Streaming quality reduction

Was it necessary?

Lockdown, social distancing, work from home, and on-line schooling resulted in an increased demand for Internet connectivity during the coronavirus crisis. The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the Commission stated that the network is not congested; however, that the Internet traffic is increasing. In order to avoid network congestion, the Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, called on the streaming platforms to lower the quality of streaming during the coronavirus crisis, in another words switching from high definition to a standard one. [Read More]

India: The world's largest lockdown

Contact tracing app Aarogya Setu raises privacy concerns

India has adopted the largest worldwide lockdown and 1.3 billion people must stay at their homes since March 25. To prevent the virus from spreading, the Indian government developed an app called Aarogya Setu to trace COVID-19 patients or suspected cases. Recently, there have been attacks from the government on the freedoms on the Internet, so the question of the tracing app raises concerns. As a member of the delegation for relations with India in the European Parliament, I have been watching the issue of digital rights for quite some time. [Read More]

The future of Internet regulation

My thoughts on the position of the European Parliament

The next upcoming legislation reforming fundamental rules governing the Internet in Europe is the Digital Services Act. It will impact platforms behavior when it comes to tackling hateful speech, unsafe products, or to decide if we will finally be able to use other social networks and talk to our friends on major social networks. Digital Services Act in the European Parliament The European Parliament is currently drafting several reports in order to give political guidance on what the future reform should include. [Read More]

Common EU toolbox for Member States on contact tracing apps

Dos and don'ts

As part of the gradual lifting of confinement measures, the Commission published on April 16 an EU toolbox, developed by Member States for the use of mobile applications for contact tracing and warning in response to the spreading of COVID-19. This is a very timely and welcome initiative given that certain countries started to work on their own measures, often declaring state of emergency and deprioritizing fundamental rights. Poland was one of the first Western countries to roll out an app that collects large amount of personal data, including people’s location and digital photos, in order to combat the pandemic. [Read More]

Censorship machine in action again!

What happened? Last week, a couple of legitimate news articles and posts about COVID-19 disappeared from Facebook. My Facebook post raising awareness about the Union’s support for start-ups to fight COVID-19 got also caught up in this. Application for funds that were made available to support start-ups able to produce solution that could fight the virus was originally open until March 18, 2020. In an attempt to spread the news to all potential interested parties, several followers of mine notified me that they weren’t able to share my post raising awareness about this or links to Commission’s website. [Read More]

Europe's role in fighting COVID-19

There are certain fake news and conspiracy theories spreading on the Internet about the absence of action of the European Union in times of the COVID-19 outbreak. In order to demonstrate the contrary, I summarised below which actions are being taken to preserve the well-functioning of the single market. Brief overview of the Union’s competences and capabilities The European Union has only a complementary competence to the policies of the Member States in the area of health, such as encouraging the cooperation and supporting their activities (Art. [Read More]

Terrorism regulation

Update from secret negotiations

I am the Opinion Rapporteur on the Regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online in the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) committee. Current status Currently, three way negotiations (trilogue meetings) are ongoing behind closed doors in order to find a compromise between the European Parliament’s and Council’s positions on the file. See the comparison of the two positions. As the IMCO Opinion Rapporteur, I represent the IMCO committee in the trilogue negotiations. [Read More]
TERREG 

Short-term rental services in big cities

We all know the concept of couch surfing, home swapping, and apartment sharing services that create an easy way to find accommodation for those who like to travel and a new way of getting to know other cultures. Some of the original initiatives grew into a more professional service offered by home sharing platforms in exchange for a commission. Innovation For consumers, the collaborative economy can provide benefits through new services, extended supply, and lower prices. [Read More]

Thoughts on the European Digital Strategy

Together with the white paper on Artifical Intelligence, the Commission presented their digital strategy for the upcoming legislature: Shaping Europe’s digital future. The paper defines a three pillar strategy “that will ensure that Europe develops and pursues its own way of vibrant, globally competitive, value-based and inclusive digital economy and society.” My thoughts on this: Technology that works for people Cyber security: The strategy refers to the EU toolbox for 5G as an important milestone for achieving resilience. [Read More]

Artificial Intelligence

The future European approach

On February 19, the Commission presented its white paper on Artificial Intelligence (AI): a European approach to excellence and trust. As previously explained on my blog, the topic is not merely a techy issue, but already impacts the life of many of us, be it applying for a job, ordering food, or content moderation software, etc. The proposal is open for consultation for any interested stakeholder or individual. The deadline for your remarks is May 19, 2020, in case you’d like to comment on it. [Read More]