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reader comments 8 Share this story Amazon has offered to tweak the terms of e-book contracts with publishers in the hope that it will be enough to prevent European Commission competition officials from, well, throwing the book at the online retail giant—which has been accused of potentially breaching antitrust rules.On Tuesday, the commission—which is the executive arm of the European Union—said that it was seeking feedback from interested parties on commitments that have been proposed by Amazon, after the competition wing of the EC opened an investigation into the company in June 2015. Antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager has expressed concerns that Europe's largest distributor of e-books may have violated the rules by making it difficult for smaller rivals to compete due to so-called parity clauses in contracts between Amazon and publishers. Under those clauses, sometimes known as "most-favoured nation" or "MFN," publishers are required to tell Amazon about "more favourable or alternative terms" that are offered to its competitors.
It's claimed that Amazon may have abused its dominant position to elbow out others in the e-book distribution market, by forcing publishers to always offer the firm "any new alternative business models, such as using different distribution methods or release dates, or making available a particular catalogue of e-books." Amazon has submitted the following offer to the commission, which—if approved—would apply for a five-year period to e-book deals throughout the European Economic Area: Not to enforce (i) any clause requiring publishers to offer Amazon similar terms and conditions as those offered to Amazon's competitors or (ii) any clause requiring publishers to inform Amazon about such terms and conditions.

This commitment would cover in particular terms and conditions concerning business models, release date and catalogue of e-books, features of e-books, promotions, agency price, agency commission, and wholesale price.

Amazon would also notify publishers that it would no longer enforce such provisions. To allow publishers to terminate e-book contracts that contain a clause linking discount possibilities for e-books to the retail price of a given e-book on a competing platform (so-called Discount Pool Provision). Publishers would be allowed to terminate the contracts upon 120 days' advance written notice. Not to include, in any new e-book agreement with publishers, any of the clauses mentioned above, including Discount Pool Provisions. The company has long indicated that it would seek a settlement deal with the commission in order to swerve infringement charges and a potential fine of up to 10 percent of its annual turnover.
Interested parties have one month to respond to the commission's call for feedback on the offer. As is standard in such competition cases, Amazon said it would appoint a "trustee" tasked with policing compliance of any such settlement deal with the EU. "We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the European Commission.

As the commission noted, however, we disagree with some of the suggestions in their preliminary assessment," Amazon told Ars, adding: In our view, there is no separate market for the sale of e-books as they compete directly with print books and many other forms of media. We welcome the fierce competition that exists across these forms of media and the many benefits this competition offers customers. The provisions in question helped to deliver great selection and lower prices to customers—the notion that they had the opposite effect is simply wrong. We will continue to cooperate with the commission during this process, and we will continue working to help authors and publishers reach more readers, improve the digital reading experience, and bring our customers the best possible prices and selection. But despite its gripes, Amazon has sought to put the case to bed by seemingly meeting the commission's concerns. This post originated on Ars Technica UK
EU should not be 'too restrictive' with data protection law EU countries must not be too restrictive in how they apply EU data protection laws or risk damaging the development of big data projects, German chancellor Angela Merkel has said. Germany has traditionally been cautious over data collection, but if countries are too restrictive then "big data management will not be possible", Merkel told the 10th IT Summit (link to video in German) in Saarbrücken. Europeans are famous for banning things, Merkel said.

These bans are put in place for good reason, she said, but can be damaging if taken to excess. "In Germany we have the principle of 'data minimisation', but we may have to give a little on that.
Such a principle doesn't seem as appropriate when you are looking at big data," she said. While it is important to protect personal data, it is also important to enable new developments, she said. "Courts will have to be careful not to be too strict if that means limiting opportunities", Merkel said. Munich-based data protection expert Kirsten Wolgast of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said Merkel's comments suggest a change of direction. "Merkel obviously wants to create some space for big data business models, and make it a bit easier to establish.

