House of Lords launches inquiry into remit of public service broadcasting in the age of video on-demand

In response to the rising popularity of video on-demand services, the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications (“Committee“) has launched an inquiry into the future of public service broadcasting. The Committee notes that public service broadcasters (PSBs) such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 face mounting challenges in an age where conventional TV viewing by under-25s has halved since 2010.

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Clarification on the status of the EU-US Privacy Shield on a no deal Brexit

The UK Government has published a new data-related Brexit statutory instrument clarifying the position with respect to transfers of personal data to the US in reliance on the EU-US Privacy Shield (the “Privacy Shield“) and in a no-deal Brexit scenario.

Transfers to the US under the Privacy Shield are currently made pursuant to a special category of adequacy decision based on a specific arrangement put in place between the US and EU authorities. However, advice and guidance on how such arrangements could continue to work in a no-deal Brexit scenario had differed. Continue reading

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Political agreement reached on controversial EU Digital Copyright Directive: A fair and balanced result?

Following a turbulent course of lengthy negotiations and delays, political agreement was finally reached by the European Commission, European Parliament and the Council of the EU on the revised proposal of the EU Copyright Directive (the “Directive“) earlier this month. The final consolidated text was made available on 20 February 2019.

The Commission first adopted its proposal for the Directive back in September 2016, as part of its Digital Single Market Strategy. The Directive forms part of a broader initiative to “adapt copyright rules” to ensure they are “fit for a digital era“. The modernisation is long overdue, given the changes which have occurred in the use of material on the internet since its inception, including the explosion of social media.

The Directive is intended to develop a fair and sustainable marketplace for creators, the creative industries and the press; to this end, in the Commission’s press release, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, referred to the Directive as a “fair and balanced result that is fit for a digital Europe“. The European Parliament’s press release also refers to the Directive re-dressing the balance; ensuring “tech giants” share revenue with “artists and journalists” and also incentivising internet platforms to enter into fair licensing arrangements with rights holders.

The legislation has, however, been the subject of considerable lobbying and public pressure by copyright holders, technology companies and consumer digital rights advocates, which is unsurprising, given the vast array of stakeholder interests at play. In particular it has implications for online platforms and media companies. We set out below further detail around the more contentious provisions, Articles 13 and 11, and discuss the next steps for the legislation. Continue reading

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New Government Outsourcing Playbook

Outsourcing has become an increasingly fraught activity, with a number of high-profile events such as the collapse of Carillion dominating the news cycle in recent months.  The launch of the Government Outsourcing Playbook is in part an acknowledgment of, and a response to, the heightened scrutiny that is being applied to outsourcing practices in general and public sector outsourcing in particular.  It also coincides with updates and releases of a number of other sourcing-related guidance notes and recent tweaks to the well-known Model Services Contract to address matters related to interpretation of EU law post-Brexit.  Continue reading

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Time to Mobilise: EBA finalises Guidelines on Outsourcing Arrangements

Following consultation in the second half of 2018, the European Banking Authority (“EBA“) published its Final Report on Draft Guidelines on Outsourcing Arrangements (the “Guidelines“) on 25 February 2019.

Most provisions of the Guidelines will enter into force on 30 September 2019. At the same time, the Guidelines will replace those issued by the EBA’s predecessor organisation, the Committee of European Banking Supervisors (“CEBS“), in 2006 and will also incorporate the EBA’s 2017 Recommendation on Outsourcing to Cloud Service Providers which came into effect on 1 July 2018. Continue reading

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Brexit, Data, Brexit

As we all continue to try to grapple with the implications of a no-deal Brexit, the last week or two has seen the publication of a few things of interest from a data protection perspective:

The EDPB’s view of data transfers in a no-deal Brexit scenario

On 12 February 2019, the European Data Protection Board (the “EDPB“) published a general information note on data transfers under the GDPR in the event of a no-deal Brexit (available here). In summary, the information note provides that organisations must comply with the GDPR when transferring personal data from the EU to the UK, which will become a “third country” for GDPR purposes (from 00.00 am CET on 30 March 2019). No new or additional safeguards are contemplated by the EDPB which effectively means that organisations must choose between:

  • Standard contractual clauses (which the EDPB acknowledges are “ready to use”);
  • Binding corporate rules;
  • Codes of conduct or certification mechanisms (although none are yet approved/available under the GDPR); or
  • Derogations such as individual explicit consent (although the EDPB emphasises that the derogations must be interpreted restrictively and mainly relate to processing activities that are occasional and non-repetitive).

For further information regarding the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit on data transfers, including an analysis of worked examples, please see our previous blog post available here.

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EU Commission ethics guidelines for trustworthy AI due to be finalised in March 2019

In March 2019 the European Commission intends to finalise AI Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (AI). The EU Commission’s High Level Expert Group published draft ethics guidelines in December 2018 and stakeholders had until 18 January 2019 to provide feedback.

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The German FCO/Facebook decision: implications for data privacy regulation

The German competition authority, the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO“) last week announced the results of its investigation into Facebook for a novel abuse of dominance involving consent for its data collection. Whilst the full decision is not yet public, the FCO has published a background paper here. In short, the FCO found that Facebook had a dominant position in the German market for social networks, and abused this with its data collection policy. The FCO did not impose a fine on Facebook, but has instead required Facebook in the future to only use data from non-Facebook sources where it has users’ voluntary consent, the withholding of which cannot be used to deny access to Facebook. Facebook has announced that it will appeal. Continue reading

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EC to harmonise radio frequencies for development of 5G

At the European level, on 24 January 2019 the European Commission announced the adoption of an amendment to Decision 2008/411/EC that will harmonise the radio spectrum in the 3.4-3.8 GHz. As the 3.6 GHz band has been identified as the primary band for 5G in the EU, the amendment has updated the technical conditions of this band of spectrum to better enable 5G. It is intended that this will better encourage the adoption of 5G services across the EU and is necessary to enable the roll-out of 5G technologies by the end of 2020, as required by the new EU Electronic Communications Code. Continue reading

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Ofcom consults on award of new spectrum licences and shared spectrum bands – 700 MHz and 3.6 – 3.8 GHz

On 8 February 2019 Ofcom issued a clarification update to its proposed consultation to award 200 MHz of spectrum – with 80 MHz in the 700 MHz band and 120 MHz in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band. The regulator anticipates that this spectrum will be used to meet the increasing demand for mobile broadband services and to invest in the implementation of new wireless technologies such as 5G, the next generation of mobile technologies. Continue reading

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