European justice restricts the massive collection of telecom data by member states

Posted on Oct 6, 2020 at 6:24 PMUpdated Oct 6, 2020 6:58 PM

The European Union reaffirms its opposition in principle to mass surveillance. In a long-awaited ruling on Tuesday, the EU Court of Justice confirms that it is illegal for a member state to collect and store the connection data of the population massively and in an undifferentiated manner.

If the situation needed this clarification, it was because several countries did not see it that way. In France, for example, the law requires telecom operators and Internet service providers to keep all technical connection data for one year.

It’s not about the content of the conversations, but about the metadata: who is connecting to what? Who calls who? What day, what time? For how long ? From where? … So many indications which allow to know a lot about a person and his habits and which can be useful in the context of a police investigation or intelligence services, but also for example in the fight led by the Hadopi against the illegal downloading of works protected by copyright.

Deep sea fishing

Only, “These obligations of transmission and general and undifferentiated storage of such data constitute particularly serious interference with the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Charter [des droits fondamentaux de l’Union européenne], write the judges of Luxembourg.

” It is not a surprise. This is the fourth judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union which goes in the same direction ”, specifies Me Romain Perray, associate lawyer at McDermott Will & Emery. As early as 2014, European judges had invalidated the entirety of a 2006 directive which allowed massive collection, on the same basis.

In 2016, in the Tele2 judgment, they ruled that the national texts organizing this same type of data collection were not valid either. And in 2018, they reaffirmed the same principle, which Me Romain Perray sums up as follows: “You are not allowed to go big game fishing. “

Victorious defeat

La Quadrature du Net – one of the associations that brought the case to European justice – nevertheless speaks of a “victorious defeat”. Because, despite the reaffirmed principle, the Court also opens the door to many derogations – for example “In situations where the Member State concerned faces a serious threat to national security which is real and current or foreseeable ”.

For La Quadrature du Net, “If the Court affirms that France can no longer impose this general retention of connection data, it reveals a certain number of important exception regimes. This decision is a defeat in the sense that these exceptions reduce the protection of privacy and will inevitably lead to abuse ”.


TBWA / Paris and the Proximity agency merge

Posted on Oct 5, 2020 at 6:22 PMUpdated Oct 5, 2020, 6:53 PM

Omnicom France, a subsidiary of the world number two in advertising, is going through a turbulent period. After the announcement of the closure of its subsidiary BBDO Paris (and its legendary CLM agency), last week, it is the turn of its second subsidiary TBWA / Paris to carry out its own revolution.

The third French agency behind Publicis Conseil and BETC-Havas announces its merger with the agency Proximity (CRM and digital) – long in the bosom of BBDO – to set up a hybrid structure, combining advertising creation and digital hyper-targeting, on the model now required by advertisers. The whole will bring together 500 employees and 100 million euros in turnover, or 50% of that of the group as a whole.

A tandem at the head of TBWA / Paris

This merger is accompanied by a change in governance. Until now the boss of Proximity, Olivier Rippe takes with Anne Vincent, vice-president of TBWA / Paris, the reins of the Parisian agency, under the authority of Guillaume Pannaud, president of the group. Both are appointed executive vice-presidents.

President of TBWA / Paris since May 2018, Marina Zuber is stepping down to take on other roles within the Omnicom group.

“Two years ago, in June 2018, during the Cannes Lions, I contacted Olivier Rippe, remembers Guillaume Pannaud. I suggested that he join us with his agency Proximity, in order to successfully integrate the culture of audience and data into the culture of ideas and creation. I didn’t just want to juxtapose the two structures but to go through with the concept and achieve a total hybridization. “

From one branch to another

At the time, Olivier Rippe was no stranger. In September 2018, he is preparing to chair Omnicom Precision Marketing Group (OPMG), whose main nugget is Proximity. In addition, he is still co-president of the BBDO Paris group, alongside Valérie Accary, at the head of the legendary CLM BBDO agency. But the CRM and digital subsidiary, which contributes more than 60% to BBDO Paris’ income, is an asset that many players in the sector are eyeing. TBWA is no exception.

