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Eurobites: UK Proposes Social Media Levy to Boost Internet Safety

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Deutsche Telekom bets on smart parking; Vivendi tries to settle pay-TV dispute; balloon goes up for EE.

  • The UK government is proposing to introduce a levy on social media companies and communications service providers as part of ambitious plans to make Britain the "safest place in the world to be online," with the focus on protecting young people. Other proposals in the government's Internet Safety Strategy green paper -- which will be put out to consultation -- include a new social media code of practice, an annual "Internet safety transparency report" and support for tech startups in ensuring safety features are built into apps and so on from the outset. Initially the levy on social media companies will be a voluntary one, but in time the government may "underpin this levy in legislation" to ensure it does bring in sufficient money to fund the planned Internet safety initiatives.

  • eParkomat, a Czech startup that has developed an app to help drivers find parking spaces in crowded cities, says it has carried out a successful pilot project in Prague with T-Mobile Czech Republic a.s. and carmaker Skoda, and now hopes to bring the app to other cities in the coming months. Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), through its hub:raum tech incubator, has invested in eParkomat and has worked with the company since 2014.

  • French conglomerate Vivendi has offered to settle a pay-TV dispute with Mediaset S.p.A. by paying compensation to the Italian broadcaster, Reuters reports. Last July Vivendi pulled out of an €800 million (US$945 million) contract to take over Premium, Mediaset's pay-TV arm, claiming Premium's business plan didn't add up. It is now thought Mediaset could become part of a joint venture being set up between Canal+, Vivendi's own pay-TV arm, and Telecom Italia (TIM) , in which Vivendi holds a 24% stake.

  • EE , the UK mobile operator now owned by BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), is claiming the world's first commercial use of Helikite "air mast" technology at a cycling event in Wales. EE's air mast -- essentially a mini basestation attached to a helium balloon -- was flown 300 feet above Snowdonia National Park to connect 200 riders and hundreds of spectators to EE's 4G network and allow the event to be live-streamed in 360 degrees.

    Tethering, EE-style
    Tethering, EE-style

  • UAE operator Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co. (du) has landed a multi-year contract to supply enterprise managed services to Dubai's General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs.

  • Sweden's Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) is joining forces with Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) (OTC: SGTJY) to open Singapore's first 5G Center of Excellence. Each company is initially investing SG$2 million (US$1.47 million) over the next three years, with a view to developing Singapore's 5G mobile network infrastructure.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    User Rank: Light Sabre
    10/20/2017 | 8:11:36 AM
    Re: control freaks
    I do wonder if a tax on social media would actually lead to censorship issues or at the least the feeling someone is looking over your shoulder to see if you're doing something frowned upon by those folks watching you.
    User Rank: Light Beer
    10/12/2017 | 11:02:20 AM
    control freaks
    ---as part of ambitious plans to make Britain the "safest place in the world to be online," with the focus on protecting young people.---

    i.e. to introduce even more censorship
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    10/11/2017 | 9:41:13 AM
    Big Sister
    I thought one of the main points of Brexit was to shed some of the more onerous chains of bureaucracy -- although I would be completely in favor of sin taxes on Facebook et al. as a form of justice for turning people into zombies.
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