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Global Media and Communications Watch

The International Legal Blog for the Tech, Media and Telecoms Industry

Posted in Defamation

UK Defamation: when words seriously harm

Evidencing in court that a defamatory statement has caused harm to your reputation can be notoriously difficult. The courts in the UK have therefore traditionally proceeded on the basis that, where a statement is proven to be defamatory, harm is presumed, unless the defendant can prove otherwise. This approach was brought into doubt by the Defamation Act 2013 (the “Act”), which requires that the harm caused by defamation must be “serious” before it is actionable.  Does this mean the claimant must now prove that serious harm has been caused in every case?

In Lachaux v Independent Print Ltd [2017] EWCA Civ 1334, the Court of Appeal has reversed an earlier decision of the High Court and confirmed that following the Act there is still a presumption of harm in defamation cases. However, there is no presumption that “serious” harm has been caused, which would need to be proven by the claimant.

The case concerned a series of articles published by the Huffington Post, The Independent and The Evening Standard in 2014 that suggested Bruno Lachaux, a French aerospace engineer, was guilty of domestic violence, child abduction and manipulating the Emirati legal system to deprive his former partner of access to their child, Louis.

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Posted in Policy & Regulation, Spectrum, TMT2020 Tony Lin

Smallsat companies form trade association to address issues facing the smallsat community

At the annual Smallsat conference in Logan, Utah, the Commercial Smallsat Spectrum Management Association (CSSMA) held its first meeting since legally forming earlier this month. A number of well-known smallsat operators and other companies have joined the organization, which seeks to advance a number of goals common to the smallsat community. These goals include creating conditions for a transparent and expedited spectrum coordination process for shared spectrum and advocating CSSMA views on spectrum management and other policy matters affecting the smallsat community.

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Posted in Cybersecurity, Data Protection & Privacy

Former FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez Joins Hogan Lovells Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice

Hogan Lovells has announced that Edith Ramirez, the former Chairwoman of the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), has joined the firm as a partner and will play an active role in Hogan Lovells’ Privacy and Cybersecurity practice. She will also co-head the firm’s Antitrust, Competition and Economic Regulation (ACER) practice.

Ramirez will co-lead the global antitrust practice alongside Suyong Kim who is based in London. Ramirez will be based in Washington, DC and Los Angeles.

Ramirez joined the FTC as a Commissioner in April 2010 and served as FTC Chairwoman from March 2013 to January 2017.

“Having completed a very successful tenure as Commissioner and then as Chairwoman of the FTC, Edith will be a valuable and strategic resource for our clients,” said Steve Immelt, CEO of Hogan Lovells. “We are delighted to have such a preeminent expert join the firm.”

“Edith has been a strong presence in the international competition and privacy arena,” said Suyong Kim, ACER co-head. “Her exceptional experience in policy and enforcement in the areas of antitrust and privacy will marry well with our world class global teams in both areas.”

At the FTC, Ramirez focused on promoting competition, particularly in the technology and healthcare sectors, safeguarding consumer privacy and data security, and protecting vulnerable communities from deceptive and unfair practices.

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Posted in Digital Single Market (EU), Policy & Regulation Alastair ShawPenny ThorntonDr. Nils Rauer

DSM Watch: Compliance deadlines for EU online Portability Regulation pushed back

In our 18 July blog we reported the then recently published key dates for compliance with the EU online Portability Regulation.   Following a correction published in the EU Official journal on 28 July 2017, those deadlines have been pushed back by just under two weeks.   A revised version of our blog post is below, with the new deadlines added.

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In our 21 June blog we reported that the text of this, the first legislative proposal published by the Commission under the Digital Single Market strategy banner, had been finalised by the European Parliament and Council.  The Regulation on ensuring the cross-border portability of online content services in the internal market ((EU) 2017/1128), to give it its formal title, has now been published in the Official Journal of the European Union (on 30 June 2017).  That means the key dates for businesses providing portable online content services are now known.

These are:-

1 April 2018 (previously 20 March 2018): Regulation becomes applicable, with direct legal effect in all EU Member States.

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Posted in Policy & Regulation, Technology

Cutting Edge Tech Issues: Hogan Lovells collaborates with Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship

On 26 June 2017, Hogan Lovells and Professor Phil Weiser (of the University of Colorado’s Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship) ran a client seminar on cutting edge issues in tech policy. Michele Farquhar, Peter Watts, Angus Coulter and Alice Wallace-Wright facilitated a lively debate covering US and EU perspectives on:

  • lessons from the US spectrum incentive auction;
  • the future of spectrum policy – addressing the competing policy aims of incentivising investment and facilitating new entry, the ongoing debate on how spectrum will be addressed in the proposed European Electronic Communications Code;
  • network neutrality – the current FCC debate and regulatory design on both sides of the Atlantic;
  • the competitive effects of consolidation in the media and tech industries; and
  • ‘entrepreneurial leadership’ in government – what benefits can be reaped from a more imaginative approach to administration.

The Silicon Flatirons-Hogan Lovells collaboration continued at the International Spectrum Workshop in Paris on 28 June 2017.  Hogan Lovells partners Michele Farquhar and Winston Maxwell joined leaders from across the globe in academia, government, industry, and civil society to discuss aspects of wireless spectrum management, including:

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Posted in Copyright, Digital Single Market (EU) Alastair ShawPenny ThorntonDr. Nils Rauer

Digital Single Market: Draft Copyright Directive – What is the current state of the European ancillary copyright for publishers?

