The EU And The Internet
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The EU And The Internet
The Internet Society brings you the latest news on Internet issues across the European Union. www.internetsociety.org/europe
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Ofcom | Online data economy value chain

An independent report examining the role of online user data in five sectors: the online, audio-visual, fixed and mobile telecommunications, and postal sectors. The report focuses on the principal ways in which online user data is used in these sectors, how it is contributing to growth, and what factors may support or hinder the further development of user-data business models
Internet Society's insight:
EU/UK: Data protection rules must not hamper innovation and competition
  • According to a recently published study on the Online economy value chain made for Ofcom, (the UK’s telecom and media regulator), stricter privacy rules may entrench the dominance of digital firms that currently dominate the market and prevent start-ups from entering the market and inventing new business models.
  • The report argued that if the current wide availability of customer data will be reduced, there will be new barriers for entering the market as online companies with large market share already retain big amounts of data.
  • The warning came as the EU Member States discuss the proposed overhaul of the EU data protection framework. The study said that balance must be struck between a liberal regime that could struggle to offer appropriate level of data protection, and stringent rules that could compromise innovation and bring about competition issues.
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Italian presidency to support Parliament-backed telecoms reform

Italian presidency to support Parliament-backed telecoms reform | The EU And The Internet | Scoop.it
The incoming Italian presidency of the European Union is ready to support the European Parliament-backed overhaul of EU telecoms rules, despite widespread criticism of the plan from governments and leading operators.
Internet Society's insight:
  • The incoming Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU (1 July-31 December 2014) will support the overhaul of the EU telecoms rules that was backed by the European Parliament in April.
  • Italy’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU, Marco Peronaci, stated that the country understands the concerns raised by the industry but will push the Member States to approve the proposed Connected Continent package, with possible modifications. Peronaci did not give a timeframe for the negotiations process.
  • Previously, several Member States (including Germany and the UK) raised concerned with regards to the text, leading analysts to speculate that the Parliament-backed proposal would not be accepted in the Council.
  • Italy’s position may change as two months after the government of Matteo Renzi took power, the governmental telecom portfolio has not been given to anyone yet. The telecom competence falls in the Ministry of Economic Development.
  • Arguably, net neutrality remains the most controversial part of the proposal. Speaking at a recent event in Brussels, ETNO’s Chairman Luigi Gambardella stated that while the openness of the Internet needs to be ensured, it needs to be done in a way that would not hamper innovationand efforts to improve the quality of network

Find out more about the EU and the Internet on the Internet Society website.
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General: France – Cloud computing a priority area in national industrial strategy

Internet Society's insight:

On 12 September, French President François Hollande presented the country’s new industrial strategy entitled La Nouvelle France Industrielle. The report commissioned by the government identifies 34 main industry areas in which French industry could become a leader. Cloud computing is among the priority areas.

The report estimates that the cloud computing market in France represents over €2 billion and grows 25% every year: it sees development of French cloud computing capacities as economically beneficial but is also strategic as would allow better data protection.

The development of the French digital industry is also to be supported by enhanced cybersecurity promoted and supported by the state, according to the strategy.

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Child safety online: Child safety online update

Internet Society's insight:

In her answer to an MEP question on the protection of children on the Internet, especially with regards to social networks, Digital Agenda Commissioner Kroes has underlined that a balance needs to be struck between the liability of companies, parents’ responsibilities and education about sensible behaviour on the Internet.

A group of 11 MEPs have tabled a proposed Written Declaration of the European Parliament on protecting children and their rights in the context of internet namespace targeting children. The text calls upon the Commission and the Council to provide ICANN with advice regarding the new generic top-level domains, such as .kid(s), to ensure the best interests of the child and guard against commercial gain being the main driver. In July, another proposed Written Declarationhighlighting the global dimension of the fight against online child sexual abuse content was not adopted after it failed to win the support of a majority MEPs.

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Cybersecurity: European Cyber Security Month

Cybersecurity: European Cyber Security Month | The EU And The Internet | Scoop.it
In October 2013, the first fully-fledged European Cyber Security Month (ECSM) will take place all over Europe.
Internet Society's insight:

In October, the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) is organising, together with Digital Agenda Commissioner Kroes and Commission’s DG Connect, the first European Cyber Security Month (ECSM).

