Monday

24th Feb 2020

EU backtracks on plans to ban facial recognition

The European Commission came under fire on Wednesday for ruling out a moratorium on facial recognition. Instead, it proposed a public debate with stakeholders to determine when this technology might be used.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel's party suffers worst ever result in Hamburg
  2. 'No need to panic' on coronavirus in Italy, EU says
  3. Erdogan says he will meet Macron, Merkel on Syria
  4. Bulgarian PM investigated over 'money laundering'
  5. Greenpeace breaks into French nuclear plant
  6. Germany increases police presence after shootings
  7. NGO: US and EU 'watering-down' tax reform prior to G20
  8. Iran: parliamentary elections, conservatives likely to win

MEPs urge binding rules for common chargers by July

MEPs demanded the European Commission ensure immediate EU regulatory action on common chargers for all mobile devices by July, enabling users to easily re-use old devices and reducing e-waste.

Online platforms need regulating, Jourova warns

The EU commission vice-president pledged to tackle disinformation by regulating platforms and cleaning up online political advertising rules. She also pointed to Russia and China as wanting to undermine European democracy.

EU rules leave 5G networks open for Huawei

The European Commission unveiled its "toolbox" of security standards for 5G - without excluding any specific telecom supplier, amid concerns over Huawei's links to China's intelligence services.

US and UK in war of words over Huwaei

British ministers are expected to allow Huawei limited access to the UK's 5G networks at the National Security Council on Tuesday, amid concerns over the firm's links to China's intelligence services.

AI must have human oversight, MEPs recommend

The European Parliament's internal market committee (IMCO) insists humans must remain in control automated decision-making processes, ensuring that people are responsible and able to overrule the outcome of decisions made by computer algorithms.

Opinion

Only EU can tame Zuckerberg's Facebook

When the EU speaks, Silicon Valley listens. The tech titans know that the EU matters. Which is why it's so crucial that following the lobbying from Zuckerberg, on disinformation, the EU gets regulation right.

Zuckerberg lobbies Brussels ahead of new EU rules

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met on Monday three European commissioners in charge of digital policies - Thierry Breton, Margrethe Vestager and Vera Jourová - to discuss upcoming EU rules and the responsibilities of platforms regarding disinformation.

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Analysis

EU plan on AI: new rules, better taxes

The bloc wants to become a global leader in innovation in the data economy and AI. However, proportional legislation, better data-availability and huge invesment will be needed across the EU to compete with China and the US.

Opinion

Why EU will find it difficult to legislate on AI

The private sector, governments, academia, and civil society have all been calling for ethical guidelines in AI development - but these discussions remain vague, open to interpretation, non-universal, and most importantly, unenforceable.

Will US privacy-lite hollow out GDPR?

Some say GDPR is the most developed data protection law in the world, but the US has opted for a very different approach - a "voluntary tool" based on privacy risk management.

Focus

North Atlantic mini states in geopolitical turbulence

Donald Trump wanted to buy Greenland, while the Faroe Islands have come under pressure to ditch China's Huawei for its 5G network. Both incidents reflect growing geopolitical interest for the North Atlantic countries sharing foreign and security policy with Denmark.

Magazine

EU must manage climate and industry together

For Romanian centre-right MEP Adina-Ioana Valean, the previous chair of environment committee and current chair of industry, research and energy (ITRE), climate and industrial policy-making must go hand-in-hand to bring sustainability and prosperity to Europe.

Investigation

Data watchdog raps EU asylum body for snooping

The European Asylum Support Office combed through social media to monitor refugee routes to Europe for three years. The agency sent weekly reports on its findings to member states, the EU Commission and institutions such as UNHCR and Interpol.

Investigation

Pesticide chlorpyrifos banned by EU

EU member states have voted to ban from the market chlorpyrifos, a pesticide which is toxic to the brain in both its forms, and has been the subject of a long-running Le Monde and EUobserver investigation.

Magazine

AI's ethical dilemma for EU

Last year, the European Commission presented a strategy paper on how the EU should take the lead shaping the ethics of Artificial Intelligence. It is a challenge the JURI committee has tasked itself to complete over the next five years.

EU warned over fast-tracking facial recognition

A new report of the European Agency for Fundamental Rights calls for "a clear legal framework" to regulate facial recognition technologies, saying that collecting facial images of individuals without their consent can harm people's dignity.

AI skewed to young, male, and western EU, report warns

A new study reveals the current market ecosystem for artificial intelligence (AI) in Europe is uneven across both gender and demographic lines - raising new demographic concerns for the incoming AI legislation of the new commission.

Investigation

MEPs slam Commission over common charger delay

Citing an EUobserver investigation, MEPs on the consumer protection committee have slammed the EU Commission for allowing Apple to get away with refusing to comply with a common smartphone charger for over a decade.

EU parliament quietly keeps visitors' wi-fi data

The European Parliament is retaining the data of everyone who uses their wi-fi network, including journalists and visitors, and providing access to police in case of investigations.

EU states given right to police Facebook worldwide

National courts in EU states can order Facebook to delete content "worldwide", Europe's top tribunal has ruled, in what the US social media giant called an attack on free speech.

Automation threat to jobs will hit EU unevenly

New technologies, such as artificial intelligence and robotics, have the potential "to displace some workers from their tasks, even causing some jobs to disappear entirely", affecting the work nature of millions of jobs in Europe, according to a new report.

Germany adopts blockchain strategy and says no to Libra

The German federal government has passed a blockchain strategy designed to unlock the potential of this new technology, in both Germany and Europe, and prevent the risks associated with its implementation.

France urges EU virtual currency rules amid Libra risk

France has urged the EU to introduce a framework for the regulation of cryptocurrencies, after the introduction of the new Facebook virtual money 'Libra' threatens the financial stability of the EU.

EU experts agree pesticide may damage unborn children

There are no safe levels for exposure to the pesticides chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl, EU experts have said in a preliminary-finding into the pesticide - suggesting an EU-wide ban is a step closer.

Bienkowska bows out, with no EU 'Space Force' in sight

EU commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska said back in January the EU should consider setting up its own space army - in response to Donald Trump's similar plan. Bar two speeches, not much has happened.

Eight EU states miss artificial intelligence deadline

Pan-European strategy "encouraged" member states to publish national artificial intelligence strategies by mid-2019. Germany, France and the UK have already done so - others are lagging behind.

EU hesitates to back France over US tariff threat

France has passed a new tax on tech companies that will affect US global giants like Facebook. Donald Trump has threatened retaliatory tariffs over it. The EU commission says it will "coordinate closely with French" on the next steps.

EU defends US data pact, as Facebook court case opens

An Austrian privacy campaigner vs Facebook over the future of data transfers to the US case opened at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg on Tuesday. The European Commission, meanwhile, says the Privacy Shield pact is working fine.