EU law makers to discuss whether Facebook qualifies as critical infrastructure

The discussion will determine whether social networks must disclose data breaches

European legislators are about to reopen a debate on whether Facebook and Twitter should be subject to the same rules as power grids and payment services for protecting critical IT infrastructure and the data it carries.

The proposed rules require providers of essential energy, transport, banking and healthcare services to protect their communications networks from hacking and intrusion, and to disclose security breaches. "Key Internet enablers" such as e-commerce platforms and search engines might also have to comply with the rules.

Which companies the new law will cover, though, is a focus of upcoming negotiations between the three European Union law-making bodies.

The European Commission, which made the initial draft proposal, wants the law to cover Internet payment gateways, social networks, cloud computing services and app stores as well as search engines and e-commerce platforms.

However, industry lobbyist the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), representing Amazon.com, eBay, Google, Microsoft, PayPal, Facebook and others, told Europe's national telecom ministers last November that the law should focus on protection of truly critical infrastructure such as nuclear power plants and transportation facilities. Services like online gaming and social networks are not crucial and should be excluded from the scope of the law, the CCIA said.

The Council of the EU, the body in which the telecom ministers are gathered, is ready to start negotiations with the European Parliament and the European Commission about the matter -- but, a Council official said Thursday, its members do not agree on which companies the law should cover. The ministers first want the Commission to explain how companies such as social networks and cloud computing services, often based outside the EU, would be affected.

The Parliament approved the proposals in March last year, but held back from requiring companies such as Google, Amazon, eBay or Skype to report security incidents.

The Council wants to get the law approved as soon as possible, but must first reach agreement with the other two institutions. The three will next meet in late April.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentregulationGoogleFacebooklegislationebaypaypaleuropean commissionamazon.comEuropean ParliamentCouncil of the European Union

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?