational look in his eye...

EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report

The European Commission is set to accuse Apple of profiting from unlawful state aid from Ireland thanks to the sweet tax deals the firm has enjoyed for the last 20 years, a newspaper has reported. Sources whispered to The Financial Times reported (behind its paywall) that the EC’s antitrust authority will this week reveal some …
European Union Flag

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
Neelie Kroes signs eID

New e-Signature rules: Shouldn't WE be using it? – Steelie Neelie

After 15 years, the EU is finally updating its e-Signature rules — designed to establish a legal framework for the use of data signatures — although they won't apply to EU institutions themselves, much to the chagrin of outgoing Digital Agenda Commissioner Steelie Neelie Kroes. Neelie Kroes signs eID Neelie Kroes signs the eID …
Jennifer Baker, 14 Oct 2014
management regulation1

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
Facebook WhatsApp

Facebook, WhatsApp sit on cold steel table as Euro Commish ponders painful probe

Rivals of Facebook and WhatsApp have been asked to complete a whopping 88 multiple-choice, multi-part questions that range from the blindingly obvious – “To the best of your knowledge, do users use more than one social networking service?" – to the vague and indefinable – “Please provide any recent examples of consumers …
Jennifer Baker, 02 Sep 2014
money_yen_dollar_pound

Ireland accused of giving Apple 'selective advantage'

The European Commission will investigate the Republic of Ireland's handling of Apple's tax affairs, after raising concerns that discretion available to the nation's tax authorities “... has been used in the case of Apple to grant a selective advantage to that company, reducing its tax burden below the level it should pay based …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Jun 2014
Panasonic Viera TX-P42GT30

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