European Union

On February 13, 2024, the European Parliament’s Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection and its Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (the “Parliament Committees”) voted overwhelmingly to adopt the EU’s proposed AI Act. This follows a vote to approve the text earlier this month by the Council of Ministers’ Permanent Representatives Committee (“Coreper“). This brings the Act closer to final; the last step in the legislative process is a vote by the full European Parliament, currently scheduled to take place in April 2024.

The compromise text approved by Coreper and the Parliament Committees includes a number of significant changes as compared to earlier drafts. In this blog post, we set out some key takeaways.Continue Reading EU AI Act: Key Takeaways from the Compromise Text

While the EU Directive on Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts prohibits certain clauses in standard (i.e., unilaterally imposed) contracts between businesses and consumers, some recently enacted EU laws restrict the use of certain clauses in standard contracts between businesses (“B2B”).  The Data Act is the latest example of such a law, as it prohibits certain “unfair contractual terms” (“Unfair Clauses”) in standard contracts between businesses relating to the access and use of data.  As such, it has a potentially very wide scope.  Businesses entering into such a contract should therefore ensure that they do not include any clause that could be considered “unfair” because such a clause would not be binding on the other party to the contract. This blog post focuses specifically on the Data Act’s provision on Unfair Clauses.  For more information on the Data Act, see our previous blog post.Continue Reading EU Data Act Regulates Business-to-Business Contracts Relating to Access and Use of Data

From February 17, 2024, the Digital Services Act (“DSA”) will apply to providers of intermediary services (e.g., cloud services, file-sharing services, search engines, social networks and online marketplaces). These entities will be required to comply with a number of obligations, including implementing notice-and-action mechanisms, complying with detailed rules on terms and conditions, and publishing transparency reports on content moderation practices, among others. For more information on the DSA, see our previous blog posts here and here.

As part of its powers conferred under the DSA, the European Commission is empowered to adopt delegated and implementing acts* on certain aspects of implementation and enforcement of the DSA. In 2023, the Commission adopted one delegated act on supervisory fees to be paid by very large online platforms and very large online search engines (“VLOPs” and “VLOSEs” respectively), and one implementing act on procedural matters relating to the Commission’s enforcement powers. The Commission has proposed several other delegated and implementing acts, which we set out below. The consultation period for these draft acts have now passed, and we anticipate that they will be adopted in the coming months.Continue Reading Draft Delegated and Implementing Acts Pursuant to the Digital Services Act

Several EU data protection supervisory authorities (“SAs”) have recently issued guidance on cookies.  On January 11, 2024, the Spanish SA published guidance on cookies used for audience measurement (often referred to as analytics cookies) (available in Spanish only).  On December 20, 2023, the Austrian SA published FAQs  on cookies and data protection (available in German only).  On October 23, 2023, the Belgian SA published a cookie checklist (available in Dutch and French).

The new guidance builds on existing guidance but addresses some new topics which we discuss below.Continue Reading EU Supervisory Authorities Publish New Guidance on Cookies

On December 5, 2023, the Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU issued a declaration to strengthen collaboration with Member States and the European Commission to develop a leading quantum technology ecosystem in Europe.

The declaration acknowledges the revolutionary potential of quantum computing, which uses quantum mechanics principles and quantum bits known as “qubits” to solve complex mathematical problems exponentially faster than classical computers.

The declaration was launched with eight Member State signatories (Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, and Sweden), and invites other Member States to sign. By doing so, they agree to recognize the “strategic importance of quantum technologies for the scientific and industrial competitiveness of the EU” and commit to collaborating to make Europe the “’quantum valley’ of the world, the leading region globally for quantum excellence and innovation.Continue Reading Quantum Computing: Action in the EU and Potential Impacts

On December 9, 2023, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission reached a political agreement on the EU Artificial Intelligence Act (“AI Act”) (see here for the Parliament’s press statement, here for the Council’s statement, and here for the Commission’s statement). Following three days of intense negotiations, during the fifth “trilogue” discussions amongst the EU institutions, negotiators reached an agreement on key topics, including: (i) the scope of the AI Act; (ii) AI systems classified as “high-risk” under the Act; and (iii) law enforcement exemptions.

As described in our previous blog posts on the AI Act (see here, here, and here), the Act will establish a comprehensive and horizontal law governing the development, import, deployment and use of AI systems in the EU. In this blog post, we provide a high-level summary of the main points EU legislators appear to have agreed upon, based on the press releases linked above and a further Q&A published by the Commission. However, the text of the political agreement is not yet publicly available. Further, although a political agreement has been reached, a number of details remain to be finalized in follow-up technical working meetings over the coming weeks.Continue Reading EU Artificial Intelligence Act: Nearing the Finish Line

On October 3, 2023, an overwhelming majority of the European Parliament (“Parliament”) adopted its position on the EU Media Freedom Act (the “Act”), introducing a number of amendments to the text of the Act as proposed by the European Commission (the “Commission”).

The Commission’s proposal for a Regulation establishing a common framework for media services in the internal market (European Media Freedom Act) and amending Directive 2010/13/EU, published on September 16, 2022, aims, inter alia, to safeguard media independence and promote media pluralism across the EU, in addition to establishing specific requirements for Very Large Online Platforms (“VLOPs”) as defined under Regulation (EU) 2022/2065 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 October 2022 on a Single Market For Digital Services and amending Directive 2000/31/EC (the Digital Services Act).

This blog post summarizes some of the key developments resulting from Parliament’s proposed amendments in relation to: (i) requirements for VLOPs when removing content of media service providers from their platforms (Article 17); and (ii) the rights of media service providers (Article 4).Continue Reading European Parliament Adopts its Position on the EU Media Freedom Act

On October 30, 2023, days ahead of government leaders convening in the UK for an international AI Safety Summit, the White House issued an Executive Order (“EO”) outlining an expansive strategy to support the development and deployment of safe and secure AI technologies (for further details on the EO, see our blog here). As readers will be aware, the European Commission released its proposed Regulation Laying Down Harmonized Rules on Artificial Intelligence (the EU “AI Act”) in 2021 (see our blog here). EU lawmakers are currently negotiating changes to the Commission text, with hopes of finalizing the text by the end of this year, although many of its obligations would only begin to apply to regulated entities in 2026 or later.

The EO and the AI Act stand as two important developments shaping the future of global AI governance and regulation. This blog post discusses key similarities and differences between the two.Continue Reading From Washington to Brussels: A Comparative Look at the Biden Administration’s Executive Order and the EU’s AI Act

On October 17, 2023, the European Commission adopted a proposal to review the Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) framework.  The review consists of: (i) a proposal to amend the ADR Directive; (ii) a proposal to repeal the Online Dispute Resolution (“ODR”) Regulation; and (iii) a recommendation addressed to online marketplace and EU trade associations. Continue Reading European Commission Proposes Alternative Dispute Resolution Framework Review