This week’s Techlaw News Round-Up

December 20, 2019

CMA announces that Amazon’s Deliveroo investment raises competition concerns

The Competition and Markets Authority has said that Amazon’s investment in Deliveroo raises serious competition concerns for UK customers that may require an in-depth investigation by the CMA.  While Amazon would not take full control of Deliveroo’s business, the CMA has assessed how the deal could enable it to influence Deliveroo’s business strategy. The CMA has also considered the possible effects this influence could have on competition in markets where the two companies currently compete, or could compete in the future. The CMA’s initial investigation has found that the investment, in its current form, could harm competition in two ways.  

Firstly, it is concerned that the deal could damage competition in online restaurant food delivery by discouraging Amazon from re-entering the market in the UK. Secondly, the CMA is concerned that the deal could also damage competition in the emerging market for online convenience grocery delivery, where the two companies have already established market-leading positions. 

House of Commons Library publishes paper on social media

The House of Commons Library has published a paper on regulating social media. The paper considers concerns about social media, the Online Harms White Paper published by the then government in April 2019, and the provisions in the Conservative Party election manifesto which included a commitment to “legislate to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online” while defending freedom of expression and the “invaluable role of a free press”.

ICO issues fine to pharmacy fined after “careless” storage of patient data

The Information Commissioner’s Office has fined a pharmacy £275,000 for failing to ensure the security of special category data. The pharmacy supplies medicines to customers and care homes and left approximately 500,000 documents in unlocked containers at the back of its premises. The documents included names, addresses, dates of birth, NHS numbers, medical information and prescriptions belonging to an unknown number of people.  Some of the documents had not been appropriately protected against the elements and were therefore water damaged. The ICO has also issued an enforcement notice due to the significance of the contraventions and ordered the pharmacy to improve its data protection practices within three months. Failure to do so could result in further enforcement action.

Ofcom consults on changes to the licence exemption for wireless telegraphy devices

Ofcom is responsible for authorising use of the radio spectrum. It does this by granting wireless telegraphy licences under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 or by making statutory regulations exempting users of particular equipment from the requirement to hold such a licence. Ofcom is consulting on proposals to make new regulations to implement a European Commission Decision that harmonises the frequencies and technical parameters for certain categories of short-range device applications within the 874 to 876 and 915 to 921 MHz bands; and an Ofcom decision to revoke the licence exemption for the use of Railway Level Crossing Radar Sensor Systems and to introduce a national licence for this equipment.  The consultation ends on 17 January 2020.

PSA publishes its new strategic purpose

The Phone-paid Services Authority has published its new strategic purpose, which aims to take account of a changing market and consumer behaviour and expectations.  This new strategic purpose replaces the PSA’s previous vision and mission, and provides a clear framework for how the PSA will act in the consumer interest. It will do this by establishing regulatory standards for the phone-paid services industry; verifying and supervising organisations and services operating in the market; gathering intelligence about consumers, the market and individual services; engaging closely with all stakeholders; enforcing its code of practice and delivering organisational excellence.

BEREC issues trio of reports on roaming, termination rates and data collection 

Transparency and comparability of international roaming tariffs

This report provides an overview about the transparency and comparability of retail roaming tariffs. In June 2018, BEREC sent a questionnaire to operators and the national regulatory authorities to gather information on key issues for customers when selecting tariffs for international roaming services: firstly, transparency, meaning the availability of clear information about prices and conditions for each tariff, as well as simple procedures for customers to switch between tariffs; and, secondly, the comparability of tariffs. The report also covers the results of the questionnaire regarding the implementation of Roam Like at Home.

Termination rates

An updated version of the benchmark of fixed and mobile termination rates across Europe which offers a picture of the regulated rates for fixed and mobile interconnection services in Europe. Fixed and mobile termination services in Europe are subject to price regulation.

Harmonised collection of data from authorised undertakings and over the top operators

A report on concentrating on the identification of the new kinds of data that national regulatory authorities and BEREC may need to perform their tasks and from whom they need to collect this data. BEREC says that it is important to seek a level of harmonisation on definitions of indicators, metrics and collection methods to facilitate data collection, make it easier for the companies to provide the data and to allow for international comparison.

Other news published on this week