Final report published on Spark’s cloud computing SLAs study

The final report for our study on standards terms and performance criteria in service level agreements for cloud computing services (SMART 2013/0039), conducted by Spark Legal Network and Time.lex, has been published. It can be found here on the Digital Agenda website, or alternatively downloaded here from the EU bookstore.

The study was conducted with the participation of our excellent team of legal experts and the final report contains an overview of the legal landscape, rules and policies with respect to Service Level Agreements (SLAs) in each of the EU/EFTA countries. In addition, we provide a model that can be used to create new SLAs for cloud computing, a checklist to assess the adequacy of SLAs, and explanatory comments that clarify which choices were made in the drafting, why, and when a user may wish to choose certain options over others. The checklist and the model SLA provisions along with the explanatory comments can raise awareness among cloud users about the legal specificities of a cloud offer and help them to understand and assess these offers. For further information about the legal framework of cloud computing, the study, or other EU law queries, contact us on info@sparklegalnetwork.eu

 

Spark consortium awarded study on the Energy Efficiency Directive

We are excited to start work on our latest study for the European Commission DG ENER. Together with Ecorys Netherlands we have been selected to review the effectiveness of implementation of the Energy Efficiency Directive Article 6. This requires EU Member States to ensure that central governments purchase only products, services and buildings with a high energy-efficiency performance.

The reasoning behind Article 6 of the Energy Efficiency Directive is to foster procurement of energy efficient solutions – in this way central governments leverage their “market power”, providing a leading buyer for these materials and services, and encouraging innovation in this area. This in turn contributes to the EU energy efficiency targets under the the ten-year ‘Europe 2020’ strategy for smart, sustainable, inclusive growth.

This study provides an interesting opportunity to utilise our expertise in both public procurement and energy law, and we will cooperate with an outstanding network of experts. We look forward to the kick-off!

Spark and Time.lex ePrivacy study completed

Spark and Time.lex have now finalised our study on the ePrivacy Directive for DG Connect. The study “ePrivacy Directive: assessment of transposition, effectiveness and compatibility with proposed Data Protection Regulation” began in May 2014 and included the collection and analysis of data relating to the implementation and operation of the ePrivacy Directive in the EU28, as well as recommendations for future actions in this field.

The study highlighted that national provisions on topics such as cookies, traffic and location data or unsolicited communications, adopted pursuant the ePrivacy Directive, frequently have a different scope of application than the one defined by article 3 of the ePrivacy Directive, which is limited only to providers of publicly available electronic communication services (i.e. traditional telecoms companies). The limitation of the scope of the Directive only to providers of electronic communications services is ambiguous and may give rise to unequal treatment if information society service providers using the internet to provide communication services are generally excluded from its scope. To remedy this situation, we recommend to extend the scope of the ePrivacy Directive in general to also the latter type of services.

The study also considers that the rules on cookies and similar techniques may not have entirely achieved their objectives, given that users receive too many warning messages which they do not properly consider. Therefore, our report recommends maintaining the current opt-in approach to cookies, but limiting it only to situations where there is an interference with users’ privacy. This result may be achieved, for example, by broadening the exceptions to the cookie consent rule (which allows the placing of cookies in the users’ terminal equipment or equivalent web-tracking techniques only with the users’ prior and informed consent).

The study findings will feed into the forthcoming review of the ePrivacy Directive, not before the adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation. See here for further information: http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/eprivacy-directive-assessment-transposition-effectiveness-and-compatibility-proposed-data