EU ICT Acquis

Information Society related ICT Acquis

European Data Protection Law - Introduction

The activity of Art 29. Working Group

Data protection audit and data protection issues in the telecom sector

Privacy on the Internet

Electronic Procurement Scenarios




IT Security - EU Compliance

How theory transforms into best practice?

eCommerce process, eCommerce research, Notice and Take Down protocol

IPR basics

Copyright protection of software and database

License agreements

Software licence

E-content & e-learinig: From Minerva to Europeana - cultural heritage, Re-use of public sector information (PSI di-rective), eLearning: Access, Standards, IPR, Lisbon Programme objectives, eCompetence, eSkills, Supporting member organizations on the European Marketplace

E-inclusion: Footsteps in the Field of eInclusion, Inforum and the EU on the Field of eInclusion

Software localization

Vision i2020 - Lobbying Strategies for ICT Policy in the next decade

Horizontal Issues, IPR, Funding Programmes, Consumer Acquis
EU basics: History of the European Integration, EU Institutions, EU decision making
The EU institutional framework in R&D and Information Society I, The EU institutional framework in R&D and Information Society II

Telecommunications related ICT Acquis

The EU regulatory framework for electronic communications:
IntroductionCompetition rules, Liberalisation Directive and privatisation, Framework Directive, Authorisation Directive

Spectrum and related aspects:
EU Framework 3 - Spectrum, EU Framework 3 - Spectrum (2)

Relations between operators: The Access Directive

Commercial aspects of telecommunications

Consumer aspects, regulation

What is undertaking?

The Universal Service Directive:
More at:

Established the principles of universal service based on the need to maintain a safety net for all citizens to access basic communications services of a reasonable quality and reliability, and at an affordable price, following the liberalisation of the telecommunications sector in 1998. This could not be ensured by competition law alone.

It guarantees that citizens can make and receive local, national and international calls, faxes and data communications from a fixed location, while also ensuring that a sufficient number of payphones are available in public areas. These services must be made available at a specified quality to all end-users in the territory, regardless of their geographical location.

Under the universal service obligations, citizens must be able to access publicly available telephone services, such as directory enquiries, operator assistance and emergency services. Calls to the ‘112’ European emergency number can be made from any EU country free of charge from any telephone, including public payphones. Each country must also make at least one comprehensive telephone directory of all subscribers available to all end-users.

The European Commission reviews the set of basic communications services every three years. One condition (which is necessary but not sufficient) for a new service to be considered as a “basic communications service” is that it must be considered essential for social inclusion, i.e. it should be used by the vast majority of people/households. 

People with disabilities
In the case of disabled users and people with special needs, the Directive obliges Member States to take suitable measures to guarantee access to, and the affordability of, all publicly available telephone services. Such measures could include making public pay telephones accessible to the disabled and providing public text telephones for deaf or speech-impaired people.

Affordability, tariffs and quality
In order to ensure access to services for people with special social needs or on low incomes, Member States may provide tariff options or packages different from those normally offered to consumers on a commercial basis. Moreover, users should be able to monitor and control their expenditure by benefiting from special facilities such as itemised bills, the possibility to selectively block certain calls, for instance high-priced calls to premium services, means of pre-payment or payments phased over time. However, consumers must support some of the costs of the service. Moreover, while those who do not pay their bills can be protected from immediate disconnection in particular cases (for instance during a dispute over high bills for premium-rate services) they cannot expect to keep a phone line indefinitely. Quality is another key element monitored by national regulatory authorities, which may take measures where deemed necessary.

Financing of the Universal service
Providing a basic set of communications services to all end-users comes at a cost. Therefore, the Universal Service Directive allows providers to be compensated either from public funds or through a cost-sharing arrangement between providers if it is demonstrated that by complying with the universal service obligations they incur a loss or suffer net costs that exceed normal commercial standards.
Member States are free to go beyond the minimum requirements laid down in the Directive, the only stipulation being that any additional obligation cannot be funded by a levy on telecom providers.

The Directive on Privacy and Electronic communications:

Built on earlier EU directives to ensure that a high level of privacy is granted to all communications over public networks regardless of the technology used. Any communication method must guarantee confidentiality.

The misuse or abuse of personal data is of increasing concern to society. In Europe the right of an individual to privacy is enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The principles of the Convention form the basis for the regulatory framework put in place to protect personal data, including EU legislation on data protection. 


Public protection

The Directive sets an enforceable legal framework that guarantees the individual’s right to privacy.  It achieves this by putting in place measures that should be respected by any organisation (including governments and businesses) which handles personal data and during the design and use of data processes.

It covers processing of personal data and the protection of privacy including provisions on:

- the security of networks and services

- the confidentiality of communications

- access to stored data

- processing of traffic and location data

- calling line identification

- public subscriber directories, and

- unsolicited commercial communications.  

The essential criterion which allows data to be stored and processed by an organisation is the effective consent of the individual providing their data.  The Directive covers any data which travel over public networks in Europe and therefore also encompasses any data or services which originate outside the EU. 

In addition, a recent Communication on the retention of data in electronic communications of all forms ensures such organisations do not retain such information for more than a limited time. 


Time and place

In addition to the personal data that forms the content of our communication, our actual use of telecommunications networks produces additional personal data, equivalent to leaving ‘digital footprints’.

So-called traffic data describes communication activity and is necessary for effective service provision but it is also sensitive data which can be used to build a detailed description of a person’s lifestyle and activities. The Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive limits the storage of such information to that required for billing purposes only.  The exceptions to this rule are when the consumer has explicitly consented to the use of this information for marketing or value-added services, or in response to a valid request from police or security services investigating a criminal offence under relevant national legislation.  

Location data may also be generated when using a telecommunication service.  Location data generated in mobile applications is also personal data and could be used as an effective method of surveillance of individuals.  The Directive requires that such data is only retained with the consent of the subscriber and the subscriber should have the possibility to block any tracking facility even if they have subscribed to a location-based service.  Again exceptions can be made for emergency services and law enforcement authorities.

Environment, Health and Safety related ICT Acquis

History of the Environmental EU Legislation

Overview of EU environmental legislation – Part I

Overview of EU environmental legislation - Part II

Renewed EU Sustainable Development Strategy

New approach

Low Voltage Directive

Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Directive

Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive

Occupational Health and Safety

ISO 9001

ISO 14001

Heavy metals


Registration Evaluation Authorisation and Restriction

Regulation of Hazardous Substances Directive 


Electromagnetic fields protection

Electromagnetic fields protection basics and standards

Cellular Radio communication