“A year ago, we agreed to merge the two entities and since the 1January 2020, TBWA consolidates Proximity in its accounts. We did the reverse of the job and instead of announcing and then ‘doing’ a long time later, we first acted… then announced ”, adds Guillaume Pannaud.

This is how Proximity went from one subsidiary to another… and from BBDO to TBWA. For its greater profit like that of Omnicom since its contribution (via OPMG) was major in the recent gains of the Air France and Peugeot budgets. In the wake of the merger, the group announces the disappearance in France as in other countries of its global digital network DAN (Digital Arts Network): “DAN has been a tremendous accelerator in accomplishing the digitalization of TBWA. But it no longer has any reason to exist because the separation between traditional and digital communication has now been abolished ”, concludes Guillaume Pannaud.


Orange launches Africa’s cheapest smartphone with Google

Posted on Oct 5, 2020 at 6:32 PM

There is no question for Orange to let only the Chinese cut prices and equip the African continent with cheap smartphones. One year after its first 2G and 3G phones intended for the African market, the operator will market a new Sanza Touch, a 4G phone designed with Google. For $ 30, starting this October, customers will get the phone plus a mobile offer that includes calls, texts and internet. What according to Orange constitutes the formula “ the most affordable Of the African market.

In the immediate future, the Sanza Touch will be available in Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast and Madagascar. It will then be offered in other countries in the region. In all, Orange is present in 18 countries in Africa and the Middle East. That is a total of 124 million customers. Better still, the area is the main growth driver for the group.In the first quarter, its turnover in the region increased by 3.8% (against 1.6% in France) and its Ebitdaal (Ebitda after rent). exploded by 7.2%, again below the Hexagon (+ 0.5%).

An equipment rate of only 45%

But Orange’s future in Africa also depends on its ability to place smartphones in the hands of its African customers, as 4G rolls out. 34% of sub-Saharan Africa is now covered with 4G, up from 27% in 2017, according to the GSMA, the mobile industry lobby. And the price of data is going down.

In contrast, the price of smartphones is increasing on the continent. According to the GSMA, an entry-level smartphone still represented more than 68% of average income in 2018 against 58% last year. Consequently, the rate of smartphone equipment is only 45% in Africa, versus 95% in France according to Crédoc.

To facilitate the purchase, the Sanza Touch will embed Payjoy, an application that will allow customers to pay in installments. The smartphone will also offer Orange applications, such as Orange Money. This money transfer service is available in 17 countries in the region and has 54 million customers. By offering this new inexpensive phone, Orange is also offering itself a growth driver for Orange Money.


For lack of releases, the Cineworld cinema chain closes all its theaters in the United Kingdom and the United States

Posted on Oct 5, 2020 at 12:32 PM

“No Time to Die” (“Dying can wait”). The title of the next James Bond seems to have been chosen for the British cinema chain Cineworld, which the postponement of the release of the new opus in the saga forced this Monday to temporarily close its 536 Regal theaters in the United States and its 127 Cineworld theaters. and Picturehouse in the United Kingdom, or 90% of its theaters, the only way in its eyes to ensure its survival.

Sign of the complete fog in which the exhibitors are today plunged, Cineworld gave no indication on the date on which its rooms could reopen, its general manager Mooky Greidinger merely saying that it would be “when the big markets give more. concrete indications on their level of reopening and when the studios would be able to reactivate their pipeline of big releases ”.

Cold studios

The decision, which affects no less than 45,000 employees (30,000 employees directly by the group at the end of 2019, including 5,500 in the United Kingdom, plus the contractors it uses for room cleaning and security), illustrates the current difficulties faced by cinema exhibitors. At the end of the chain of a sector that has suffered greatly since the start of the pandemic, they are counting on the releases of blockbusters to save what can still be in terms of attendance.

