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EU Political Update

Talking Tech Highlights: 16-20 January 2016

27 April 2017

A weekly review of tech related political developments in the European Union

Week in Review

Digital Single Market: European Commission presents proposals to address the EU's data economy

On 10 January 2017, the European Commission presented several legal and policy solutions addressing issues concerning the EU data economy and the free flow of data.

Among the legal solutions announced there was a proposal for a revision to the ePrivacy Directive, which will take the form of a Regulation on privacy and electronic communications. The proposed Regulation would apply to all providers of electronic communications services, and includes provisions that: (i) protect the content and metadata of communications, (ii) remove the requirement for consent to certain cookies (e.g., non-privacy intrusive cookies that improve internet experience), and (iii) ban unsolicited electronic communications by any means (including voice-to-voice marketing calls). If users consent, electronic communications operators will be able to process and use content and metadata of their users' communications to provide additional services. The European Commission called for the European Parliament and the Council to work towards the adoption of the Regulation before 25 May 2018, which is the date that the General Data Protection Regulation adopted in spring 2016 will enter into application.

Along with the proposed Regulation, the European Commission also issued two Communications on international personal data exchange and protection, and on free movement of data within the European data economy. The first Communication on international data transfers sets out the European Commission's plans to allow for transfers of personal data to key trading partners in Europe, Asia and Latin America that have 'essentially equivalent' data protection rules to the EU (i.e., 'adequacy decisions'). Alternative mechanisms provided in the General Data Protection Regulation and the Police Directive will be used to facilitate exchange of information with jurisdictions with which 'adequacy decisions' cannot be reached. The second Communication addresses the issue of reducing localisation rules and other barriers to data transfers in the Single Market.

Single Market: European Commission proposes reform to the Single Market for services

On 10 January 2017, the European Commission announced a reform package aimed at removing barriers to trade in services for businesses and individuals across the Single Market.

The proposals include: (i) introduction of a services e-card and a simplified electronic procedure for obtaining permission to provide construction and business services in another Member State, (ii) a proportionality assessment of national professional requirements by Member States, (iii) guidance on national reform needs in the regulation of professional services with high growth and jobs potential, and (iv) improvements to the mechanism for notification of draft national rules on services to the European Commission and other Member States.

The draft legislative proposals will be considered by the European Parliament and the Council for adoption.

EU Political Update

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