- European Commission calls on social networking companies to improve child safety policies
- (09/02/2010) 50% of European teenagers give out personal information on the web – according to an EU study – which can remain online forever and can be seen by anybody. Today, Safer Internet Day, the European Commission is passing a message to teenagers: "Think before you post!" It welcomed actions to protect children using social networking websites taken by the 20 companies who signed the Safer Social Networking Principles last year. Most of these companies have empowered minors to tackle online risks by making it easier to change privacy settings, block users or delete unwanted comments and content. Yet more needs to be done to protect children online, the Commission says. Less than half of social networking companies (40%) make profiles of under-18 users visible only to their friends by default and only one third replied to user reports asking for help.
- Telecoms: European Commission urges Latvian regulator to set lower fixed and mobile termination rates
(05/02/2010) The European Commission has asked the Latvian telecoms regulator, Sabiedrisko pakalpojumu regulesanas komisija (SPRK), to change the way it calculates fixed and mobile termination rates so that these fees can be lowered, making calls cheaper for consumers. Termination Rates are the wholesale prices which telecoms operators charge each other for connecting incoming calls to subscribers using their networks and are ultimately included in phone call prices. In May 2009, the Commission recommended an EU wide approach for calculating Termination Rates ( IP/09/710 ) but allowed telecoms regulators to calculate termination rates in other ways for a transitional period. These temporary calculation methods should be based on objective criteria and ensure that termination rates reflect the costs that an efficient operator incurs to provide such services. The Commission has also said that access and price control obligations should be imposed on all operators with significant market power to avoid potential competition problems.
See also: EU Consultation procedures
- Telecoms: European Commission urges Lithuanian telecoms regulator to take action on the broadcasting licensing regime
(05/02/2010) The European Commission today has warned the Lithuanian national telecoms regulator, Ryšių reguliavimo tarnyba (RRT), that obliging terrestrial broadcasters to use specific suppliers to transmit their programmes constitutes a barrier to competition and prevents new terrestrial transmission service providers from entering the market. The Commission says that regulators no longer need to intervene in broadcasting markets in principal. However, RRT intends to continue regulating Lithuanian terrestrial broadcasting markets because of the exclusive market position that has been granted to transmission service providers Lietuvos radijo ir televizijos centras (LRTC) and TEO.
See also: EU Consultation procedures
- Commission asks Bulgaria to apply EU rules making radio spectrum available for devices that help senior citizens - hearing aids and social alarms
- (28/01/2010) The European Commission today started legal action against Bulgaria and called on it to make sure the technical requirements are in place for hearing aids, social alarms and emergency buttons at home, for old and disabled people. Bulgaria has not followed EU rules saying the 169 MHz frequency band should be made available to applications of social value and electronic services such as asset tracking and paging systems. EU rules aim at harmonising use of this radio spectrum band in the EU to facilitate the development and take-up of such applications. Bulgaria should have complied with the Commission Decision on this band by 1 January 2007 and to an update of these rules by 31 October 2008.
- Europeans' Privacy will be big challenge in next decade, says EU Commissioner
- (28/01/2010) Our privacy faces new challenges: behavioural advertising can use your internet history to better market products; social networking sites used by 41.7 million Europeans allow personal information like photos to be seen by others; and the 6 billion smart chips used today can trace your movements. The European Commission today – Data Protection Day – warned that data protection rules must be updated to keep abreast of technological change to ensure the right to privacy, legal certainty for industry, and the take-up of new technologies. EU rules say that a person's information can only be used on legitimate grounds, with their prior consent. With the Lisbon Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental Rights now in force, the Commission today said it wants to create a clear, modern set of rules for the whole EU guaranteeing a high level of personal data protection and privacy, starting with a reform of the 1995 EU Data Protection Directive.
- New EU Telecoms Regulator gets to work
(28/01/2010) Today marks the start of a new era for telecoms in the EU. The telecoms regulators of the 27 EU countries will meet for the first time in Brussels as members of the new Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). The new European telecoms regulator BEREC has been established following the adoption by the Council and Parliament of the new EU Telecoms rules in December 2009. With 12 fixed and 10 mobile telecoms companies offering services in many other EU Member States and hundreds of service providers operating across borders, BEREC will play a crucial role in strengthening the single telecoms market and consistent regulation across Europe. Assisted by an office with expert staff, the new European telecoms regulatory body will in particular help ensure fair competition in the single telecoms market. In 2008, Europe's telecoms sector revenues accounted for €351 billion.
See also: Further information on BEREC
- Telecommunications: Commission takes action against France over 'telecoms tax'
- (28/01/2010) The Commission today opened an infringement procedure against France relating to the 'telecoms tax' on telecommunications operators. To offset the ending of advertising on public TV channels, France has introduced a specific tax on the turnover of telecommunications operators in connection with their licence to provide telecoms services (including Internet and mobile phone services). However, the Commission takes the view that in reality this tax constitutes an administrative charge that is incompatible with European law.
- Telecoms: European Commission ends case against Italy on the transfer of 112 calls to the emergency services
- (28/01/2010) The European Commission today ended legal action taken against Italy following confirmation that calls made to the single European emergency number 112 can be effectively transferred to the relevant national emergency service.
- Telecoms: European Commission launches legal action against Italy over databases for telemarketing purposes
- (28/01/2010) The European Commission today took legal action against Italy for not respecting EU ePrivacy rules. According to EU law, subscribers who are included in a public subscriber directory must be informed about the objectives of the directory and consent to the use of their personal data contained therein for marketing purposes. As Italy failed to comply with this obligation, the Commission decided to send a letter of formal notice (the first step of an infringement proceeding).
- Telecoms: European Commission extends consultation on draft measures for IP traffic exchange in Poland
(05/01/2010) In a letter just sent the European Commission has informed the Polish telecoms regulator, UKE, that it has serious doubts whether UKE is right to define two separate markets for IP traffic exchange (IP transit and IP peering with the network of Telekomunikacja Polska). The Commission has also questioned the assigned incumbent with significant market power in those markets. During the following two months the Commission will assess further market data from UKE and consult with market players.
See also: EU consultation procedures