This Week’s Techlaw News Round-Up

June 11, 2020

Progress report published on draft E-Privacy Regulation

A progress report on the draft E-Privacy Regulation has been published, which confirms amendments made to its text. A key revision introduced the opportunity to use the ground of legitimate interests to process electronic communications metadata, and to collect information from end-users’ terminals. Some member states supported the alignment with the GDPR but others wanted a closed list of permitted processing grounds. The pandemic has disrupted further work on the draft Regulation but the Croatian Presidency has committed to working closely with the incoming German Presidency to facilitate progress.

EDPB issues statement on 31st plenary session

The EDPB recently held its 31st plenary session. It is establishing a taskforce to coordinate potential actions and to acquire a more comprehensive overview of TikTok’s processing and practices across the EU. The EDPB has also shared its concerns regarding certain developments in facial recognition technologies. It doubts if any EU or national law provides a legal basis for using a service such as the one offered by Clearview AI. Finally, the EDPB referred to its guidelines on the processing of personal data through video devices and announces upcoming work on the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement authorities. It is also appointing a representative to ENISA.

Delay to EU unmanned aircraft systems (drones) Implementing Regulation

The European Commission has delayed the applicability date of the European Union Unmanned Aircraft Systems Implementing Regulation 2019/947 (EU UAS IR 2019/947) until 31 December 2020. This decision supersedes the previous delay applied by the UK government.  Therefore, the Implementing Regulation will now apply within the UK on 31 December 2020.

UK government updates outsourcing playbook

The UK government has updated the outsourcing playbook which it launched in February 2019. It outlines a series of key policies for making outsourcing decisions and contracting outside suppliers for the delivery of public services. In addition, it captures best practice from across government and highlights where different approaches and new behaviours are required. It includes new or updated guidance notes on Delivery Model Assessments; Should Cost Modelling; Testing and Piloting Services; Risk Allocation and Pricing Approaches; Competitive Dialogue and Competitive Procedure with Negotiation; Bid Evaluation Guidance; and Assessing and Monitoring the Economic and Financial Standing of Suppliers Guidance Note; and Financial Viability Risk Assessment Tool 2.0.

UK government issues future trade strategy for UK tech industry

The UK government has issued its future trade strategy for the UK tech industry. A range of measures aim at helping boost digital trade and establish the UK tech industry as a global player. The new measures also aim to help create and support jobs by increasing exports and attracting international investment. Finally, they aim to ensure that the tech industry can take advantage of new free trade agreements.  

Shaping Europe’s digital future – EU Council adopts conclusions

The Council has adopted conclusions on shaping Europe’s digital future, addressing a wide range of issues related to the implementation of the EU digital strategy. The areas covered by the conclusions range from connectivity, digital value chains and eHealth to the data economy, artificial intelligence and digital platforms. The text also highlights the impact of the digital transformation on fighting the pandemic, and its critical role in the post-COVID-19 recovery. 

EBF Cloud Banking Forum releases three technical papers

The European Banking Federation has published three technical papers providing legal and technical intelligence to national competent authorities of EU member states. The publications continue to build on the purpose and work of the EBF Cloud Banking Forum that brings together banks, cloud service providers, supervisors and policymakers to foster harmonised supervision of cloud services in the banking sector.

Coronavirus: EU strengthens action to tackle disinformation

The European Commission and the High Representative have issued a Joint Communication assessing their steps to fight disinformation around the coronavirus pandemic and are proposing a way forward. The coronavirus pandemic has been accompanied by a massive wave of false or misleading information, including attempts by foreign actors to influence EU citizens and debates. The Joint Communication analyses the immediate response and proposes concrete action that can be quickly set in motion. The actions proposed will feed into future EU work on disinformation, notably the European Democracy Action Plan and the Digital Services Act.  The themes of the actions centre around understanding disinformation, communication, cooperation, transparency, freedom of expression; and empowering citizens.

PSA fines company £1 million and bans it from market

The Phone paid Services Authority has fined and banned Salvatet Inversiones SL from the market, after it charged consumers up to £350 for connection to well-known companies and government departments. The PSA Tribunal found that the company had committed four breaches, including not treating consumers fairly and equitably, and two breaches relating to ICSS Special conditions. The PSA has since strengthened these Special conditions to better protect consumers. The Tribunal fined Salvatet Inversiones SL £1 million, banned it from the market for five years and ordered it to pay refunds to any consumers who claim them.

Review of the Access to Infrastructure Regulations – call for evidence

The Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport is reviewing the Access to Infrastructure Regulations and has issued a call for evidence. It will assess if there are improvements that could be made to the regulations to further boost investment in infrastructure, and encourage the use of infrastructure sharing to deploy telecoms networks. The DCMS understands that there has been limited use of the regulations, and wishes to understand the reasons why network providers in the UK appear not to be making more use of them. The consultation ends on 4 September 2020.