Seeing growing interest from our clients to stay ahead of market trends and prepare for upcoming legislation changes on a local and EU level, we have compiled a regional TMT newsletter to share relevant sector trends, updates in legislation, know-how, and more with our network.
Below you can find our quarterly TMT newsletter, covering the latest updates about the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, the NIS2 Directive, the European Media Freedom Act and 5G license auctions.
Overall, Latvia has several competitive advantages to become a fintech centre in Europe:
- Resilience and experience of both the market participants and the regulator due to the “financial capital renovation”
- Approachable, efficient and interested regulator
- Ever-growing infrastructure for developing fintech companies and products (e.g., regulatory sandbox and innovation hub)
- Active sector associations like the Fintech Latvia Association and Finance Latvia Association
In 2020, the European Commission proposed two legislative initiatives to upgrade rules governing digital services in the EU: the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA). In November 2022, both regulations entered into force. The rules specified in the DSA primarily concern online intermediaries and platforms. For example, online marketplaces, social networks, content-sharing platforms, app stores, and online travel and accommodation platforms. The DMA includes rules that govern gatekeeper online platforms.
More information about the DSA is available here.
More information about the DMA is available here.
The EU Council has agreed on a general approach to the proposal for a regulation on a European digital identity (eID) framework. As another key part of the EU’s digital transformation, the proposed new framework will amend the 2014 regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (eIDAS regulation).
The EU Council has agreed on a general approach to the proposal for a regulation on the harmonised rules on artificial intelligence, the so-called Artificial Intelligence Act. The proposal lays down a uniform, horizontal legal framework for AI which aims to ensure that AI systems placed on the EU market and used in the European Union, including by non-EU providers, respect Union values and existing laws on fundamental rights.
On 15 December 2022, Presidents of the EU Commission, the European Parliament and the EU Council signed the European Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles. The Declaration presents the EU’s commitment to a secure, safe and sustainable digital transformation that puts people at the centre, in line with EU core values and fundamental rights.
The European Commission launched the process towards the adoption of an adequacy decision for the EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework, which will foster safe trans-Atlantic data flows and address the concerns raised by the Court of Justice of the European Union in its Schrems II decision. EU citizens will benefit from several redress avenues under the decision. Most importantly, European companies would be able to rely on these safeguards in the decision for trans-Atlantic data transfers, also when using other transfer mechanisms, such as standard contractual clauses and binding corporate rules.
The Court ruled that operators of search engines are required to remove online search results if users can prove the information is inaccurate. The Court explained that the person requesting de-referencing of search results must establish the manifest inaccuracy of the information.
The CJEU ruled that the provision according to which information on the beneficial ownership of corporate and other legal entities is accessible in all cases to any member of the general public is invalid. According to the Court, the general public’s access to information on beneficial ownership constitutes a serious interference with the fundamental rights to respect private life and the protection of personal data.
Pursuant to the amendments, the threshold for media companies to disclose the beneficiaries has been lowered from 25% to 5% of controlled shares. Also, television programmes registered in an aggressor country which threatens the territorial integrity, sovereignty or national independence of another country, will not be able to receive a broadcast permit in Latvia. Likewise, permits will not be granted to those programmes whose retransmission in Latvia has been banned in the last five years. Moreover, distribution service providers, when distributing a television programme with a language track that is not in the official language of a member state of the European Union or the European Economic Area, are obliged to primarily provide this programme with a language track in the Latvian language.
On 5 December 2022, the EU Council completed the first revision of the European Media Freedom Act. The proposed European Media Freedom Act is designed to boost transparency of media ownership and safeguard outlets’ independence and pluralism within the sector. The proposal includes for example a new market concentration assessment to ensure media pluralism and a new user right to customise the media offer on devices and interfaces.
The Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania (RTCL) is strengthening its cooperation with Google on the removal of websites that unlawfully publish copyright-protected content from Google’s search results. RTCL will be providing Google its court-approved decisions regarding such websites requesting them to be removed via Google’s established process.
On 10 November 2022, the European Parliament adopted the Directive on measures for a high common level of cybersecurity across the European Union (“NIS2 Directive”). The NIS2 Directive aims to further improve the resilience and incident response capacities of both the public and private sector and the EU as a whole. The NIS 2 Directive in particular includes specific governance requirements and extends the scope of application of the cybersecurity rules. The NIS2 Directive will enter into force 20 days after publication and the Member States will then have 21 months to transpose the Directive into national law.
The MoU includes a strategic plan to promote the awareness of cyber hygiene, privacy and data protection amongst EUIBAs. The plan also aims to promote a joint approach to cybersecurity aspects of data protection, adopt privacy-enhancing technologies, and strengthen the capacities and skills of EUIBAs.
ITU coordinates the global use of the radio spectrum, promotes international cooperation in the field of satellite resources, establishes standards in the field of telecommunications, and contributes to the improvement and development of telecommunication systems worldwide. This achievement is a very important recognition of Lithuania by the international community.
Three telecom companies in Estonia, Elisa Eesti AS, Tele2 Eesti AS and Telia Eesti AS, won one each of three competitive tenders for licenses to provide 5G services. The owners of the licences must achieve at least 50 per cent coverage in each Estonian county within two years and 95 per cent coverage within four years, except for those counties nearest to the Russian border.