This Week's Techlaw News Round-Up

Income and Corporation Taxes (Electronic Communications) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 made, PSA consults on changes to its code of practice, ICO publishes evaluation report on SME Data Essentials pilot programme and other UK and EU techlaw news from the past week not covered elsewhere on the SCL website.

UK law

Income and Corporation Taxes (Electronic Communications) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 made

The Income and Corporation Taxes (Electronic Communications) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 SI 2023/221 have been made. They amend the Income and Corporation Taxes (Electronic Communications) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 SI 2003/282 to provide for the digital delivery and (where appropriate), the withdrawal of a Notice of Simple Assessment and Notices of Daily Penalties (issued for the continued failure to make or deliver a return). The Regulations come into force on 6 April 2023.

Phone-paid Services Authority consults on changes to its code of practice

The PSA is consulting on changes to its Code of Practice to address consumer detriment in the Information, Connection, Sign-posting Services market. The PSA reviewed the consumer experience of ICSS over a period of 12 months and found consumer detriment is widespread. The PSA is therefore proposing to amend the Code to: reduce detriment associated with consumer misunderstanding; limit detriment caused by high call costs; and reduce the risk of forced cut-offs that result in consumer detriment. The consultation ends on 19 April 2023.

ICO publishes evaluation report on SME Data Essentials pilot programme

The ICO has published an evaluation report about its SME Data Essentials pilot programme, which has now ended. Its aims were to provide up to 60 small and medium-sized enterprises int he UK with training and resources to help them better manage their data compliance. The report says that the pilot has achieved much success in terms of impact and revealed a range of learnings around design and implementation, all of which will provide significantly valuable for considerations around future phases of the project.

CMA provisionally clears satellite comms deal following in-depth review

Satellite communications firms Viasat and Inmarsat agreed to merge in November 2021. They supply businesses globally with satellite connectivity that enables services such as internet, email, and video calling, including for use in aircraft. The CMA referred the deal to an in-depth Phase 2 inquiry after identifying competition concerns during its Phase 1 investigation. The CMA's investigation into the Viasat/Inmarsat deal has provisionally found that, while the companies compete closely in the aviation sector, specifically in the supply of satellite connections for onboard Wi-Fi, the deal does not substantially reduce competition for services provided on flights used by UK customers. Its findings are provisional and are out for consultation until 21 March 2023. These will be considered ahead of the CMA issuing its final report, which is due 30 March 2023.

EU law

Commission sets rules on fees for very large online platforms and search engines

The European Commission has published its rules and procedures for imposing supervisory fees on digital service providers under its supervision. Under the Digital Services Act, the Commission may impose a fee on providers under its supervision, which is expected to be levied for the first time in Autumn 2023. It has now set the detailed rules and procedures for such supervisory fees to be levied. The delegated regulation aims to provide legal certainty to the service providers designated as Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) or Very Large Online Search Engines (VLOSEs) under the DSA. It specifies the methodology and procedures to calculate and levy the supervisory fee, providers further details on the calculation of the overall estimated costs to be covered with the levied fees and on the determination of the individual fees.

Commission sends Statement of Objections to Apple clarifying concerns over App Store rules for music streaming providers

The European Commission has sent an updated Statement of Objections to Apple clarifying its concerns over App Store rules for music streaming providers. It clarifies that the Commission no longer takes a position as to the legality of the IAP obligation (Apple imposing its own in-app purchase payment technology on music streaming app developers) but rather focuses on the contractual restrictions that Apple imposed on app developers which prevent them from informing iPhone and iPad users of alternative music subscription options at lower prices outside of the app and to effectively choose those. The Commission takes the preliminary view that Apple's anti-steering obligations are unfair trading conditions in breach of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. In particular, the Commission is concerned that the anti-steering obligations imposed by Apple on music streaming app developers prevent those developers from informing consumers about where and how to subscribe to streaming services at lower prices. According to the Commission, the anti-steering obligations: (i) are neither necessary nor proportionate for the provision of the App Store on iPhones and iPads; (ii) are detrimental to users of music streaming services on Apple's mobile devices who may end up paying more; and (iii) negatively affect the interests of music streaming app developers by limited effective consumer choice.

European Commission consults on draft Gigabit Infrastructure Act, Gigabit Recommendation and on future of connectivity sector

The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a "Gigabit Infrastructure Act", a regulation that will put forward new rules to enable faster, cheaper and more effective rollout of Gigabit networks across the EU. It has also published a draft Gigabit Recommendation, which seeks to provide guidance to national regulatory authorities on the conditions of access to telecom networks of operators with significant market power, to provide incentives to switch-off of legacy technologies more quickly and for accelerated Gigabit networks deployment. Finally, it is consulting on future of the connectivity sector and its infrastructure. The consultation ends on 19 May 2023.

EDPB publishes a procedure for the adoption of EDPB Opinions on national criteria for certification and European Data Protection Seals

During its February plenary, the EDPB agreed a procedure for adopting EDPB Opinions on national criteria for certification and European Data Protection Seals. It aims to streamline and facilitate the adoption of EDPB Opinions on certification criteria by clarifying the approval process, as well as criteria for certification meant as tools for international transfers. It also sets out the steps that national data protection authorities need to take.

Published: 2023-03-03T10:00:00

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