#TechTop3 – Our top three technology stories of the week

By January 15, 2016UK

By the London Technology Team

B(EE)T deal approved, O3 next?

Today, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) cleared the proposed acquisition of EE by BT.

The news follows the CMA provisionally clearing the deal last year, with the four-person inquiry group deciding the deal wouldn’t see less competition in the wholesale mobile market, an issue the inquiry group was split on in October.

The UK mobile market could undergo further radical change in the coming months, with the European Commission due to report on the proposed merger of O2 and Three in March. However, there is some scepticism as to whether this deal will be approved with Sharon White, Chief Executive of Ofcom highlighting that prices have risen in other markets where the number of mobile network operators has reduced from four to three. The story featured  in Computer Weekly.

Don’t snoop now

Following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, which decided an employer who read their employee’s messages had not violated his rights, bosses have been urged not read their employees’ private messages.

Bodies representing directors and workers, as well as privacy groups, all issued warnings to bosses. The European Trades Union Congress said that the decision should not act as a “green light” to start snooping. Whilst Institute of Directors Director General Simon Walker said: “Employees should not be subject to Stasi-style surveillance at work.”

The case did not introduce any new rules, but acted as a stress test for those that already allowed surveillance by employers. A detailed summary of reactions to the ruling can be found on BBC News.

Netflix cracks down on VPN users

Netflix intends to stop people bypassing licencing laws by preventing subscribers from using Virtual Private Networks designed to make Netflix think they are in another country.

As the rights to show TV programmes and films are negotiated on a country by country basis, the content on Netflix varies depending on where you watch it, resulting in some territories having significantly less to watch. For example Australian Netflix customers only have 10% of the content American subscribers get, so many users down under turn to VPNs or proxy servers to access the US version.

Cross border licencing is a tricky issue and one the European Commission is trying to sort out as part of the Digital Single Market proposals. The company detailed their plans in a blog post here and the story featured in The Daily Telegraph and Wired.