45 Marketing Trends found for Regulation / Mainland Europe

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EC Sets Broadband Target of 30Mbps Within Ten Years

The European Commission has set a target of giving every European citizen access to internet speeds of 30Mbps or more by 2020; at the same time ensuring that at least half  the region's 220 million households have access to 100mbps broadband. This ambitious target begs the question as to whether the EC's ambitions might out-pace its ability to deliver - especially as around 5% of all present broadband services run at 30mbps. Only 0.5% at 100Mbps or higher.

[Estimated timeframe: Q4 2010 - 2020]

Nonetheless, broadband speeds in Europe have risen sharply in only a year, suggest official EC figures.

According to EC research, in July this year 29% of broadband lines in Europe ran at speeds of at least 10 Mbps. By contrast in July 2009 only 15% of broadband lines were capable of achieving that speed.

Despite the higher rates, the Commission warned that much work is needed to meet Europe-wide targets on access and speed.

"Fast broadband is digital oxygen, essential for Europe's prosperity and well-being," said Neelie Kroes, commissioner for the digital agenda.

Leading the European bloc in terms of high-speed broadband links a are Denmark and the Netherlands - each boasting coverage to some 80% of households.


All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: BBC.co.uk
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5408

Google Provokes EU to Review Online Privacy Law

The European Union has proposed new privacy rules to protect citizens sharing personal data with websites such as Facebook and Google - a move that  will likely draw a line in the sand for privacy-promiscuous US tech companies. It is also likely to alienate the advertising and media industries on both sides of the Atlantic. Google and Facebook have already incurred the ire of EU regulators and politicians this year for collecting personal data without authorization - in particular the former's unauthorized collection of sensitive personal data whilst purportedly trawling the Europe's streets for StreetView data.

[Estimated timeframe:2011 onward]

The draft European Commission rules - snappily titled A Comprehensive Approach on Personal Data Protection in the European Union - imply the imposition of an online "right to be forgotten."

Such a dispensation would confer on EU citizens a legal right to demand that websites permanently delete already submitted personal data. The proposed rules also mandate that users give explicit consent before companies can use or process their personal data in any way. The mercifully brief (20-page) document also condemns website operators' current privacy policies as "opaque".

States EU Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding: "The protection of personal data is a fundamental right. To guarantee this right, we need clear and consistent data-protection rules. We also need to bring our laws up to date with the challenges raised by new technologies and globalization."

The proposal recommends giving consumers the right to sue companies for privacy breaches and also proposes criminal penalties.

The Commission, the EU's executive branch, will submit the proposal as legislation next year. It will then be debated and amended by EU members and the European Parliament before becoming law.

In the interim, expect frenzied lobbying from all interested parties - plus loud howls of transatlantic indignation!

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: WSJ.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5374

EU and Europe's Online Industry Shape Future Ad Regime

Behavioural targeting - Adland's current hot potato - was the subject of a meeting last week of European Union officials and representatives of the trade bloc's advertising and digital industries. The goal: to develop a self-regulatory framework that will police misuse of consumers' personal data for advertising purposes.The framework will build on the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Good Practice Principles and use the Your Online Choices website to promote transparency in data collection along with consumers’ privacy options.

[Estimated timeframe: Q1 2011 onward]

The concordat may take a similar direction to moves in the US, where an icon on online ads tells users why they’re seeing them and how to opt out, under the CLEAR specifications released by the IAB and partner the Network Advertising Initiative.

According to IAB head of regulatory affairs Nick Stringer: "A pan-European website will be a starting point, giving more consumer control. 'Your Online Choices' will play an important role in letting consumers see where and why they get a cookie. We’re trying to get more companies to participate and sign up to the Good Practice Principles."

EU data protection regulators are reportedly arguing that current cookie usage does not meet the requirements of the ePrivacy directive due to come into force next year - this calls for ‘informed consent’ which means browsers set by default to reject cookies require users to go into the privacy settings and change their selection in order to accept an ad cookie.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: MRweb.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5325

European Parliament Backs Standardized Food Labelling Scheme

European Union shoppers face a bewildering variety of processed-foods labelling - unsurprising given the plethora of products and languages within the economic bloc. A flaw exploited by many food manufacturers from within and outside the European Union. Last week, however, Euro-MPs backed plans for uniform food labelling within the EU, although rejecting as potentially alarmist "traffic light" colour-coding of foods perceived as unhealthy because they are high in fat, sugar or salt. Instead they opted for 'Guideline Daily Amounts' (GDAs), instead of red/amber/green warning labels.

