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Eurobites: EC Doubles Down on Data Privacy

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT streams basketball live on Facebook; Deutsche Telekom rolls out WiFi on shorter flights; Google locked in Italian tax talks; Orange connects Hertz rental cars.

  • The European Commission is proposing new rules that will effectively extend existing restrictions on the use of customer data so that they apply to OTT services such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Gmail, iMessage and Viber as well as those provided by "traditional" telcos. Under the new proposals, privacy of customer data will be "guaranteed for both content and metadata derived from electronic communications," and, unless the customer in question has given his or her consent, such data gleaned from their online activity will have to be anonymized or deleted, unless that data is required for billing purposes. The rules on "cookies" will also be changed, withdrawing the need for user consent if they are deemed to "non-privacy intrusive cookies" that improve a user's Internet experience, such as those remembering a user's shopping cart history.

  • The line between broadcasting and social networking continues to blur: On Thursday BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) is to "simulcast" live the NBA Global Games London 2017 between the Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers on its Facebook page as well as on its (free-to-air) BT Sport Showcase channel. BT promises that the live Facebook stream will feature the league's "NBA Mobile View" feed, delivering a closer shot of the action tailored for viewing on smaller screens.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is to introduce in-flight WiFi-based Internet access on short and mid-range flights in Europe, initially through a collaboration with Inmarsat plc (London: ISAT) on selected Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines airplanes. In time the service will be extended to cover the entire Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings fleets in Europe. The telco has plugged itself into the satellite-based Global Xpress service, as well as the Inmarsat-led European Aviation Network to enable it to extend its in-flight Internet offer. The telco has been offering Internet access on its inter-continental flights since 2010.

  • Italian tax authorities are considering a proposal from Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) to pay between €270 million (US$283.6 million) and €280 million ($294.2 million) to settle a tax dispute, according to a Reuters report. The report says that last year the authorities presented the search giant with a bill for €227 million ($238.5 million) in unpaid taxes, covering the period 2009-2013.

  • Orange Business Services has landed a three-year contract with car hire firm Hertz to connect the latter's hourly rental vehicles with OBS's Datavenue IoT offering. The service will be provided in seven European countries, and is aimed primarily at corporate users.

  • The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has created a new Industry Specification Group (ISG) focusing on context information management (CIM), the discipline that seeks to make more sense of smart city data by placing it in context. The first meeting of ISG CIM is scheduled for February 9-10 in Sophia Antipolis, France.

  • The enterprise unit of UK broadband provider TalkTalk has a new chief operating officer, with Duncan Gooding replacing Dean Branton. Gooding, who will report to the company's general manager, Kristine Olson-Chapman, joined TalkTalk Business in 2012 as director of major accounts.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    Mitch Wagner
    Mitch Wagner,
    User Rank: Lightning
    1/11/2017 | 12:57:31 PM
    Good news
    Thank goodness for the change on cookies. Those popup warnings are annoying and useless.

    Every site uses cookies. Might as well just have a popup warning that the Internet uses electrons.

    Is in-flight WiFi not standard on internal European flights? It's common, but not universal here in the US -- I generally assume I will have it, and am disappointed but not surprised when it is not available.

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