The campaign involves some 40 partners and stakeholders from 22 EU Member States and aims atpromoting cyber security among citizens and raise awareness of cyber-threats.

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Net neutrality: MEPs & NGOs unconvinced by net neutrality provisions

Net neutrality: MEPs & NGOs unconvinced by net neutrality provisions | The EU And The Internet | Scoop.it
Die Europäische Kommission hat heute ihren Verordnungsentwurf zur Vollendung des Digitalen Binnenmarkts vorgelegt. Der Entwurf enthält unter anderem Vorschläge zur stärkeren Harmonisierung des...
Internet Society's insight:

In reaction to the proposal, German Economy Minister Philipp Rösler commented that it represents a step forward compared to the original plans. However, he emphasised that the German goal was to promote ‘a comprehensive guarantee of net neutrality’.

MEP Paul Rübig (EPP group, Austria) stressed that ISPs should not be able to block certain apps. He added that they should publicise minimum data transfer speeds as well as maximum ones.

MEP Marietje Schaake (ALDE group, Netherlands), who has a long-standing interest in Internet issues, criticised the net neutrality provisions, saying: “Allowing companies to make deals to provide faster internet at higher prices limits the possibilities for new players, whose pockets are not as deep, to emerge. Given the weaker negotiating position of start-ups, innovation can be stifled.”

MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht (Greens, Germany) was also unconvinced, saying that the Regulation’s net neutrality rules would allow Deutsche Telekom’s controversial new charging arrangement and stifle competition, start-ups and innovation.

NGOs were all critical of Article 23.2, La Quadrature du NetOpen Forum EuropeEDRi and CDTclaimed in separate reactions that the ‘specialised services’ exception could allow ISPs to discriminate in practice. In particular, this provision « could leave Internet access providers free to pick favorites and prioritize certain traffic on the theory that they are discriminating in favor or specific services, rather than against anyone in particular ». Therefore all NGOs claim that more guarantees are needed to ensure net neutrality.

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General: ISPs do not deliver advertised connection speeds

Internet Society's insight:

The Commission is aware of discrepancies existing between advertised Internet connection speeds and the actual service that is being provided, stated Commissioner Kroes in her answer to MEP Marc Tarabella’s (Belgium, S&D) question.

The EU Commission is now considering to include specific measures for ISPs on transparency in the upcoming Telecoms Single Market proposal, stated Kroes.

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Cybersecurity: Faulty hardware and software more disruptive than cyber-attacks

Cybersecurity: Faulty hardware and software more disruptive than cyber-attacks | The EU And The Internet | Scoop.it
This report provides an overview of the process and an aggregated analysis of the 79 incident reports of severe outages of electronic communication networks or services which were reported by national regulators during 2012.
Internet Society's insight:

The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) has published the 2012 Annual Incident Report which maps incidents in the electronic communications sector that are reported to ENISA under the provisions of the Framework Directive on common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services.

According to the report, Internet mobility was the most affected sector in 2012.

Malicious actions accounted for ‘only’ 8% of the reported incidents, although these incidents have a significant impact on a large number of users. Some 76% of incidents were caused by hardware or software failures.

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Data protection: EU data protection watchdogs urge Commission to probe Prism

Internet Society's insight:

The Article 29 Working Party (WP), composed of EU data protection authorities (DPA), has sent EU Justice Commissioner Reding a letter outlining concerns about the protection of EU citizens’ data privacy following the revelations about the US data surveillance programme.

The modalities of data access and location are the main issues at stake and the WP argues that the US laws should not apply to data that is only in transit, and is therefore not stored on servers on the US territory, reported MLex.

In the letter, Jacob Kohnstamm, WP’s Chairman, underlines that EU citizens need to benefit from protection guaranteed under European and International law, recalling the limitations comprised in the so-called Safe Harbour Principles.

WP Members will also examine the existence of similar programmes across the EUCNIL, the French DPA, has already set up a special working group that examines access to French citizens’ data by foreign authorities. The group should present its first report in September.