The ever-lasting discussion regarding the implementation of a European ancillary copyright for press publishers has now entered the next round. In March 2017, MEP Therese Comodini Cachia, who then was the rapporteur of the European Parliament’s committee on legal affairs (JURI), spoke out against such a right (report), after the Commission had envisaged such a right in the proposal for a new Copyright Directive (COM (2016) 593 final).

Positioning of the EPP-Group

Mrs Comodini Cachia has meanwhile returned to the domestic Maltese Parliament and the German Axel Voss, member of the EPP-Group of the European parliament, took on the role of the rapporteur for JURI, which is the lead committee on this draft legislation. He sees himself as an advocate for a European ancillary copyright for press publishers. Apparently the EPP Group now supports his opinion as highlighted in a recently published press release.

However, the situation and views within the Parliament can be described as heterogeneous. Numerous parliamentary groups also argue against the respective ancillary copyright. Recently, the rapporteur of the Committee on Consumer Protection and Internal Market, Catherine Stihler, demanded at the committee meeting that the article on the European ancillary copyright for publishers should be deleted from the Commission’s proposal. She had already put forward her  opinion on this case in a statement of 20 February 2017. Continue Reading

Posted in Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband

Hogan Lovells supports Vodafone Group in its 2017 Law Enforcement Disclosure Statement

 Earlier this year Vodafone Group (“Vodafone“) published an update to its Law Enforcement Disclosure Statement (“Statement“), including an annexe summarizing law enforcement and encryption laws in 28 countries. The Statement offers detailed insights into the legal frameworks, governance principles and operating policies associated with responding to demands for assistance from law enforcement and intelligence agencies and together with the legal annexe is one of the most comprehensive resources available worldwide on the topic.

In this third update to its Statement, Vodafone included new sections on encryption and data retention, the first time this analysis has been published. The Legal Annexe, which was prepared in conjunction with Hogan Lovells, now outlines the main laws relating to encryption in the context of providing assistance to law enforcement agencies in the telecommunications sector across 28 countries.

The Statement forms part of a wider set of disclosures on topics related to digital human rights, which can be found on Vodafone’s Digital Rights and Freedoms Reporting Centre.

Posted in Data Protection & Privacy Dr. Wolf-Tassilo Böhm

New Case Law on Restrictions for Employee Monitoring in the Workplace in Germany

According to the German Federal Labor Court, Germany’s highest court for employment disputes, German employers are not allowed to monitor employees in the workplace without a concrete suspicion of a criminal violation or, in some cases, a serious breach of duty (judgment dated July 27, 2017, case ref. 2 AZR 681/16). This means that employer monitoring of an employee’s computer usage without a concrete suspicion, including the use of keylogging software that records all keyboard entries made at a desktop computer does not comply with German data privacy laws. Courts may exclude evidence obtained under violation of German data privacy laws from their proceedings.

Facts of the Case

In the case, a web developer filed a dismissal law suit against a termination notice issued by its employer. The employer had installed a so-called keylogger on the employee’s business computer. The employer did this to prove its assumption that the employee had dedicated major parts of his working time to private activities. This keylogger software monitored and stored all keyboard entries for a significant period of time. In addition, the software periodically took and stored screenshots of the employee’s desktop.

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Posted in Data Protection & Privacy Natalia GulyaevaMaria SedykhBret Cohen

Russian Data Protection Authority Publishes Privacy Policy Guidance

On 31 July, the Russian data protection authority, Roskomnadzor, issued guidance for data operators on the drafting of privacy policies to comply with Russian data protection law. Russia’s 2006 privacy law – Federal Law No. 152-FZ of 27 July 2006 “On Personal Data” (Personal Data Law) – requires, among other things, that Russian data operators must adopt a privacy policy that describes how they process personal data. This notice requirement is similar to the approach in Europe. Furthermore, data operators shall publish such a policy online when personal data is collected online or otherwise provide unrestricted access to the policy when personal data is collected offline. The guidance – although non-binding and recommendatory in nature – emphasizes the regulator’s compliance expectations and should therefore be taken into account by organizations acting as data operators in Russia.Roskomnadzor generally considers it important for data operators to adopt a relatively detailed data processing policy so that data subjects are aware of all potential actions to be taken with their personal data, such as the purposes for processing and recipients of their personal data. Roskomnadzor expects companies to proactively control the processing of their personal data to comply with the data processing notice.

The guidance states that the policy must contain, in general, such information as the:

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Posted in Cybersecurity, Internet, Technology

The FTC and Industry Propose Best Practices for IoT Security Updates

How do you ensure that an Internet-connected sensor or device—often inexpensive and designed for lifespans of up to 20 years or more—can be secured against not only the intrusions of today but also those of the future? This question has taken on new urgency as low-cost Internet-connected devices are increasingly being co-opted into massive networks, known as “botnets,” that are capable of causing widespread disruption.

Both government regulators and industry have been working together to solve this and related questions by developing best practices for mitigating security risks from unpatched or unsupported devices. As we discussed in January, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an independent agency within the Department of Commerce, is leading a multi-stakeholder process to consider opportunities and challenges associated with the Internet of Things (IoT). Since then, a working group convened by the NTIA has published a draft set of industry best practices for communicating to consumers when patches are available and when device manufacturers support sunsets. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumer representatives and industry have submitted comments discussing these issues.

The NTIA’s Best Practices Draft

As appreciation for IoT security threats has grown, stakeholders in government, industry, and the technologist community have issued various guidance materials addressing how manufacturers should communicate information about security updates for IoT devices. The NTIA working group summarized and harmonized these recommendations into the best practices draft document for manufacturers. The document is also intended to serve as a baseline for the NTIA’s ongoing work in support of the growth of IoT products.

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