How accessibility in the cloud could redefine European citizenship

Tracy Mitrano, EurActiv,  Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The European Commission’s initiatives on cloud have thus far not sufficiently supported the critically important area of accessibility for people with disabilities. Even the Digital Single Market strategy, whose third pillar is to improve Europeans’ access to digital goods and services limits its ambitions in this area by focusing only on outcomes for consumers and businesses rather than all European citizens. In the EU’s democratic society, access to technology should be a legal right rather than purely a market-driven opportunity. To its credit, the EU has made some progress with promoting accessible technologies in public administrations. But new legislation such as the Directive on Accessibility of Public Sector Bodies’ Websites has not yet been decided. Moreover, member states have yet to transpose key laws into their legal landscape, a step towards full implementation of existing EU Directives and principles. Transposition would also lead to further harmonisation and reduce the fragmentation of rules in Europe that is hindering a faster and wider adoption of accessible technology.

Bancroft Publishes White Paper On Electronic Privacy Issues

Viet Dinh and Jeffrey Harris, Bancroft PLLC,  Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bancroft has published a white paper entitled “Toward A Modern Statutory Framework For Law Enforcement Access To Electronic Communications.” The paper identifies several deficiencies in the current statutory framework governing when law enforcement officials can access consumers’ electronic communications. As the authors explain, the current statutory framework is more than 30 years old and has failed to keep pace with developments in commerce and technology. The authors then analyze the relative merits of several recent legislative proposals that are intended to address these issues (the LEADS Act and Email Privacy Act), and offer suggestions about how to further improve this legislation.

Google AdSense Publishers Must Now Obtain EU Visitors’ Consent Before Collecting Data

Sarah Perez, Tech Crunch,  Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Google has announced a change to its user consent policy which will affect website publishers using Google products and services, including Google AdSense, DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange, as well as whose sites or apps have visitors arriving from the European Union. Under the new policy, publishers will have to obtain EU end users’ consent before storing or accessing their data, says Google.

EU Privacy Watchdog Backs Strict Fines for Firms Abusing Data

Natalia Drozdiak, Wall Street Journal,  Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Europe’s data-protection watchdog is advising European Union lawmakers to slap strict fines on businesses violating new data-privacy rules that will tighten guidelines on how companies — including U.S. firms operating in Europe — manage their customers’ data. The European Parliament, representatives of the national governments and the European Commission — the bloc’s executive body — are trying to hammer out the final version of the law by year-end in so-called trilogue negotiations.

My competition philosophy

Margrethe Vestager (European Commissioner for Competition), POLITICO EU,  Monday, July 20, 2015

Effective competition puts companies to a test — it makes sure they have an incentive to invest and to innovate, to keep up with their rivals. It also gives companies a fair chance — they can compete on their merits, without being pushed out of markets by unfair practices or by subsidized rivals. So they can contribute to job creation and economic growth, while allowing consumers to share the benefits of the single market.

UK High Court strikes down British data retention law

David Meyer, POLITICO EU,  Saturday, July 18, 2015

The U.K. High Court struck down a key piece of the country’s surveillance legislation on Friday, but gave the government nine months to rewrite it. The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) had been fast-tracked a year ago as “emergency” legislation, after Europe’s highest court struck down the data retention directive for the European Union. The U.K. law gives enforcement and intelligence agencies a way to force communications providers to store records of their customers’ activities.

Principles for the Digital Single Market

Andreas Streim and Constantin Gissler, Bitkom,  Thursday, July 16, 2015

The leading tech trade bodies in the UK, France and Germany have today set out the eight principles that they argue should guide the development of the Digital Single Market. Together they are calling on policy makers and politicians to apply these principles as they develop the policy and legislative proposals that will be at the heart of the European Digital Single Market. The three trade associations will be meeting with EU policy makers and MEPs ahead of the first raft of digital single market proposals that will be published by the European Commission in the autumn.

Google antitrust proceedings: Digital business and competition

European Parliamentary Research Service,  Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Google case may provide an opportunity for the Commission to clarify some aspects of competition law with regard to certain digital practices, and to close the difficult gap between the rights of companies who dominate the market, free competition and consumer protection.

Challenges for Competition Policy in a Digitalised Economy

Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, European Parliament,  Tuesday, July 14, 2015

This study describes the challenges that competition policy faces in relation to the digital economy. It explores the specific characteristics of digital economy markets and how these characteristics impact competition policy. This study was well underway when the Commission presented its Digital Single Market (DSM) plans on 6 May 20151, including the announcement of an e-commerce sector inquiry. It is expected that the sector inquiry will deliver its first results in 2016. This study already offers a first overview on market developments and its implications for competition policy. The study focuses on to the economic and legal analysis of competition problems that are caused by the characteristics of the digitalised economy. As such, competition policy and its instruments such as anti-trust laws, merger regulation, State aid, and sector regulation are at the centre of the study. Other policy fields, for instance trade policy, industrial policy and consumer protection fall outside the scope.

Managing accessibility in the public procurement of ICT

European Committee for Standardisation,  Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The scope of the Accessible ICT Procurement Toolkit is based on the contents of EN 301 549 and related Technical Reports produced in the context of Mandate 376. Nevertheless, the Toolkit includes a wide range of support and guidance material to facilitate procurers in incorporating accessibility as a criterion in the procurement of ICT products and services.