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Eurobites: EU Votes to End Geoblocking on Streaming Services

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: voice-recognition security fails the twin test; EU member states tweak proposals on network investment strategy; Russian banks shed no tears over WannaCry.

  • The European Parliament has approved new proposed rules that will allow EU subscribers to online streaming services to access their content of choice from any member state they happen to travel to. The removal of so-called "geoblocking" will be good news for hotel-bound customers of Netflix, HBO Go and Spotify (and others), though they may need to carry some sort of place-of-residence verification with them, such as identity cards or tax information. The new rules will only apply to the fee-based versions of such services (rather than, say, the add-supported free version of Spotify) but providers of free services can also make their content portable EU-wide, provided they comply with the requirements relating to residency checks. The next step will be the formal approval of the draft law by the EU Council of Ministers, and once the rules come into force, member states will have nine months to implement them.

  • Is it time for a rethink on voice-recognition security? A reporter at the BBC found that his non-identical twin brother could, just by saying "my voice is my password," log into a bank account set up by the reporter at HSBC, access details of balances and transactions, and transfer money to different accounts held by the reporter at the bank. (He was not able to transfer money to an account held by someone else, however, or buy goods.) What is particularly alarming in this case is that the twin brother was given as many as eight attempts before he eventually gained access to the bank account.

  • EU member states have toughened up proposals on network investment regulations, according to a report on EurActiv. The unpublished proposals, seen by EurActiv, require national regulators to go easy on operators and regulate them in a light-touch manner if they agree to invest in shared networks with their competitors.

  • The Russian central bank has made light of last week's WannaCry cyber attack, Reuters reports, claiming that the attack only compromised banks in a few isolated cases, and that the effects of the attack were dealt with quickly. The attack made its presence felt most strongly in the UK's National Health Service, with many hospitals having to turn away non-emergency cases and rearrange scheduled operations. (See Global Ransomware Attack Strikes 70K Systems (& Counting).)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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