Draft Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Regulations 2021 consultation, Digital strategy consultation, EU Digital Finance package, and more in this week’s round-up of techlaw news from the past week.
Consultation launched on Draft Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Regulations 2021
The UK government has launched a consultation on draft Draft Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Regulations 2021. The consultation sets out the government’s intentions to: update ecodesign requirements for electric motors, household washing machines/washer-dryers, household dishwashers, household refrigeration and electronic displays; introduce ecodesign requirements for welding equipment and commercial refrigeration; and introduce energy labelling requirements for commercial refrigeration. It includes: the ecodesign and energy labelling proposals themselves; the government’s assessment of the costs and benefits of the regulations; impact assessments and the intended timetables for reviewing the draft regulations after they come into force. The consultation will be of interest to tech lawyers advising manufacturers of electronic and electric items.
Scottish Government opens consultation on a digital strategy for Scotland
The Scottish government has launched a consultation seeking views on a new digital strategy for Scotland, which reflects the changing digital world in which we live and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The Scottish government is also gathering case studies for inclusion in the final strategy to demonstrate and evidence value and impact of digital technologies, whether as a result of the coronavirus pandemic or otherwise. The consultation ends on 24 December 2020.
European Commission adopts new Digital Finance Package
The European Commission has adopted a new Digital Finance Package, including Digital Finance and Retail Payments Strategies, and legislative proposals on crypto-assets and digital resilience. It consists of a Digital Finance Strategy, a Retail Payments Strategy, legislative proposals for an EU regulatory framework on crypto-assets, and proposals for an EU regulatory framework on digital operational resilience. The European Commission says that the measures will be crucial in supporting the EU's economic recovery as it will unlock new ways of channelling funding to Europe's businesses, while also playing a key role in delivering the European Green Deal and the New Industrial Strategy for Europe. By making rules safer and more digital friendly for consumers, the Commission aims to boost responsible innovation in the EU's financial sector, especially for highly innovative digital start-ups, while mitigating any potential risks related to investor protection, money laundering and cyber-crime.
European Parliament committees set out priorities for the Digital Services Act
The European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee has voted on MEPs ‘views on how digital services, including online platforms and marketplaces, should be regulated in the EU’s forthcoming Digital Services Act. They emphasise that the principle of “what is illegal offline is also illegal online”, as well as the principles of consumer protection and user safety, should become “guiding principles” of the future DSA. The committee recommendations touch upon a wide range of issues, including obligations related to transparency and information for online marketplaces, product safety online, effective enforcement and supervision measures, including fines, the spread of illegal content online, artificial intelligence, and ex-ante regulation to prevent (instead of merely remedy) market failures caused by big platforms.
In addition, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament has called on the European Commission to review existing laws applicable to online providers and put forward new legislation on online content management. It calls for EU-wide standards on how hosting platforms should moderate content and apply the so-called “notice and action” mechanisms. These new rules on content moderation, in addition to judicial redress, should provide legal clarity for platforms and guarantees for fundamental rights of users. When content is flagged or taken down, users should be notified and able to seek redress through a national dispute settlement body. However, a final decision should be taken by an independent judiciary and not fall on private undertakings. To ensure platforms comply, the Commission should assess options for a European entity to monitor and impose fines. The Committee also asks the Commission to draw a clear distinction between illegal and harmful content. Future rules on content management should also address the spread of harmful content that is not illegal and protected under freedom of speech rules, such as fake news or disinformation. When it comes to self-regulation, the Committee emphasises that platforms should not employ upload filters or any form of ex-ante content control for harmful or illegal content. Targeted advertising must be regulated more strictly in favour of less intrusive, contextualised forms of advertising that require less data and does not depend on previous user interaction with content. Being shown personalised advertising should depend on users’ free, informed and unambiguous consent. The upcoming DSA should introduce transparency rules on the terms for accumulation of data for this purpose and provide for the right to use digital services anonymously whenever possible. The vote in plenary is expected to take place during the 19-22 October plenary session. This “legislative initiative” report will then be sent to the European Commission to feed into its Digital Services Act package, to be tabled before the end of the year.
eurID issues update on Covid-19 related domain name checks
eurID has issued an update on the .eu domain name check measures that were set in early April 2020 due to Covid-19. Since April it has performed additional checks on the registration data of both existing registrations and newly-registered domain names that contain keywords related to the current pandemic. It requested their registrants to validate their data and provide it with a statement of good faith. The European Commission has requested that euriD prolong the checks on COVID-related newly registered domain names until mid-October 2020.