• Changing EU merger threshold could help scrutinize tech concentration, national regulators indicate
    14 December 2018
    Tech mergers that threaten competition could face adequate scrutiny if the European Commission reviewed its threshold for merger probes, according to submissions by several national competition authorities.

    Antitrust enforcers from Austria, Spain and the UK all pointed to their own thresholds, lower than the commission’s, which they said gave them greater scope to catch problematic deals.

    They were responding to a commission feedback-seeking exercise on possible changes to competition rules to keep pace with the digital economy.

    By Nicholas Hirst and Matthew Newman.

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  • EU-Japan data-transfer deal faces implementation delay
    11 December 2018
    The EU’s data-transfer agreement with Japan is likely to miss its December implementation deadline, as the deal is still awaiting input from EU data-protection authorities and approval by national governments, MLex has learned.

    In September, the European Commission started the procedure to adopt the “adequacy decision” approving Japan’s data-protection regime, with the aim to have it finalized by the end of 2018 (see here). But experts say it is likely to be delayed until at least January, with some even hinting at implementation in March, and might require further commitments from the Japanese regulator.

    The deal will be the first time the EU has recognized the adequacy of another jurisdiction’s data-protection framework, and is designed to ease the regulatory burden on businesses transferring information between the two territories.

    By Cynthia Kroet and Sachiko Sakamaki.

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  • Sustainable finance and fintech get boost as EU Commission creates dedicated unit
    14 November 2018
    Sustainable finance and financial technology are getting their own unit in the European Commission, raising the profile of those policies as the EU executive body prepares for its next mandate.

    Martin Spolc, now head of policy for the capital markets union, will take charge of the team for sustainable finance and fintech in January 2019, according to a document seen by MLex.

    The shift comes within a rotation of senior posts at the commission’s Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and CMU — DG Fisma, in Brussels parlance.

    By John Rega.

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  • AI regulation not just about technology, but also ethics and the law, FTC told
    13 November 2018
    The regulation of artificial intelligence systems to prevent illegal or unethical discrimination is possible but far from easy, a procession of academics and business leaders told the Federal Trade Commission Tuesday. Regulation will require a sense of the technology’s limitations, but also ethical considerations.

    Artificial intelligence is already a powerful and widely deployed tool to block fraud, and is helping people be more creative and productive by taking over mundane tasks that computers can do better than people, the FTC heard from companies such as Visa, MasterCard, Google and Adobe as public hearings on regulation of the evolving digital economy continued at Howard University in Washington.

    By Mike Swift.

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  • AggregateIQ withdraws appeal against UK data-freeze order
    31 October 2018
    Facebook is being investigated by South Korea's communications regulator after the company's most recent security breach was found to have exposed the accounts of South Korean users, MLex has learned.

    MLex was told that the Korea Communications Commission, or KCC, has launched a formal investigation after it was informed by Facebook that as many as 35,000 South Korean Facebook accounts may have been compromised during what is known as the “View As” breach.

    Facebook discovered on Sept. 25 that the personal information of nearly 50 million users was exposed after hackers exploited a vulnerability in the “View As” feature on its service, which allows users to see what their profile looks like to other users on the social network.

    By Choi Hyung-jo.

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