EU Policy Update - January 2018
If anyone expected the content debate to slow down in 2018, the Commission has proven them wrong. Already in the first weeks of the year, the Commission gathered more than 20 CEOs to tell them that their efforts to remove illegal content have improved but are by far not sufficient. Next week, the Commission will publish another evaluation report and by May, we will know whether to expect legislation or “just another voluntary” initiative. Businesses are responding by increasing their transparency – not only with regards to their efforts in fighting illegal content, but also in making users more aware of how much of their (personal) data governments request to access. Some key Digital Single Market files (ePrivacy, copyright, free flow of data) will be picked up again during the first quarter of the year, this time under the lead of the Bulgarian Presidency (check out the nice combination of Latin and Cyrillic script in their logo). Developments in the US are likely to swap over the Atlantic and impact the way EU citizens’ data is protected within and from the US.
EU Policy Update - November 2017
EU decision-makers are slowly wrapping up major digital single market-related files before the end of the year. The Consumer Protection Cooperation regulation is (almost) signed and sealed with the European Parliament having approved trilogue negotiation outcomes (with some unfortunate results). Copyright issues (rightly or wrongly included in some dossiers) stifle most ongoing negotiations – but the will is there to find solutions. Accordingly, liability remains an important issue, e.g. for copyright-infringing or otherwise illegal content on platforms. Twitter and YouTube have recently changed their policies to (voluntarily) address harmful content. We can also see that across the Atlantic, the US has restricted the use of gag orders and announced a roll-back of net neutrality.
EU Policy Update - October 2017
Brussels has been a hive of activity over the last four weeks, with a flurry of new policy initiatives and advancements in ongoing files of relevance. Most notably, the European Commission published its long-awaited guidelines on notice & action and voluntary content control, which serve to codify the EU policy trend that sees the Internet sector’s role in online content control move from a ‘reactive’ to a ‘proactive’ relation. Meanwhile, the lawmakers continue to discuss the legislative proposal for an E-Privacy regulation, with continued possibility that Member States will use the legislative proposal to reintroduce data retention obligations at EU-level. In a positive development, the European Commission has ruled out any medium-term EU-level action to weaken encryption through legislation, but will use the upcoming legislative proposal on cross-border access to e-evidence as an alternative means of mitigating the perceived ‘going-dark’ problem.
EU Policy Update - September 2017
The EU legislative session is officially back in swing, with a whirlwind of initiatives on the table for a packed second half of 2017. As it enters into the tail-end of its political mandate, the European Commission has been keen to highlight its continued legislative ambition, as it seeks to finalise the remaining legislative proposals of the 2015 Digital Single Market strategy. September has already seen the launch of a host of new cybersecurity initiatives, while a landmark communication on notice & action in the Internet sector is on the verge of publication. Meanwhile, the EU co-legislators have returned from their summer break with renewed motivation to make advancements on key ongoing legislative negotiations – namely, the e-Privacy regulation, and the Copyright Reform directive.
EU Policy Update - July/August 2017
In spite of the traditional summer lull that has descended across Brussels’ European quarter, the EU Institutions have been quietly preparing for what is set to be a hectic autumnal legislative session. Most noteworthy is the European Commission’s intention to come forward with a legislative proposal on cross-border access to e-evidence in the coming months, and a key policy roadmap for the initiative has just been released. Besides this, the European Commission will publish both a revised cybersecurity strategy and new guidelines on voluntary online content control measures in September, with officials putting the final touches on both this month. In terms of ongoing work, the European Parliament continues to focus heavily on online child protection and the fight against terrorism, while the legislative discussions around the proposed E-Privacy regulation – and all its linkages with data retention – continue in earnest.
EU Policy Update - June 2017
Unsurprisingly, national debates about how to increase security in the light of terrorism carry over into this week’s European Council meeting. It remains to be seen if fundamental rights can stand the test of time. “Brussels” is getting ready for the summer recess, yet not without giving a good pre-break push to some of the key dossiers (e.g. ePrivacy draft report, Consumer Protection Cooperation trilogue). Watch out for a couple of new (or awaited) initiatives in the last trimester of 2017, such as cybersecurity, data flows and collecting e-evidence across borders.
EU Policy Update - May 2017
The EU (among others) has been taken by surprise: WannaCry has demonstrated how ill-prepared the block is against cyber-attacks. Expectations are high that the Network and Information Systems Security Directive (NISD) will increase both public and private actors’ capacity to prevent and react to large-scale incidents. Also, the EU is revamping its Cybersecurity Strategy and Europol has been equipped with new powers and is very keen on communicating its actions and successes. Other Digital Single Market (DSM) related files are also moving forward, e.g. the audio-visual media services directive (AVMSD). The widened scope of the AVMSD, new initiatives proposed under the DSM review together and (Member State) actions against hate speech (see Facebook) are strong indicators that intermediary liability is high on the agenda again. For now, the European Commission, especially DG Connect, still displays itself as the defender of the e-commerce Directive and its principles – but its defence lines crumble under increasing pressure from the Member States and the Commission’s own sectoral legislation.
EU Policy Update - April 2017
In this edition of CENTR's EU Policy Update: more GDPR and ePR in our regulation acronym soup, ENISA's cybersecurity ambitions, update on geo-blocking and the Digital Single Market at the European Parliament, decrypting encryption in the European Commission Cybersecurity Strategy, Microsoft and Google unveil their transparency reports, Internet of Things are discussed in Brussels, CENTR to join "domains and jurisdiction contact group", and much more.
EU Policy Update - February 2017
One could easily get the impression that the internet is an evil place – at least judging by the number of EU-level initiatives that are meant to protect the citizens from crime, terrorism, cyber-threats, eavesdropping, data abuse and more. The only attempt at fostering a free flow of data was stripped down to a nice-to-have-but-unlikely-to-happen, after various Commissioners and Member States did not really see a need to address national data localisation rules. An overview of these initiatives, combined with an update on court cases related to copyright, data protection and surveillance make up this month’s EU Policy Update.
EU Policy Update - November 2016
The year-end EU Policy Update comes in quite some density – and therefore with a new structure. No EU institution wanted to be perceived as idle, so you’ll find last-minute publications (consumer protection), (partial) positions (geo-blocking, terrorism, roaming), and reinforced initiatives (hate speech) – so that everyone is able to tell a success story after all. Still, some core proposals for 2016 had to be postponed to next year (ePrivacy, IPRED) – at least on the Commission’s agenda, since the incoming EU Presidency (Malta) might have set its priorities elsewhere. With so many digital files in course, you will find more background information in this update than usual – not least to keep you busy over Christmas! (By the way: If you are still in search of an advent calendar, Europol has the solution.)