Tech

POLITICO Pro Morning Tech: Costs of Huawei ban — German e-evidence — Patent wars

POLITICO Pro Morning Tech
View in your browser or listen to audio

By LAURENS CERULUS

With Janosch Delcker, Mark Scott, Annabelle Dickson and Lauren Bishop

SNEAK PEEK

— A powerful telco lobby looked at the costs of restricting Huaweis market access in Europe.

— Interior ministers in Germany open up Pandoras box of cybersecurity debates: encryption.

— New texts on how to negotiate patents in a 5G world are coming out today.

Good morning and welcome to Morning Tech. The worlds leading database of hacked accounts is up for sale. Lets hope the right people buy it. Send tips to [email protected] [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected]

DRIVING THE DAY

HOT DOC — HOW MUCH WOULD IT COST TO RESTRICT HUAWEI: The global telecom lobby association GSMA is circulating a note that puts the cost of banning Huawei and the other Chinese 5G equipment vendor ZTE at €55 billion for Europe. The note, first reported by Reuters and seen by POLITICO, said the cost is largely due to higher input costs because of a lack of competition. It also said it could delay 5G networks roll out by up to 18 months. Europe would also lose out on €15 billion in economic growth associated with 5G applications by 2025, and €45 billion by 2034.

More data: According to GSMAs intelligence unit, 2018 sales in 5G radio equipment gear was roughly between 25 and 30 percent for Ericsson and about the same for Huawei, with Nokia trailing in third place with a little over 20 percent of sales. The rest went to ZTE, Samsung and others.

The big fear operators have about a Huawei ban is two-fold: On the one hand, it would leave the telecom equipment market with little competition, on the other it would mean 4G infrastructure needs replacing too before implementing 5G upgrades — something disputed by Huawei competitor Nokia – to the tune of €30 billion.

What happens next is up to politicians. Countries are weighing their options, and some could go for a compromise solution to allow Huawei into radio networks but gradually phase them out of other parts — a political solution that softens the blow for telecom operators but isnt any consolation to security hawks warning for a dependency on China.

The EU Commission is gathering national review information for a broader telecom security policy. GSMA in February said in a paper seen by POLITICO but never made public that it would launch a global lobby effort to stop bans and tone down restrictions. This paper is part of that effort.

And speaking of countries weighing up their options: Jeremy Wright, Britains culture secretary, told POLITICO that the U.S. Commerce Departments decision in May to add Huawei and 68 affiliates to its so-called entity list was “going to have an influence on whether we think Huawei equipment is good to use or not, regardless of any security concerns.” The full interview here or below.

AGENDA

CYBER AGENCY: The EU Cybersecurity Agency ENISA is hosting a “high-level industry event” to talk about cybersecurity policy in its broad sense, including online harms, internet governance and more.

TELCO REGULATORS: Umbrella organization BEREC gathers in Ghent, Belgium to kick off a plenary meeting. Data protection rules feature on the agendas for both the board of regulators and the management board.

CYBERSECURITY

GERMANY DEBATES BOOSTING ONLINE ACCESS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT: Germanys 16 state interior ministers are kicking off their biannual 3-days meeting in the Northern city of Kiel today, where theyre set to discuss how to better police “digital traces.” In other words, law enforcement access to online communication of German and European citizens. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is attending the conference as a guest, and the Bavarian conservative hardliner isnt coy about the fact that hed like to give authorities greater powers.

Theres no lack of controversy surrounding the meeting:

An open letter, published Tuesday afternoon, stirred waves in the German capital. The document — which was signed by over 100 organizations and individuals including former German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger — warned against plans by Seehofers ministry, which reportedly wants to force chat providers such as WhatsApp to hand over end-to-end encrypted conversations in plain text when ordered by a court: “The proposed reform would abruptly lower the security level of millions of German internet users, create new gateways for foreign intelligence services and internet criminals and massively damage Germanys international reputation as a leading location for a safe and data-protection-savvy digital economy,” the letter said. Here it is (in German).

MACRON: BUY EUROPEAN IF YOU WANT TO BE SAFE. “There is a coherence in Europeans buying European equipment,” French President Emmanuel Macron told Swiss TV station RTS Tuesday. While he was initially talking about Frances Rafale fighter jets, Macron quickly added, unprompted: “I am saying this for all forms of equipment … We need to have some form of European sovereignty, from weapons to 5G, technology … We need to be able to tell citizens that we know how to produce what we need.” He added: “The Chinese are welcome if they want to sell equipment … but for core equipment, that are security sensitive, I want Europeans.”