But however slowly the Mills of God may grind, those of the European Union grind even slower ...

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2010 - 2013]

... in that last week's vote by MEPs is unlikely to lead to new food labels before three to five years have elapsed.

In the meantime, the new rules "make it clear that [the EU] won't stand for people being misled by food packaging". Key nutritional information, including salt, fat and sugar content, will have to be displayed on the front of the pack.

Country of origin is another area where MEPs and the European Commission feel that food labels can be misleading. They cite, for instance, Danish bacon, which is sometimes labelled "UK produce" even though the pigs were reared in Denmark.

Arguments are raging over how much information to give consumers on pack fronts. Food industry lobbyists fear an excessive administrative burden.

Legibility is also a key issue, with the EC proposing a minimum 3-millimetre font size for pack labelling.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: BBC.co.uk
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5284

Transatlantic Probe into Google 'Data-Harvesting' Practices

Although it is not known if they acted in concert, German and US authorities this week united against Google following the latter's admission it had recorded communications sent over unsecured wireless networks in people’s homes. Privacy campaigners condemned the action as "one of the most massive surveillance incidents by a private corporation that has ever occurred”. German commissioner for data protection Peter Schaar has demanded a "detailed probe", while in the US the Federal Trade Commission is expected to launch an inquiry.

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2010 onward]

Commissioner Schaar is unconvinced by Google's claim that the collection of data was an accident, describing the incident as “highly unusual”.

Continued Schaar: “One of the largest companies in the world, the market leader on the internet, simply disobeyed normal rules in the development and usage of software.”

Marc Rotenberg, leader of the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Centre in Washington DC is of like mind. “It is unprecedented vacuuming of WiFi data by a private company. Can you imagine what would happen if a German corporation was sending cars through Washington sucking up all this information?”

In the UK, the Information Commissioner’s Office said that Google appeared to have breached the Data Protection Act.

Hands aloft in pious innocence, the Mountain View colossus claimed it it had been using a fleet of camera-equipped Street View vehicles, which photograph the group’s imaging services, and had been at the same time using the cars to assemble a database of electronic WiFi addresses intended to improve the functioning of its maps and other location services.

It goes without saying, of course, that this monumental goof wasn't the responsibility of Google's Top Brass. Nosirree, the fault lay down the line, pinned well and truly on the minions!

The project leaders, it seems, overlooked that the vehicles were also recording snippets of activity on adjacent WiFi networks.

“We didn’t want to collect this data in the first place and we would like to destroy it as soon as possible,” said Google’s abject PR hack Peter Barron. The data in question had never been available to outsiders, he insisted.

It is unlikely his explanation will satisfy privacy authorities on either side of the Atlantic and a prolonged investigation seems inevitable. Probably followed by legislation.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: FT.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5194

EU Fires Warning Shot Across Bows of Credit Rating Agencies

 The European Commission is mulling the formation of a new agency to rate the credit standing of its member governments. "If you look at Greece, for example, I was quite surprised by the rapid deterioration in its [credit] rating," admits Michel Barnier, Commissoner for oversight of  financial services. Accordingly M. Barnier proposes to take a long, hard look at the activities of the global triad of credit rating agencies - Standard & Poors, Fitch and Moody's: "I think we need to go further, to look at the impact of the ratings on the financial system or economic system as a whole. The power of these agencies is quite considerable not only for companies but also for states." Among the restraints under consideration by M. Barnier are ...


[Estimated timeframe:2010 onward]

... a new EU-sponsored  agency to rate the credit standing of member governments. This would challenge the global muscle of the global credit rating triopoly which, say critics, is so powerful that its judgements become self-fulfilling prophecies.

According to these critics, a downgrade by one or all the Big Three can push fund managers either into selling government bonds, or refusing to buy newly issued bonds.

Such negative gradings depress the value of the bonds and raise future borrowing costs - a sequence of events that puts further strain on a government's finances and could - theoretically - lead to further downgrades.

It's precisely that kind of vicious circle Greece has been fighting in recent months - a syndrome that irks M. Barmnier and his fellow officials in Brussels.

Accordingly the Eurocrats are considering how best to exercise their power to control the activities of  the rating agencies.

In 2009 the Triad was accused of failing to assess the size and risk of the US housing market's bad debt  - debt that was subsequently repackaged and resold around the world, triggering multi-billion pound losses.

The threesome later admitted their assessment of securities backed by sub-prime mortgages was incorrect. And how!