But we'll have to wait and see whether the data protection authorities or courts take her comments into account," Wolgast said. Berlin data protection commissioner Maja Smoltczyk said this month that nine of the country's federal data protection authorities are to conduct a review of 500 businesses' data transfer arrangements. The review will focus on arrangements the businesses have in place for transferring personal data outside of the European Economic Area (EEA). Copyright © 2016, Out-Law.com Out-Law.com is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons. Sponsored: Customer Identity and Access Management
Bracknell, UK. 29 September 2016 - Computer Products Solutions, a division of Panasonic System Communications Europe (PSCEU) (“Panasonic”), and FusionPipe Software Solutions Inc. (“FusionPipe”), a Vancouver-based developer of authentication & data security solutions for enterprises, today announced a new partnership through which Panasonic will sell and support FusionPipe’s patented QuikID™ authentication solutions to its European customers, resellers and distributors.QuikID™ is patented software, engineered to improve end-user authentication (lock/unlock) for ruggedised PC’s, laptops, tablets and VPN networks.
It eliminates the need for username / password combinations, tokens, smartcards, OTPs (one-time passwords) or USB’s, offering a superior user experience while increasing work force productivity without compromising data and network security. FusionPipe Quick ID Software CF-20 Fusionpipe is one of the latest Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) to become officially certified and approved for use with Toughbook or Toughpad devices, under Panasonic’s new Certified ISV Programme. John Harris, Head of Engineering at Panasonic Computer Products Solutions, said “I have been working with the FusionPipe team since I first met them at Mobile World Congress 2015 to evaluate QuikID™’s technical merits, security provisions and the potential of their authentication technology.
I have not only been impressed with the FusionPipe team and their technology, but also the opportunity that this innovative solution brings to our existing customer base, prospects and distribution channel.” FusionPipe’s CEO & Chairman David Snell said: “We are honoured and excited to have Panasonic become one of our major Value Added Resellers for our ground-breaking authentication technology.

As the titan in the ruggedized device marketplace, their vision, market strategy and growing user base for their popular devices is key to the success of our mutually advantageous business partnership.” Panasonic will sell FusionPipe’s QuikID™ software as part of its ProServices range of offerings within its existing line of distribution channels across the European Economic Area, Switzerland and Turkey . For details of Panasonic Toughbook and Toughpad solutions visit www.toughbook.eu NDS Press contact:Michael BartleyThe Amber Groupmichael@ambergroup.net+44 (0)118 949 7750 About Panasonic System Communications Company Europe (PSCEU)PSCEU is the European branch of Panasonic Systems Communications Company, the global B2B division of Panasonic. PSCEU’s goal is to improve the working lives of business professionals and help their organisations’ efficiency and performance. We help organisations capture, compute and communicate all sorts of information: image, voice, and textual data. Products include PBX telephone switches, document printers, professional cameras, projectors, large visual displays, rugged mobile PCs and fire alarms solutions. With around 400 staff, engineering design expertise, global project management capability and a large European partner network, PSCEU offers unrivalled capability in its markets. PSCEU is made up of four product categories: Communication Solutions, including professional scanners, multifunctional printers, telephony systems and SIP terminal devices. Visual System Solutions, including projectors and professional displays. Panasonic offers the widest range of Visual products, and leads the European projector market with 28% revenue share (Futuresource B2B market tracking, Q1/2014). Professional Camera Solutions, including Broadcast & ProAV products, security, fire alarm systems and industrial medical vision (IMV) technology. Panasonic is one of the top two professional camera vendors in Europe. Computer Product Solutions helps mobile workers improve productivity with its range of Toughbook rugged notebooks, Toughpad business tablets and electronic point of sales (EPOS) systems.

As European market leaders, Panasonic Toughbook had a 66% revenue share of sales of rugged and durable notebooks and Panasonic Toughpad held a 59% revenue share of sales of rugged business tablets in 2015 (VDC Research, March 2016). About FusionPipeFusionPipe Software is a dynamic, rapidly growing technology company whose mission is to replace passwords, smart cards and tokens using smartphones and wearables to enable more convenient and secure end user authentication. We are the leader in world-class authentication and advanced data security solutions for Enterprises. Our patented technology addresses the growing global need for convenient yet secure authentication and identity management.

FusionPipe provides Enterprises with disruptive technology, that is easy to use and implement, increases productivity and lowers the total cost of ownership.

For more information on FusionPipe’s innovative authentication technology solutions, visit: www.fusionpipe.com. Disclaimer: All brand names shown are the registered trademarks of the relevant companies.

All rights reserved.
All working conditions, times and figures quoted are optimum or ideal levels and may differ as a result of individual and local circumstances. Specifications, product availability and price given herein may be changed at any time without prior notice.
Queued up to self-certify Internet giant Google has signed up to the Privacy Shield, a framework designed to facilitate the transfer of personal data between the EU and US by businesses. Data storage and software provider Dropbox has also self-certified under the Privacy Shield.

The companies are the latest major US technology businesses to sign up to the scheme.