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Internet governance: German Internet industry supports multistakeholder model of governance

Internet governance: German Internet industry supports multistakeholder model of governance | The EU And The Internet | Scoop.it
In a largely symbolic gesture, the companies will provide SSL encryption for customers' emails.
Internet Society's insight:

At a recent meeting between the German Federal Minister of Economics and Technology and representatives of the German Internet industry, Professor Michael Rotert, Chairman of the Board for (German Internet Association), underlined the importance of a multistakeholder model of Internet governance to develop generally applicable regulations.

A large-scale EU ICT strategy, encompassing security issues, would enable a better representation of interests of the European ICT sector in the international fora, underlined eco.

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Copyright infringement: UK – Wave of accidental blocking after copyright holder misinformation

Copyright infringement: UK – Wave of accidental blocking after copyright holder misinformation | The EU And The Internet | Scoop.it
Legitimate sites are being caught up in rights-holders attempts to take down pirate websites
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In its attempt to block access to a pirate sports website, the Premier League mistakenly required UK’s main ISPs to block an Internet address that is used by hundreds of other companies, reported Financial Times.

The incident has triggered numerous critiques underlining the UK’s court-enforced Internet blocking could hamper the functioning of the online business, if, as it is the case now, the copyright holder fails to check the correctness of an IP address it requests to block.

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General: EU – Lighter regulation and more spectrum to boost Wi-Fi usage

General: EU – Lighter regulation and more spectrum to boost Wi-Fi usage | The EU And The Internet | Scoop.it
Final report
Internet Society's insight:

The European Commission has published a study on the impact of traffic off-loading and on the demand for wireless broadband spectrum that underlines the increasing share of Wi-Fi in the EU wireless data traffic. Last year, 71% of the EU’s wireless traffic was delivered by Wi-Fi.

As this proportion is expected to grow, the Commission will help to promote use of Wi-Fi by implementing lighter regulation. This will involve in particular deployment of off-load services and networks in public locations, and through more spectrum (spectrum from 5150 MHz to 5925 MHz should be made available for Wi Fi), stated EU Digital Affairs Commissioner Kroes.

As the existing 3G/4G networks are expensive to build and run, and some of the networks are already congested, the use of Wi-Fi can relieve data congestion in certain locations across the union, Kroes added. 

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Cybersecurity: UK – “Impunity for cybercrime needs to end”

Internet Society's insight:

After a 10-month investigation, the UK Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee has published its report on cybercrime. Underlining the importance of the e-crime, the report urges the UK to become less complacent.


Key points:

  • To respond to the online criminality threat, the UK government should create a team providing support to both private and public entities and gathering reports on hacking attempts. Reporting on online attacks should also address the issue of the existing ‘black-hole’ where especially financial cyber-crimes are being committed with impunity, as the attacks are often not reported or investigated.
  • The document also voices concern over Britain’s increasing isolation as it has decided to opt out of many EU-wide justice measures. On the other hand, the Committee also criticises individual EU members for not implementing sufficient measures to fight cybercrime.
  • As for the existing UK capacities, the report concludes that despite government’s consolidation efforts, the country’s policing and law enforcement structure remains fragmented which hampers its capacity to address cybercrime.
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Jose Ramon Coz's curator insight, August 4, 2013 2:53 PM

Very good report from UK...

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Data Protection: Slovak Constitutional Court suspends data retention legislation - EDRi

Data Protection: Slovak Constitutional Court suspends data retention legislation - EDRi | The EU And The Internet | Scoop.it
The European Court of Justice ruled on 8 April, in a case brought before the Court by EDRi member Digital Rights Ireland, together with the Austrian Working Group on Data Retention, that the Data Retention Directive contravenes European law. On 23 April 2014, the Slovak Constitutional Court preliminary suspended Slovak implementation of the Directive as …
Internet Society's insight:
  • As a result of a pending case, the Constitutional Court of Slovakia has suspended the country’s implementation of the EU Directive on data retention. On 8 April, a judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU declared the EU Data Retention Directive invalid, as the law interferes seriously with the fundamental rights to respect of private life and to the protection of personal data.
  • While formally still valid, the Slovak implementation of the Directive has not legal effect until the Court decides on the ongoing case brought to it by the European Information Society Institute (EISi).
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General: France –Government advised not to impose a unilateral digital tax

Internet Society's insight:

According to a report from Conseil National Numérique (CNNum), a government advisory committee, France should reject the idea of unilaterally applying taxes on global Internet companies. Instead, it calls on France to mobilise partners at European level to overhaul the tax framework and adapt it to the digital sector, thus creating a global level playing field.