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: BBC.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5169

UK Cellphone Networks Launch Handset Call Recorders

In anticipation of proposed new financial services regulations, UK mobile operators are rolling-out new services that enable banks and other corporate accounts to record the conversations on company-owned cellphones. Says Vodafone Global Enterprise ceo Nick Jeffery, who is responsible for the company's top 600 corporate clients: "Because the finance sector is important to us, we have good visibility of the pressures they're under."

[Estimated timeframe:Q4 2010 onward]

Vodafone last week formally launched a recording service for clients in Western Europe following year-long trials with selected financial services clients. The Orange network launched a kindred service earlier this month.

Both services utilize an application on the handset that channels all inbound and outbound mobile calls via a central server, which records and stores all voice and keystroke content.

The devices are designed to comply with expected new Financial Services Authority regulations which would require banks and other financial operations to record all mobile communications relating to sales orders and transaction negotiations.

The requirement already applies to such communications on fixed lines and recordings must be retained for six months. The FSA is now considering extending the requirement to cellphones, strating from the end of 2010 followed by a twelve months transition period.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: WSJ.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5151

RTL Group Lobbies for Pan-European Relaxation of Ad Rules

Bertelsmann-owned TV conglomerate RTL Group - which operates in Germany, the UK, France, Holland, Belgium, Spain and Greece - is lobbying governments and regulators in those nations for an easing of the advertising rules - notably permission  to display programme sponsors' logos in the top right corner of TV screens opposite the channel's logo on the left.. Among other hoped-for concessions are ...

[Estimated timeframe:2010-onward]

 ... segment-targeted advertising and product placement in popular programmes, now possible thanks to tecnological advances. Also the expansion of other sponsorship activities.

Says RTL ceo Gerhard Zeiler: “I am pretty much convinced regulators are more open to gradually allowing more liberalisation in terms of the advertising forms, which we will have in TV.”

He also makes the point that the internet - unlike European TV - is not inhibited by any restrictions.on growth in advertising time.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: FT.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5080

EU Gives Legal Weight to Universal Internet Access

Brussels lawmakers are planning to revise a European Union law, originally  enacted in 2002, to ensure all EU citizens have access to fixed-line telephone and internet services regardless of location - urban or rural. The intention is to bring the enlarged bloc into line with present-day technological requirements

[Estimated timeframe:by end 2010]

The European Commission - the executive as opposed to political - wing of the economic bloc, sees the current regulations as outdated and in need of expansion to allow for broadband access.

The EC is currently soliciting input from stakeholders and other interestyed parties as to how the law should be amended to provide for the financing of the project. The consultation closes 7 May 2010.

Legislative proposals will follow before the end of the year.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: WSJ.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5073

EU Trains Crosswires on Behavioural Ads

European Union WonderWoman, aka Viviane Reding, EC Commissioner for Information Society and Media, is threatening Draconian new laws to curb privacy-breaching technology like airport body scanners. Also in the intellectually muscular Reding's sights is the fast-metastasizing social networking industry which - she believes - is not doing enough to  protect children using its services.

In a speech to mark the EC's Data Protection Day, Reding (pictured) revealed she is studying more than 160 responses to proposed changes to data protection law - most of which favoured stronger rules. The Commissioner also believes there must be greater clarity as to how key principles like consent and transparency work in practice.

This would ensure ...

  • That data was safe no matter where the data controller was located.
  • There should be promotion of 'privacy by design'.
  • There would be stronger enforcement.

She told attendees that the basic principles of data protection should cover all areas of European life including police and judicial and dealings with countries outside the EU, with a knowing nod in the direction of the USA.

And she was scathing about body scanners - which this week have been rushed into British airports in a kneejerk response to the Christmas Day pants-bomber debacle. Said Reding: "I am convinced that body scanners have a considerable privacy-invasive potential. Their usefulness is still to be proven. Their impact on health has not yet been fully assessed. Therefore I cannot imagine this privacy-intrusive technique being imposed on us without full consideration of its impact."

Reding then turned her crosswires on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, warning that children's profiles on such sites should be private by default.

She also voiced her concern about behavioural advertising -  notably the British government's laissez-faire response to behavioural-tracker Phorm, in reagrd to which Reding has launched an infringement procedure against the Brown administration.

She said: "For me it is clear that without the prior informed consent of citizens their data cannot be used."

This lady doesn't mark-time. She will report back on 9 February as to the progress made in discussing these issues with the organisations concerned.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: TheRegister.co.uk
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5002

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