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Digital Business Lawyer

Volume: 18 Issue: 2
(February 2016)


The EU College of Commissioners reached political agreement on 2 February on a new framework for trans-Atlantic data transfers, entitled ‘Privacy Shield’ (‘PS’); this EU-US arrangement follows the Court of Justice of the EU’s (‘ECJ’) 6 October 2015 ruling, which found the EU-US Safe Harbor decision to be invalid. / read more

The Science and Technology Committee published its report on the UK’s draft Investigatory Powers Bill: technology issues on 1 February, which expresses concerns relating to the lack of clear definitions within the bill, the impact of the data collection obligations on communications services providers (‘CSPs’) particularly pertaining to the technical feasibility of retaining ‘internet connection records’ and the associated costs, and the need for clarification regarding encryption and equipment interference. / read more

Commenting on possible competition issues raised by big data, EU Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager stressed that currently concern over online businesses protecting personal information does not necessarily mean that companies have broken competition rules. “We don’t need a whole new competition rulebook for the big data world,” said Vestager, speaking at the DLD Conference in Munich on 17 January. / read more


The European Commission has recently taken a number of steps forward in its pursuit of a digital single market for Europe, the steps of which were set out in its Digital Single Market Strategy (‘DSMS’) of last May. These steps include the release in December 2015 of new rules for digital contracts, the establishment of an Online Dispute Resolution portal tool, and a proposed Accessibility Act - a Directive with the aim of ensuring that goods and services are accessible to all EU consumers including those with disabilities that may impair their ability to access content in traditional ways. Overall, these developments reinforce the Commission’s commitment to facilitating access to online goods and services across the EU. Nick Fenner and Emma Fox of TLT LLP discuss each of the specific measures mentioned above and analyse their role in bringing the digital single market closer to reality. / read more

A legal framework regulating information technology and cyberspace is largely absent in Pakistan. This matter has been discussed at length within the corridors of power, and various draft pieces of legislation have been presented before Parliamentary Committees only to be scuttled at a later stage. Karimullah Adeni and Ali Kabir Shah of Ali & Associates, discuss the recent draft Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill and the burdens that it would place on internet service providers, the need to find the right balance between security and privacy, and the recent controversy surrounding the government’s demand to access all communications data held by online service providers, which almost resulted in BlackBerry exiting the Pakistani market. / read more

In the pre-final version of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’), agreed by the trilogue parties on 15 December, a general right to data portability has been included; the right was originally intended to enable users of social networks to take ‘their data’ with them when they decide to change network provider. Questions remain as to the exact scope and impact of this right. Dr Flemming Moos of Osborne Clarke explains this right and why it will be crucial for businesses to ensure that data transmissions under this right are not too far-reaching. / read more

On 27 December, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China passed the Anti-Terrorism Law of the People’s Republic of China (the ‘Anti-Terrorism Law’), which came into force on 1 January. The new law sets out new regulatory obligations for telecommunications service operators and internet service providers (‘Operators’ and ‘Providers’), and is applicable to both foreign-invested and pure domestic Chinese activities. Dr Falk Lichtenstein and Joan Wang of CMS, China, detail the major new obligations for Operators and Providers introduced by the Anti-Terrorism Law. / read more

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (‘OECD’), partly reacting to the need to address the taxation challenges posed by the digital economy, released at the end of last year two documents, a new set of proposed ‘fair taxation action plans’ for the digital economy and International VAT/GST Guidelines. Here, Michaela Merz and Daniel Barcellos of PwC Switzerland analyse the latter of these two publications, which attempts to set indirect tax best practices and methods with a focus on cross-border trade. / read more

Whilst obtaining blocking injunctions against internet service providers (‘ISPs’) has become an established practice in the UK, particularly within the film and music industry, the position is less clear cut elsewhere in Europe. RPC’s David Cran and Ben Mark explore the current landscape in this area and take a critical look at the ongoing fight against piracy in the EU, including at guidance provided by the Court of Justice of the EU (‘CJEU’) and the issues posed by the notorious Pirate Bay website. / read more

About Digital Business Lawyer:

The monthly publication providing authoritative insights and thought leadership on the legal/regulatory issues affecting online business, covering distance selling, contracts, domain names, adblocking, advertising, cloud computing, net neutrality, e-privacy, data protection, cyber crime, the Internet of Things, social media, internet taxation and software / read more

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