The report was commissioned by French Digital Agenda Minister, Fleur Pellerin in January, following the controversy regarding tax avoidance by large web companies. The issue at stake with regards to digital companies is that their activity often lacks ‘points of stability’ which would allow the establishment of a permanent tax base.

CNNum argues that the imposition of a national tax would penalise the French Internet industry. It calls for France to raise the question at the upcoming Council of European Ministers dedicated to digital issues that will take place on 24 and 25 October.

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General: Germany – Federal election and IT issues

General: Germany – Federal election and IT issues | The EU And The Internet | Scoop.it
Internet Society's insight:

Shortly ahead of the federal elections on 22 September, German IT association BITKOM has announced that the main parties intend to set up a standing Committee on Internet and Digital Society in the next Bundestag. This will follow on from the work of the Enquiry Committee in this area, which finished three years of work in April. However, the parties have declined to commit to establishing a ministerial Internet portfolio.

BITKOM has gathered this information in responses to a survey of 50 questions distributed to the political parties: other subjects covered include data protectioncyber security, copyright and net neutrality (under telecoms policy).

On the other hand, trade association eco has lamented the absence of IT issues in the election programmes of the parties, in particular Internet governance. It recalls that the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) will take place in Berlin in 2014, and calls on the next German government to develop a clear programme for this.

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Copyright infringement/Open Internet: France – Suspension of Internet access will not be put in place

Copyright infringement/Open Internet: France – Suspension of Internet access will not be put in place | The EU And The Internet | Scoop.it
L'internaute qui avait écopé de la seule et unique peine de coupure d'accès internet prononcée depuis les débuts de la loi Hadopi va passer au travers, grâce à l'application d'un principe juridique.
Internet Society's insight:

The Committee responsible for enforcing the so-called Hadopi antipiracy law has decided not to enforce a sentence from June suspending Internet access for two weeks of a man who was found guilty under the law’s ‘three strikes’ principle, the first case of its kind. This is due to the Ministry of Culture’s decision in July to revoke the provisions on Internet disconnection.

Previously, analysts warned that the enforcement of the charge would anyway be unlawful, since French law stipulates that users’ Internet access may not be fully suspended as the user must remain able to send and receive emails.

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Cybersecurity: Parliament calls for private sector to play cybersecurity role

Internet Society's insight:

The European Parliament has adopted a Resolutionon EU cybersecurity strategy: an open, safe and secure cyberspace (see p.263 of hyperlinked document).

The Resolution includes several references to the role of the private sector. Notably, the Parliament ‘considers that public-private partnerships should be based on network and technological neutrality, and should focus on efforts to address problems that have high public impact’  

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Net neutrality: Commission proposes net neutrality rules

Internet Society's insight:

The European Commission has presented its long-awaited proposal for a Telecoms Regulation. This covers three main themes:

  • Simplifying pan-EU authorisation rules for operators on the basis of authorisation in one Member State
  • Harmonising assignment and timeframes for broadband spectrum access, with power for the Commission to adopt implementing acts
  • Guaranteeing consumer protection and common commercial conditions, safeguarding net neutrality.


With regards to net neutrality, Article 23 would require ISPs to provide unhindered connection to all content, applications and services, while regulating the use of traffic management tools in respect of general Internet access. The Commission has underlined that 21% of fixed Internet access subscribers and 36% of mobile subscriptions are affected by connection blocking and throttling.


Article 23 would also allow end-users to enter into agreements with ISPs on data volumes and speeds as they see fit. These could include provisions on specialised services with an enhanced quality of service (Article 23.2), but these should not impair the quality of Internet access services.

ISPs would only be permitted to use traffic management tools (blocking, slowing down, degrading or discriminating against specific content, applications or services) to:

  • ‘implement a legislative provision or a court order, or prevent or impede serious crimes;
  • preserve the integrity and security of the network, services provided via this network, and the end-users' terminals;
  • prevent the transmission of unsolicited communications to end-users who have given their prior consent to such restrictive measures;
  • minimise the effects of temporary or exceptional network congestion provided that equivalent types of traffic are treated equally’.


