Eurobites: MEPs Tackle Trump on Data Privacy

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: London's Square Mile signs public WiFi deal; Telenor sells shares in VEON; Spotify may go for direct listing; Virgin Media does Devon.

  • Members of the European Parliament have called on the European Commission to conduct a thorough assessment of the state of the data privacy in the US, following concerns that the authorities there are riding roughshod over the principles laid down by the so-called Privacy Shield framework. MEPs are alarmed at, among other things, new rules introduced by the Trump Administration in January that allow the NSA to share a large amount of private data, gathered without any special authorization, with 16 other agencies, including the FBI. (See Eurobites: Trump Won't Trash Privacy Shield, US Officials Predict and Eurobites: Privacy Shield Gets EU Go-Ahead.)

  • The City of London, the financial center of the UK capital also known as the Square Mile, has agreed a deal that will bring free public WiFi to those living, working or just passing through there. Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL) has been awarded the 15-year contract to roll out the network in conjunction with Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2), replacing The Cloud. For more details, see this story on our sister site, TechX365.

  • Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) is selling off more of its stake in VEON, the Russia-based group formerly known as VimpelCom, as it tries to reduce its exposure to Eurasian markets. The Norwegian operator is offering 70 million of its common shares in the company. It currently owns 23.7% of VEON's total outstanding common shares. The price at which Telenor will sell the common shares and American Depository Shares (ADSs) has not yet been determined. (See Eurobites: 'Uzbekgate' Claims More Victims at Telenor, Eurobites: Ex-VimpelCom Boss Held Over Uzbek Deals and Eurobites: Norway Dumps Telenor Chairman.)

  • Spotify , the Swedish-owned music streaming service that this week announced a major deal with Universal Music, is considering a direct listing on the stock market rather than going down the IPO (initial public offering) route, the BBC reports. The company is hoping for a valuation of more than $10 billion.

  • Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED), the UK cable operator owned by Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY), has announced that the county of Devon will be the next area in line for its Project Lightning "ultrafast" broadband treatment. Virgin plans to extend its fiber network to 42,000 homes and businesses across Devon, with work already underway in the resort town of Torquay. The company is promising download speeds of up 300 Mbit/s for those who plug into the new network. Last month Virgin suspended four senior employees and launched an internal inquiry after they had been found guilty of misrepresenting the progress made on the Project Lightning rollout. (See Eurobites: Clouds Descend on Project Lightning and Virgin Media Plots £3B Invasion of BT Turf.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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