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Category Archives: EU Data Protection

Antitrust: EU Commission launches e-commerce sector inquiry

News release: “The European Commission has today launched an antitrust competition inquiry into the e-commerce sector in the European Union. The inquiry, as announced by Commissioner Vestager in March, will allow the Commission to identify possible competition concerns affecting European e-commerce markets. It complements actions launched within the framework of the Digital Single Market Strategy adopted today. The sector inquiry will focus particularly on potential barriers erected by companies to cross-border online trade in goods and services where e-commerce is most widespread such as electronics, clothing and shoes, as well as digital content. Knowledge gained through the sector inquiry will contribute to better enforcement of competition law in the e-commerce sector. Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said, “European citizens face too many barriers to accessing goods and services online across borders. Some of these barriers are put in place by companies themselves. With this sector inquiry my aim is to determine how widespread these barriers are and what effects they have on competition and consumers. If they are anti-competitive we will not hesitate to take enforcement action under EU antitrust rules.” More and more goods and services are traded over the internet but cross-border online sales within the EU are only growing slowly. The Commission’s Digital Single Market Strategy published today identifies a number of regulatory barriers that hinder cross-border e-commerce. It proposes to address these and create an area where citizens and businesses can seamlessly access and exercise online activities under conditions of free competition, irrespective of their nationality or place of residence. There are also indications that businesses may themselves establish barriers to cross-border online trade, with a view to fragmenting the EU’s Single Market along national borders and preventing competition. Those barriers may include contractual restrictions in distribution agreements that prevent retailers from selling goods or services purchased online or cross-border to customers located in another EU country. Therefore, the Commission’s competition sector inquiry will gather market information in order to better understand the nature, prevalence and effects of these and similar barriers erected by companies, and to assess them in light of EU antitrust rules.”

  • Antitrust: Commission launches e-commerce sector inquiry – factsheet

  • “In the context of its Digital Single Market strategy, on 6 May 2015 the Commission launched a sector inquiry into e-commerce in the EU, pursuant to Article 17 of Regulation 1/2003. The aim of this sector inquiry is to allow the Commission to gather data on the functioning of e-commerce markets so as to identify possible competition concerns. It will focus particularly on potential barriers erected by companies to cross-border online trade in goods and services where e-commerce is most widespread (e.g. electronics, clothing and shoes), as well as in digital content. It will initially cover all EU Member States. The Commission plans to publish on this page a preliminary report in mid-2016. Then, following a public consultation on the preliminary report, the Commission plans to publish the final report in the first quarter of 2017. The findings of this sector inquiry will allow the Commission and national competition authorities to better focus possible enforcement actions in the area of e-commerce.”

NGOs Urge European Commission to Uphold Privacy

“EPIC has joined a coalition of over sixty NGOs from around the world in a letter to President Juncker of the European Commission, urging him to uphold robust data protection standards. The institutions of the European Union are currently negotiating the new General Data Protection Regulation. The European Commission previously promised that the Data ProtectionContinue Reading

Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Google on comparison shopping service

“The European Commission has sent a Statement of Objections to Google outlining the Commission’s preliminary view that the company is abusing a dominant position, in breach of EU antitrust rules, by systematically favouring its own comparison shopping product in its general search results pages in the European Economic Area (EEA). The Commission is concerned thatContinue Reading

A critical analysis of Facebook’s Revised Policies and Terms

From social media service to advertising network – A critical analysis of Facebook’s Revised Policies and Terms DRAFT 31 March 2015. The authors are part of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Law and ICT/Centre for Intellectual Property Rights(ICRI/CIR) of KU Leuven (www.icri.be), the department of Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication (SMIT) of the Vrije UniversiteitContinue Reading

Facebook tracks all users in breach of EU law

theguardian, Samuel Gibbs: “Facebook tracks the web browsing of everyone who visits a page on its site even if the user does not have an account or has explicitly opted out of tracking in the EU, extensive research commissioned by the Belgian data protection agency has revealed. The report, from researchers at the Centre ofContinue Reading

European Court of Justice Hears Case Challenging “Safe Harbor” Agreement and NSA Spying

EPIC – “The Court of Justice for the European Union heard arguments this week in Maximilian Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner, a case filed in Ireland following the revelations of the NSA PRISM program. At issue is whether the disclosure of EU citizens’ data by Facebook and other Internet companies to the NSA violates theContinue Reading

CRI/CIR advises Belgian Privacy Commission in Facebook investigation

“In December 2014, Facebook announced that it would revise its Data Use Policy and Terms of Service. At the request of the Belgian Privacy Commission, ICRI/CIR (KU Leuven), in cooperation with iMinds-SMIT (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) conducted an extensive analysis of Facebook’s revised policies and terms. Facebook rolled out its new policies and terms on JanuaryContinue Reading

UK Interception of Communications Code of Practice

Via The Register: “The UK government slipped out consultation documents on “equipment interference” and “interception of communications” (read: computer hacking by police and g-men) on Friday. They were made public on the same day that the Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled that the spying revelations exposed by master blabbermouth Edward Snowden had accidentally made British spooks’Continue Reading

UK Tribunal Rules Secret Surveillance Unlawful

The Intercept: “The United Kingdom’s top surveillance agency has acted unlawfully by keeping details about the scope of its Internet spying operations secret, a British court ruled in an unprecedented judgment issued on Friday. Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, was found to have breached human rights laws by concealing information about how it accesses surveillanceContinue Reading

Council of Europe Report on Mass Surveillance

Provisional version – Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights – Mass surveillance. Rapporteur: Mr Pieter Omtzigt, Netherlands, Group of the European People’s Party. “Our freedom is built on what others do not know of our existences” Alexandr Solzhenitsyn. A Draft resolution 1. The Parliamentary Assembly is deeply concerned about mass surveillance practices disclosed sinceContinue Reading

Foreign Intelligence Gathering Laws

Library of Congress – “This report contains information on laws regulating the collection of intelligence in the European Union, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, and Sweden. The report details how EU Members States control activities of their intelligence agencies and what restrictions are imposed on information collection.  All EU Member States follow EU legislationContinue Reading

Law Enforcement Without Borders

CDT – “A critical case is now working its way through the US courts—one that raises important questions for users and providers of cloud services in both the US and Europe. As part of a US criminal investigation, a US federal court has ordered Microsoft to hand over a customer’s files that the company holdsContinue Reading