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Digital Business Lawyer

Volume: 19 Issue: 12
(December 2017)


Concern has been raised by the US tech community about the possible repercussions of the proposed amendment to Section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act 1996 (‘CDA 230’) which protects US companies from civil liability for user-generated content on their digital platforms, following the US Senate Commerce Committee’s approval of the latest version of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (‘SESTA’) on 8 November 2017. If signed into law, SESTA would make digital platforms that are knowingly assisting, supporting, or facilitating a violation of sex trafficking law liable to be prosecuted, by amending Section 230 to exclude enforcement of federal or state sex trafficking laws from the immunity granted by CDA 230. / read more

President of the Commission for Industry, Commerce and Tourism of the Italian Senate, Massimo Mucchetti, announced on 13 November 2017 a proposed amendment to Italy’s draft Budget Law 2018, which would see the introduction of a so-called ‘Web Tax;’ the initial proposal targeted Italian purchasers of services from multinational digital businesses, and has since been amended to apply to purchasers from Italy-based digital businesses too. Such purchasers are currently not required to pay the same amount of tax when purchasing from non-Italy-based businesses as they would be if purchasing services from businesses based in Italy. The Web Tax, which it is proposed would be set at 6% of the value of purchases made over €30 and which would not apply to purchases made by individuals, has since been the subject of debate in the Italian Parliament. / read more


Countries are increasingly focusing on how to attract tech companies to reap tax and employment benefits, and those companies are increasingly interested in influencing the regulatory conditions they are exposed to. In light of this, Denmark has become the first country in the world to create a new diplomatic position - the Ambassador for Technology and Digitalisation - to engage with global technology companies in order to better tailor the regulatory environment. In this article, Lasse Søndergaard Christensen and David Telyas, of Gorrissen Federspiel, shed light on the potential regulatory benefits associated with this new position. / read more

In late October 2017 the European Parliament approved its version of the draft ePrivacy Regulation and is in a position to commence talks with the EU Council of Ministers on the Regulation. Here, Joe McNamee, Executive Director of international advocacy group European Digital Rights (EDRi), provides insight into the negotiations on the draft ePrivacy Regulation so far, and discusses some of the more controversial aspects of the Regulation, including for example around offline tracking. Overall, Joe argues in the context of the forthcoming Regulation that good privacy is good for business. / read more

The recent European Court of Human Rights (‘ECtHR’) judgment in the long-running case of Tamiz v. UK found that the decision of the English High Court to refuse permission to a claimant to serve a libel claim against Google Inc. on the grounds that it was an abuse of process did not infringe the claimant’s Article 8 rights to a remedy for damage to his reputation. The judgment provides important commentary on the necessary balancing exercise between Article 8 and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (‘ECHR’) in ‘abuse of process’ cases and the extent to which internet service providers can be held liable for unlawful content after failing to act quickly to remove once on notice of it. The Court of Appeal judgment therefore remains a very important authority on intermediary liability for defamation in the UK, as Ashley Hurst and Alexander Vakil, of Osborne Clarke, explain. / read more

Russia’s new law aimed at further regulating instant messaging services will come into force on 1 January 2018. Sergey Medvedev and Ilya Goryachev of Gorodissky & Partners discuss the new legal obligations that the providers of instant messaging services in Russia will need to comply with. / read more

The competition from over-the-top (‘OTT’) services has had a considerable impact on traditional service providers (‘TSPs’); for example telcos have in some cases lost revenue, while struggling to cope with congestion problems on their networks which result from the increases in data traffic caused by OTT services. In Nigeria, the disruption brought by OTT services has challenged regulatory and legislative frameworks, and recently drawn the ire of Gbenga Adebayo, the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (‘ALTON’), who summarised the situation as “Telecom operators incur the costs, while OTT players make the money.” Olumide Osundolire, Partner at Banwo & Ighodalo, discusses here the impact of OTT services on telcos in Nigeria as an example of the disruption OTT services can bring in a country with a developing infrastructure, and considers the approach Nigerian telcos are taking in adapting to this disruption. / read more

The Norwegian Consumer Council published a report in October 2017 called #WatchOut: Analysis of smartwatches for children, which identified critical security flaws, a false sense of security and consumer rights failings in all of the four devices analysed. Øystein Flagstad, Partner at Grette, provides an outline of the report’s findings. / read more

On 11 October 2017 the UK Government published the Internet Safety Strategy green paper (‘Green Paper’) which looks at how it can ensure Britain is the safest place in the world to be online and which aims to crack down on dangers like cyber bullying, trolling and underage access to pornography. The Strategy considers the responsibilities of companies to their users, the use of technical solutions to prevent online harms and the Government’s role in supporting users. Here, Rafi Azim-Khan and Steven Farmer of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP discuss key aspects of the Green Paper and the possible compliance steps for websites and ISPs that could come out of the consultation. / 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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