Techlaw News Round-Up

July 11, 2019

Regulation (EU) 2019/1150 on online intermediation services published in Official Journal

Regulation (EU) 2019/1150 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services was published in the Official Journal on 11 July 2019.  It will enter into force on the 20th day following its publication in the Official Journal, and will apply from 12 July 2020. By 13 January 2022, and subsequently every three years, the European Commission will evaluate the application of the Regulation and report to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee.

Airbnb cooperates with European Commission and EU consumer authorities improving the way it presents offers

The European Commission has announced that Airbnb has improved and fully clarified the way it presents accommodation offers to consumers, and now complies with EU consumer law. The main improvements and changes are that in accommodation searches with selected dates, users see the total price in the results page, including all the applicable mandatory charges and fees (such as service, cleaning charges and local taxes). There are now no surprise mandatory fees appearing on later pages.  Further, Airbnb clearly distinguishes if an accommodation offer is put on the market by a private host or a professional, it provides an easily accessible link to the online dispute resolution platform on its website and all the necessary information related to dispute resolution.  It has also revised its terms of service.

European Data Protection Board holds 12th plenary session

The EEA Data Protection Authorities and the European Data Protection Supervisor have met for their twelfth plenary session. During the plenary a wide range of topics were discussed. Among other things, the Board adopted Guidelines on Video Surveillance, which clarify how the GDPR applies to the processing of personal data when using video devices and aim to ensure the consistent application of the GDPR in this regard. The EDPB aso adopted a joint EDPB-EDPS reply to the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs’ request for a legal assessment on the impact of the US CLOUD Act on the EU legal data protection framework and the mandate for negotiating an EU-US agreement on cross-border access to electronic evidence for judicial cooperation in criminal matters.  The various documents will be published in due course.

ICO publishes blog post on live facial recognition technology

The ICO has published a blog post on live facial recognition technology. For the past year, two police forces have been trialling live facial recognition technology in public spaces, to identify individuals at risk or those linked to a range of criminal activity, from violent crime to less serious offences.  A case has been brought before the courts asking if such use is lawful. The resulting judgment will form an important part of the ICO’s investigation on the technology and it will need to consider it before it publishes its findings and setting out what action needs to be taken. It will also consider the use by commercial organisations.

Financial Stability Board launches survey on response to and recovery from cyber incidents

The Financial Stability Board is developing a toolkit of effective practices relating to a financial institution’s response to, and recovery from, a cyber incident. The toolkit aims to provide financial institutions and authorities with a set of effective practices and will be based on the shared experience and diversity of perspectives gathered by the FSB, including through responses to its survey of industry practices. The development of the toolkit will also be informed by a review of publicly available documents on how firms have responded to and recovered from past cyber incidents and a stocktake of relevant publicly released guidance issued by national authorities and international organisations.

Phone Pay Plus fines service-provider £200,000 for charging consumers without consent

The Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) has issued a £200,000 fine to a company which was found to have misled consumers and charged them for access to the ‘Applicateka’ multimedia platform without their consent.  Net Real Solutions, based in Spain, offered consumers access to digital content, including games, videos, apps and mobile phone wallpapers on a subscription basis, charging £4.50 a week.  However, the PSA Tribunal found evidence that consumers had been misled into signing up for the service or were signed up without their consent, in breach of the PSA Code of Practice for industry.  

Ofcom publishes annual report 2018-2019

Ofcom has published its annual report for 2018/19.  The report covers Ofcom’s progress on its priorities for 2018/19. These include supporting investment in advanced infrastructure, integrating its new responsibilities for regulating the BBC, preparing for future awards of spectrum in anticipation of new 5G services and extending availability of services by starting implementation of a broadband universal service obligation.

Speech on the future of online advertising regulation

Simon McDougall, Executive Director for Technology Policy and Innovation, made a speech at the Westminster Media Forum Keynote Seminar on the future of online advertising regulation.