In order to ensure service transparency, ISPs would be required to provide pre-contractual and contractual information. This would cover average connection speeds, data volume limitations and traffic management practices.

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Cybersecurity update

Internet Society's insight:

In UK, malicious activities of hackers have affected one in five British Internet users, according to a recent survey by University of Kent’s Centre for Cyber Security.

Some 6% of the users had their accounts (mail, social network or online banking) hacked more than once. The study also underlined that an increasing number of cyber-attacks lead to substantial financial damage.

The Russian Defence Ministry intends to create a separate branch of military forces aimed atcombating cyber-attacks. Their creation echo the concerns voiced earlier by the Russian President with regards to the security of the Russian cyber sphere. The move is part of the recently announced strategy that calls for greater international cooperation in cybersecurity, which could also be linked to the request that all countries have control over the Internet Assigned Names and Numbers.

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Cloud computing: EU should resolve regulatory challenges of cloud computing

Internet Society's insight:

A year after the European Commission launched its cloud computing strategy (Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe), the question of whether and how the EU should regulate cloud computing has become more urgent in light of the US espionage scandal, some stakeholders argue.

Several industry representatives have been warning the Commission against the adoption of EU-centric policies that could hamper development in the sector. Nevertheless, the Prism scandal has prompted the voice of those calling for a separate EU cloud environment that would guarantee protection of EU data.

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General: Use of Internet limited by cost concerns as shown by the latest EU-wide survey

General: Use of Internet limited by cost concerns as shown by the latest EU-wide survey | The EU And The Internet | Scoop.it
European Commission - Press Release - European Commission Press release Brussels, 13 August 2013 Europeans are increasingly eager for new technologies as shown by the latest EU-wide survey.
Internet Society's insight:

The use of Internet in the EU is still perceived as too expensive, revealed a recently published survey by the European Commission

Europeans seek ever more mobile bandwidth, but they worry about cost : while Europeans are open to the opportunities offered by new tools & services, they still think twice before picking up the phone or going online because of the cost of these (mobile) services.

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Copyright infringement: Pirate Bay proposes browser to circumvent censorship

Copyright infringement: Pirate Bay proposes browser to circumvent censorship | The EU And The Internet | Scoop.it
The Pirate Bay has released a self-configured browser package, which allows users to skate around the anti-piracy censorship of certain governments.
Internet Society's insight:

The Pirate Bay has released a self-configured browser that allows users to circumvent the anti-piracy censorship, granting access to file-sharing websites blocked by ISPs.

Recently, Irish ISPs were ordered to block access to The Pirate Bay, following similar steps adopted in other EU Member States.

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Net neutrality: EU – Proposed telecom Regulation criticised within the EU Commission

EU single telecom market Regulation

Internet Society's insight:

The proposed EU single telecom market Regulation is said to be facing mounting opposition within the European Commission services, especially with regards to its provisions on consumer protectionpowers of national regulators and net neutrality, internal sources said.

In a letter sent to the EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Kroes, Viviane Reding, the EU Justice Commissioner is said to have criticised a provision that would allow content providers and ISPs to grant a preferential treatment to their own content.

The provision on net neutrality has reportedly been criticised for lacking clear definitions of several key concepts (e.g. Internet access service; degradation of service etc.).

It is understood that the Commission wants to resolve any outstanding issues before 30 August, for the EU executive to present the proposed Regulation on 10 September, following internal sources.

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General: UK connectivity and consumer safety design UK digital area policies

Internet Society's insight:

The UK government has published a study entitled Connectivity, Content and Consumers: Britain’s digital platform for growth, which after a two-year review of the country’s legislative framework governing media and telecommunications identifies the main areas for action. Of particular interest for ISPs are chapters dealing with connectivity and consumer safety.

The document underlines the UK’s intention to make infrastructure deployment easier by removing barriers and unnecessary burdens. The management of broadband is to be improved thanks to incentives by Ofcom, the industry’s regulator.

The study reiterates the government’s intention to tackle illegal, inappropriate and harmful content, especially to protect children online. The progress made by the Internet companies is to be assessed in October. If progress is slow, the government will consider legislation.

In order to raise consumers’ awareness regarding Internet traffic management policies and to uphold the open Internet principle, the ISPs are called to make their traffic policies more transparent for the customers to choose the service they need.

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