SOCIAL MEDIA

JUNCKER ON TRUMP ON TWITTER: EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stays off social media to avoid hurtful comments, the Commission president said Tuesday, in one of several personal revelations during an interview with POLITICOs Florian Eder.

His comment, which focused on Twitter, unsurprisingly came as an aside in a discussion about U.S. Donald Trump. “Although he is a specialist of tweets, I am never reading these tweets because I am not following the social networks, because I dont like to see day after day that I am drunk, that I am corrupt, that I am a nobody,” Juncker said.

PATENT WARS

OUT TODAY — HOW TO NEGOTIATE A PATENT: Technology companies face off today over the issue of standard-essential patents patents that cover technologies that have become standards.

What this is about: SEPs holders are typically required to provide access to these patents to their competitors through licensing. Two back-to-back reports today deal with how to negotiate patents fairly and reasonably and outline principles to be used by companies that want to request access from other (usually bigger) companies that hold SEPs. Both reports come from groups belonging to CEN-CENELEC, an umbrella group of associations, companies and authorities coordinating standard-setting work in Europe.

One document sets out “principles and guidance for licensing Standard Essential Patents in 5G and the Internet of Things,” and was drafted under the chairmanship of Kerry Miller, who is also Nokias head of IP regulatory affairs. Miller told Morning Tech that 5G is bringing a bunch of new players to the table. Existing players therefore “have to deal with a lot of new companies that dont have the experience of how to deal with SEPs,” Miller said.

The group includes telco vendors Ericsson, Nokia, Orange and Qualcomm as well as manufacturers like Mitsubishi and Panasonic.

On the other side, another group of companies and players worked on a competing, longer document with guidance on standard essential patents. The most recent draft seen by Morning Tech didnt include a list of signatories, but the final version is expected today. Well have more on the fight between the groups later.

**Dont miss the roadshow in your capital: Pro Intelligence is delivering an exclusive series of executive workshops on the impact of the European elections, what to expect from the new Commission and the political risks ahead. Its a unique opportunity for professionals in EU or government affairs to share predictions and best practices and hear from POLITICOs experts. Check out the program for Brussels, Paris or Berlin. Register here.**

COMPETITION

LA RÉGULATION DE LA TECH, CEST MOI: Sébastien Soriano was once the enfant terrible who offended big telecoms while the European Commission was trying to get them to invest in 5G networks. Now, the head of French telecoms regulator ARCEP is going after Big Tech and is advocating a revamp of EU competition rules to take on the digital giants that he says are turning into “bottlenecks” of the modern economy. “We must acknowledge the failure of European competition law over the last 15 years to create a level playing field in digital markets,” Soriano told POLITICO. Thibault Larger writes about the Frenchmans new quest in his latest Competitive Edge column, for Competition Pros.

DISINFORMATION

REUTERS INSTITUTE STUDY: People worldwide are (slowly) moving away from Facebook as their main source of news, according to a report published today by the Oxford University research body. But before you start celebrating, the social network is being replaced by … WhatsApp and Instagram, particularly in countries across the developing world. That should ring warning bells for anyone looking to tackle so-called “fake news” as some of these (Facebook-owned) platforms offer end-to-end encryption, meaning its impossible to know what exactly is being shared.

North vs. South: This biggest difference can be seen between countries like Brazil, Malaysia and South Africa, where WhatsApp is now a key news-sharing source, and the U.K., Germany or the U.S. where these apps impact for news is significantly smaller.

Key takeaways. News is moving increasingly towards private social networks where large numbers of people (who often dont know each other) can swap legitimate news stories and outright false reports in a few clicks. This shift makes it difficult, if not impossible, to counter false narratives as often these platforms remain off-limits to both news organizations and commissions overseeing elections, meaning fact-checking falsehoods is a non-starter.

GLOBAL TECH CORNER

GOOD READ — DASH TO TECH CASH: China will launch its third stock exchange later this month. The difference? Sci-tech Innovation Board in Shanghai will not require profitability for a group to be listed, Reuters reported. The board is meant to boost the competitiveness of Chinese technology firms internationally, especially in the midst of Huawei suspicions and trade wars, according to Reuters. Because inclusion in the board is so competitive, investment teams are rushing to get a seat at the table, with about 100 tech-focused mutual funds already seeking approval.

WHATSAPP THREATENS TO SUE: In India, “WhatsApp has threatened legal action against those who publicly claim the ability to abuse its messaging platform,” Reuters reported.

BEFORE YOU GO

EU DIGITIZATION STATE OF PLAY: The EuroRead More – Source