European Parliament’s transport committee opposes Commission’s preference for Wi-Fi as the communication standard for connected and autonomous vehicles

Following months of debate, the European Commission approved its long-anticipated delegated act on the preferred communication technology standard for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) on 13 March 2019 (the “Regulation“, available here). However, the Commission’s decision – favouring Wi-Fi technology based on the existing ITS-G5 standard for short-range communications (V2V) – has already hit a road block: it was rejected by the European Parliament’s transport committee on Monday.  There will now be intense focus from industry on whether the European Parliament vote next week follows its transport committee’s recommendation to block the Regulation.

In this post, we consider the content of the Regulation, why the Commission’s decision has proved so controversial and what may happen next. Continue reading

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

Audiovisual media services: Back to the 80’s?!

On 19 March 2018, the European Commission published a notice to stakeholders on the consequences of Brexit for audiovisual media services. This makes it clear that, subject to any transitional arrangement, as of the withdrawal date, the EU rules in the field of audiovisual media services will no longer apply to the UK. Therefore, in summary, UK-based broadcasters would be left relying on laws written in the 1980s. Continue reading

Scientific opinion commissioned by the European Commission makes ten recommendations on cyber security in the Digital Single Market

On 24 March 2017, the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism published an independent scientific opinion on cyber security in the Digital Single Market to aid EU-level policy makers. The opinion includes ten broad recommendations for simplifying and securing online operations undertaken by people and businesses throughout the EU Continue reading

EU-US Privacy Shield first annual review announced following a challenging introduction

On 12 July 2016, the European Commission adopted an “adequacy decision” allowing for the transatlantic transfer of personal data from the EU to the US in accordance with the framework and principles of the EU-US Privacy Shield (the “Privacy Shield“).

Two privacy advocacy groups have however since filed actions in the European General Court to annul the adequacy decision. On 28 October 2016 the Irish privacy advocacy group, Digital Rights Ireland, filed an “action for annulment” on the basis that the Privacy Shield does not sufficiently protect the privacy rights of EU citizens. If successful, the action would invalidate the European Commission’s adequacy decision that approved and adopted the Privacy Shield. The group filed the challenge in the General Court based in Luxembourg, the second highest EU Court after the CJEU. A further challenge was also filed in the General Court by a French civil society group at the end of October 2016. It could take the General Court twelve months or more before a decision is handed down.

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