Wednesday, July 10, 2019

New Rules for On-Line Platforms in Europe

We learn that...

The European Union approved new regulations promoting fairness and transparency of online platforms, coming into effect in summer 2020. 
This regulation is based on two key areas. First, several online platforms have superior bargaining power, enabling them to behave unfairly towards the many business users that need those platforms for selling their products and services. Second, many online businesses rely on their website ranking by search engines, which justifies transparency requirements for those search engines. The new Regulation aims to ensure a fair, predictable and trusted online business environment for the benefit of all consumers in the EU.
The main instrument in achieving these goals is the terms and conditions, which must clearly set out the rules for operating the platform. The platform operator can only amend its terms and conditions with 15 days’ prior notice and must give the platform’s business users a further 15 days to terminate the contract if they do not accept the proposed amendments. To ensure that all these principles are complied with, the new Regulation contains a full range of remedies. Platform operators must provide for an internal complaint-handling system that is easily accessible and free of charge. Complaints that are not resolved may be submitted to impartial and independent mediators.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

EU Regulations on UAVs (drones) Updated

In the Cyber and Copyright Group’s June 2019 Newsletter, we read:

The European Union has published common rules on the use of drones, aimed at harmonizing the law on this issue across the 28 member states of the EU, so that drone operators better understand what they may and may not do. According to the European Union’s Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), “once drone operators have received authorization in [their] state of registration, they are allowed to freely circulate in the European Union”. Although the common rules formally take effect on July 1, 2019, they will become mandatory only in June 2020 so that member states in the EU have sufficient time to adjust their local laws to the new regulation.
One of the new rules requires drone operates to register before using a drone. The rules prescribe three categories of drone operation – ‘open’ (for low-risk drones of up to 25Kg in weight), ‘specific’ (where drones require authorization to be flown), and ‘certified’ (a high risk category, such as using drones for delivery of shipments or flying over large crowds). Each category will be subject to its own set of regulations. The rules also deal with privacy matters, including provisions that require operators of drones with sensors capable of collecting personal data, to register them as such.

Updated rules are published here.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

US Department of Defense JEDI cloud contract under fire from Oracle

From The Register:

Ahead of its first day in a U.S. federal claims court in Washington DC, Oracle has outlined its position against the Pentagon's award of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract to Amazon Web Services. Big Red's lengthy filing questions the basis of Uncle Sam's procurement procedure as well as Amazon's hiring of senior Department of Defense staff involved in that procurement process. Oracle's first day in court is set for 10 July. The JEDI deal could be worth up to $10 billion over 10 years. The Department of Defense handed the contract to AWS after deciding that only Amazon and Microsoft could meet the minimum security standards required in time. 

Oracle's filing said that U.S. "warfighters and taxpayers have a vested interest in obtaining the best services through lawful, competitive means... Instead, DoD (with AWS's help) has delivered a conflict-ridden mess in which hundreds of contractors expressed an interest in JEDI, over 60 responded to requests for information, yet only the two largest global cloud providers can clear the qualification gates." The company said giving JEDI, with its "near constant technology refresh requirements", to just one company was in breach of procurement rules. It accused the DoD of gaming the metrics used in the process to restrict competition for the contract. Oracle also accused Amazon of breaking the rules by hiring two senior DoD staff, Deap Ubhi and Anthony DeMartino, who were involved in the JEDI procurement process. Ubhi is described as "lead PM." A third name is redacted in the publicly released filing.