Google's certification was registered on 22 September and Dropbox's on 23 September. Microsoft self-certified under the Privacy Shield in August. >Amazon also announced that it was in the process of self-certifying last month, but it appears that it has still to complete that process as its certification is not yet listed. Since 1 August, US businesses have been able to self-certify their compliance with a set of privacy principles that make up part of the Privacy Shield. Data protection law expert Cerys Wyn Davies of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, previously explained that businesses that sign up to the Privacy Shield within the first two months of it becoming operational can do so without first having to update arrangements for sharing data with others. Wyn Davies said, though, that those businesses then only have a limited time in which to put new contracts in place. The European Commission has set out its view that businesses that transfer personal data from the EU to the US in line with the Privacy Shield principles and self-certify under the framework will adhere to EU data protection law requirements regarding the transfer of personal data outside the European Economic Area (EEA). However, Hamburg's data protection authority has said it is considering raising a legal challenge against the European Commission's endorsement of the Privacy Shield. Earlier this summer the Article 29 Working Party, a committee representing national data protection authorities from across the EU, stated that it retains some concern about aspects of the Privacy Shield, including in respect of "mass and indiscriminate collection of personal data" by US authorities as well as on some "commercial aspects" of the framework.
It said it "regrets … the lack of specific rules on automated decisions and of a general right to object" and said it "also remains unclear how the Privacy Shield Principles shall apply to [data] processors". Despite its concerns, however, the Working Party indicated that the watchdogs will not challenge the legitimacy of data transfer arrangements under the new Privacy Shield during the first year of its operation. Copyright © 2016, Out-Law.com Out-Law.com is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.
Carefull what you tell Azure: Redmond has given itself the right to spam your buddies Microsoft has updated its privacy policy and, for the first time, added a section devoted to “Enterprise Products.” The new section is the listed last in Microsoft's policy and covers “those Microsoft products and related offerings that that are offered or designed primarily for use by organizations and developers.” That includes subscription products like “Office 365, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, Microsoft Intune, and Yammer”, which Microsoft classifies as “Online Services”.

The policy also covers “Windows Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio, and System Center”, which Redmond calls “On-Prem Products”. The policy is not the be all and end all of your relationship with Microsoft, as the section is at pains to point out that “Some Enterprise Products have their own, separate privacy statements. In the event of a conflict between a Microsoft privacy statement and the terms of any agreement(s) between a customer and Microsoft, the terms of those agreement(s) will control.” The bolding and italics are Microsoft's work.

Another thing to watch for: the policy covers end-users and resellers. So what's in the policy? Redmond says its Online services collect “all text, sound, video, or image files, and software, that are provided to Microsoft by, or on behalf of, you or your end users through use of the Online Service.” But that data “is used only to provide the customer the Online Services including purposes compatible with providing those services.” “Microsoft will not use Customer Data or derive information from it for any advertising or similar commercial purposes.” But there are also traps for the unwary, such as admins who “include contact information of your colleagues and friends” when establishing their accounts.
If you give up your mates' details, Microsoft will use the data “for the limited purpose of sending them an invitation to use the Online Services”, possibly including “information about you, such as your name and profile photo.” Microsoft will also use Administrator Data “to contact you to provide information about your account, subscriptions, billing, and updates to the Online Services, including information about new features, security or other technical issues.” “We may also contact you regarding third-party inquiries we receive regarding use of the Online Services, as described in your agreement. You will not be able to unsubscribe from these non-promotional communications.” Time for some e-mail filters, perhaps? On-premises products offer fewer potential pitfalls, as Microsoft says its trawling is “generally limited to usage data”.

That means the company may harvest “performance data to learn whether you experience any difficulties” and “device data to learn about your operating environment to improve security features.” And of course you can send crash data to Redmond, if you choose. The new section is one of many changes to the privacy policy, detailed here. Among the interesting changes are: Permission for Cortana to access to your browsing history, so that Microsoft can “collect your Microsoft Edge search queries and full browsing history associated with your user ID to personalize your experience.” Clarification of how “Outlook applications can be integrated with multiple accounts from third-party service providers.” Explicit differentiation between Skype and Skype for Business; Detailed explanation of health data harvesting from Microsoft Band; An “updated … discussion of transferring data from the European Economic Area to specify our intent to adopt the forthcoming EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Principles.” The policy came into effect on Tuesday, August 2nd. ® Sponsored: Global DDoS threat landscape report