With thanks to Maxime Schlee, Bjarke Smith-Meyer and Nicholas Vinocur.
US-POLAND STRIKE 5G AGREEMENT: The FT reports that Warsaw and Washington will announce a deal on 5G cooperation this weekend, when U.S. President Donald Trump visits Poland.
ERICSSON PIVOTS IN 5G STORM: Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson is expanding its manufacturing in Poland, it confirmed to POLITICO ahead of an official announcement Thursday. The company struck a deal with technology manufacturer Flex to boost production in Poland, in an effort to “[expand] its manufacturing capabilities close to our customers in Europe,” a spokesperson said.
The announcement comes on the back of a visit of Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to Stockholm, where the Polish PM meets with his Swedish counterpart Stefan Löfven and also meets Ericsson’s own Head of Market Area Europe Arun Bansal.
A sign of decoupling? “Not that long ago decoupling of globally intertwined tech ecosystems has been seen by many as ‘utterly unrealistic.’ Now this is becoming the reality,” commented Joanna Świątkowska of the Kosciuszko Institute, a Polish think tank that recently published a noted study on 5G security in Europe. She called Ericsson’s decision “a perfect illustration of the process.”
We spoke to Ericsson’s CEO Börje Eckholm earlier this summer in an open-hearted interview in which he voiced despair over a lack of support from European governments and business partners. Indeed, amid all the talk of strategic autonomy, European politicians have rarely publicly supported Europe’s two competitors to China’s Huawei: Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia.
Eckholm underscored how Ericsson was growing its manufacturing based in the United States. “We survived 140 years, we’ll survive another 140. But we may need to do it by being stronger outside Europe than inside it,” he said. Now Ericsson is expanding its footprint in Europe as well.
The politics behind the business: Of course, Ericsson’s move is political as much as it is economic — not least for Poland, which is revamping its security relationship with the U.S. “This can be a sign that Poland is shifting further towards the U.S.-led movement, aimed to enhance the transatlantic partnership in the technological area,” Świątkowska added. U.S. President Donald Trump is scheduled to travel to Poland this weekend.
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SWEDEN INTRODUCES NEW 5G CHECKS: What’s more, the Swedish government filed a proposed law on 5G security to the Council on Legislation, which checks proposals before they are sent to Parliament. The government’s text would introduce a national security check on 5G contracts and services, carried out by the telecom regulator, in which companies would face scrutiny on whether their services and suppliers pose a risk to Sweden’s security. The new checks would come into effect December 1.
BULGARIA’S DPA FINES REVENUE AGENCY: The Bulgarian privacy watchdog announced today it is fining the country’s National Revenue Agency €2.6 million over a data breach reported in July that affected millions of Bulgarians, local media reported. The agency is likely to appeal the decision.
The case stands out among the many privacy fines issued under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. Firstly, it targets a national government agency whereas most other files targeted companies violating consumer privacy. Secondly, the agency suffered the breach not because of its own malign intentions but because a hacker broke into its system and claimed to have stolen 110 databases totaling nearly 21 GB of data including information on five million Bulgarians. The hacker sent the data to media organizations, triggering a national frenzy last month. Here’s ZDNet’s report.
EU BUSINESSES WARNED ABOUT NEW CHINESE ‘CORPORATE CREDIT’ SYSTEM: European businesses operating in China are not sufficiently prepared for China’s soon-to-be-implemented Corporate Social Credit System, a new report by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said.
Business monitoring: “China continues to open its market to international players … but at the same time, the Corporate SCS is emerging in the background to enhance the government’s ability to control companies’ behaviour,” the report read.
The business system resembles the heavily-criticized social credit system for individual Chinese citizens. It will monitor companies’ taxes, data transfers, environmental footprint, pricing and more. This corporate SCS for European businesses have so far remained “largely under the radar,” the European Chamber said.
NEW DATA RULES ROIL ONLINE PAYMENT FIRMS: Online payment companies are worried about new data protection rules on September 14 that could rip up their business models. The rules aren’t the problem, they say. Banks are.
The incoming rules will limit the amount of lucrative data that online payment companies can collect from banks about their customers. But the software that banks need to install for all this to work is too tricky to use.
The fintechs are now appealing to Brussels and national watchdogs for more time to work out their differences with banks and adapt to the new rules. EU regulators say they are monitoring the industry’s concerns and could act in a matter of weeks to push back or ease the deadline. Banks, meanwhile, deny they’re dragging their feet. Bjarke Smith-Meyer has the story here.
ELSEWHERE ON THE WEB
— Huawei plans to forge ahead with the launch of new high-end smartphones in Europe even though it may not be able to offer Google’s official Android operating system. Reuters
— Apple ‘sorry’ that workers listened to Siri voice recordings. BBC
— Insurance to protect against cyberbullying and the sharing of non-consensual sexual images is quickly becoming a new industry. Wired
— U.S. cyberattack hurt Iran’s ability to target oil tankers, officials say. New York Times
— For your calendar: Europol is hosting a conference on “policing in the age of data protection.”
— Headline du jour: “Facebook breached my privacy and all I got was a cup of coffee.” Quartz
Here’s a recap of today’s news, along with Pro articles and alerts from overnight.
Ericsson to ramp up manufacturing in Poland
By Laurens Cerulus | 8/29/19, 11:35 AM CEST
Iceland to launch Facebook probe over audio transcribing
By Laura Kayali, Mark Scott | 8/28/19, 6:34 PM CEST
Banks’ data portals leave online payments scrambling
EU regulators may delay data-protection rule to work out a fintech dispute.
By Bjarke Smith-Meyer | 8/28/19, 6:04 PM CEST
Von der Leyen looks to overhaul Commission power structure
The intention is to give vice presidents more real power.
By Kalina Oroschakoff, Jacopo Barigazzi, Maïa de La Baume | 8/28/19, 3:41 PM CEST