Deal puts end to roaming charges in European Union by June 2017
Europe is one step closer to ending mobile phone roaming charges throughout the continent, after the European Parliament agreed on new rules to forbid them once and for all. According to the deal, agreed to last night in the final days of Latvia's European Union Council presidency, roaming charges as a whole in the region will be scrapped in the next two years, with the agreement also -- surprisingly -- including stricter net neutrality rules that would apply across the continent.
EU approves plan for cars to call emergency services at the time of an accident
The European Parliament has voted in favor of new regulations that would require new vehicles to call the emergency services in the event of an emergency. The eCall regulation, due to come into force from April 2018, will force manufacturers to install equipment that will automatically contact the 112 European emergency services line if in-car sensors or safety features are triggered, for example when the airbag deploys.
Vote pressures European Commission to fix Google search dominance issue
The European Parliament has voted in favor of making Google break apart its search business from the rest of the company. With 384 approving the motion to 174 against with 56 abstentions, the Parliament is indicating to member states and the European Commission it wants something done about Google's power in search, with a separation of search services being the preferred option.
Search separation proposal set to be finalized, voted on next week
The European Parliament is looking to break Google apart into multiple sections, according to a draft motion discovered by the Financial Times. The proposal seeks to separate Google's "search engines from other commercial services," in an attempt to curb the power gained from being the most dominant search engine on the continent.
Connected Continent reforms accepted by European Parliament
The European Parliament has voted in favor of reforms to change the way roaming by European carriers is handled, bringing the continent one step closer to eradicating roaming charges. Forming part of a larger "Connected Continent" collection of changes, the vote by law makers also approves new rules to define and protect net neutrality on European connections.
Manufacturers could be forced to use single connector for charging in EU by 2017
The European Parliament has voted to proceed with proposals to require smartphones and mobile devices to use a single common charger. The new draft law was approved by 550 votes to 12 on Thursday, with 8 abstentions by European parliament members (MEPs), with the vote itself bringing the new regulation closer to being implemented in European Union member states in the future.
Manufacturers could be forced to use one standard charger connection
Smartphone manufacturers will need to decide on a single standard battery charger for mobile devices, according to a provisional European law. The European Parliament has created an outline agreement for a single charger that its members will vote upon in March, which could potentially lead to the law being implemented as early as 2017.
Botnet operators face three-year sentences, five for infrastructure attacks
The European Parliament has issued a draft directive that will give harsher punishments to hackers in the future. The directive will ask the 28 member states of the European Union to update their national maximum sentences to at least two years in prison for the illegal infiltration of computer systems, with higher sentences for more serious computer crimes.
Google and members of the European Parliament are opposing the idea of the United Nations changing the way the Internet is regulated. The International Telecommunications Union is holding a conference in Dubai next month to decide on new regulations, and both the search giant and the parliamentary institution are disputing various aspects of the conference.
MEPs vote 478 to 39 against controversial anti-piracy measure
ACTA has been rejected by the European Parliament in a vote today. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement was soundly defeated, with 39 parliament members voting for the agreement, 478 against, and 165 abstentions. The move against the motion practically kills the agreement in its current form, with many critics suggesting it cannot be revived no matter how many amendments are made to it.
New regulations limit how much EU providers can charge
The European Parliament has introduced regulations to cap the amount mobile service providers can charge for calls and data when users are operating their devices outside of their home country. According to the BBC, the caps were passed by a sizable majority and are intended to prevent "bill shock" at the charges incurred by users making calls and using data applications abroad.
ACTA may be rejected outright if Euro advice taken
The US' attempts to push the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) were dealt a possible hit after new European Parliament rapporteur David Martin published (PDF) a recommendation that the representatives for European Union's member states reject the bill. Echoing the same sentiments that led his predecessor to quit in protest, he saw the "vagueness" of the bill as being overreaching. Whatever advantages it would have in clamping down on piracy would be "far outweighed" by curbs on civil rights, Martin said.
Europeans to finally get 4G wireless in 2013
European smartphone users can expect to have access to 4G wireless networks sometime in 2013. The European Parliament has approved the commencement of a 4G roll-out utilizing the 800MHz band that is currently used by certain broadcasters still using analogue prior to the finalization of a digital switchover due at the end of 2012. The 800MHz band has been identified as one of the more effective frequencies for 4G networks as it can send data over longer distances and offers better in door reception.
European Parliament joins fight against SOPA
The European Parliament has become the latest to oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), according to TorrentFreak. The Parliament adopted a resolution that effectively criticizes domain name seizures of "infringing" file sharing websites because they endanger "the integrity of the global Internet and freedom of communication." US authorities have began seizing domain names for websites that are found to encourage copyright infringement.
Would allocate 1200 MHz to mobile data by 2015
Three key European regulatory bodies have reached an agreement for a plan to create bandwidth for LTE-based 4G phone networks. The European Parliament, European Commission and member states in the European Council have all agreed that wireless spectrum must be set aside for the high-speed mobile networks by January 1, 2013. The bandwidth will be made available by auctioning off access the frequencies currently used for analog TV broadcasts.