But with the new restrictive measures decided by the authorities, the studios are reluctant to get started and prefer to postpone their main releases until milder times. Like the next James Bond, which was initially due to hit British screens on March 31, before being postponed by Metro Goldwyn Mayer to November 12, then finally rescheduled Friday to April 2, 2021. A disappointment all the same. cruelest to theaters, that it was one of the last big productions to still appear on the 2020 calendar.

Capital increase in sight

The news is bad for the group, already weakened by a pre-tax loss of $ 1.6 billion over the first six months of the year, and by a net debt that its appetite for external growth has swelled to 8, 2 billion dollars, against only 467 million in 2017. The group notably bought Regal in the United States for 3.6 billion dollars in 2018. A misfortune never comes alone, it is sued by its rival Cineplex, after withdrawing from a plan to buy the Canadian that could have given birth to the largest theater operator in North America.

Cineworld said Monday “to examine all options to strengthen its liquidity.” He could seek to raise at least 200 to 300 million dollars of new money, in particular by the means of a capital increase which seems more and more inevitable. Its share price plunged 57.4% on the announcement of its decision on Monday morning, before then partially recovering, the remaining decline of 30% in mid-morning.

The group had reopened 561 of its 778 theaters on September 24, hoping that most of the storm was now over. Wrongly. He wrote this weekend to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Culture Minister Oliver Dowden to warn them that in the current situation, the sector was “not viable”.


Video games: Roblox plans an IPO at $ 8 billion

Posted on Oct 2, 2020 at 11:12 AMUpdated Oct 2, 2020, 11:30 AM

It is a heavyweight in video games that could soon take up residence on the stock market. Roblox is currently working with several investment banks on an IPO which could take place at the beginning of next year, understands the agency Reuters which specifies that the operation would value the Californian firm 8 billion dollars. This is double compared to its last fundraising last February.

This round table was then led by the investment fund Andreessen Horowitz and the Chinese tech giant, Tencent, had also participated. For the time being, Roblox has not yet decided between a traditional IPO and a direct listing, like what the firm Palantir, a specialist in Big Data, did on Wall Street this week.

Created in the mid-2000s, Roblox has patiently built a very dense and increasingly popular ecosystem with its so-called “sandbox” game in which the player is immersed in a 3D universe that he can explore at his own pace. as you wish. The title appeals to the creativity of the player who has no specific goal to achieve. Roblox’s main competitor is the game Minecraft, which Microsoft bought for $ 2.5 billion in 2014.

Record revenues in May

With the health crisis and the containment phases imposed around the world in recent months – a period from which much of the video game industry has benefited – Roblox’s popularity has further accelerated.

In May, the title had the most fruitful month in its history on its mobile version, generating $ 102.9 million in revenue, according to Sensor Tower, which estimated that the group had just reached, in parallel, the threshold of 1.5 billion in turnover since its debut on mobile in 2012. Of which 500 million only between December 2019 and May 2020.

Very popular with children, Roblox announced at the end of July that it had crossed for the first time the milestone of 150 million monthly active players and argued that it should be able to pay back $ 250 million to its players. -developers this year against 110 million last year, 70 million in 2018 and 40 million in 2017.

Roblox’s business model – which is available for free – is based on its community of players which itself develops “worlds” to which other users can access and which lead to a slew of microtransactions (to unlock certain bonuses or further customize your avatar).

Transactions on which Roblox charges a commission. Some major brands (Netflix, Disney, etc.) are also increasingly using Roblox virtual “worlds” to promote their products or programs there (very real).


5G: Germany further restricts Huawei’s access

Posted on Oct 2, 2020 at 12:45 PM

Angela Merkel’s government is preparing to present a bill at the end of October that should de facto block the use of Huawei components in the German 5G network. Without formally prohibiting it …

In practice, the text would provide that each component of 5G telecom equipment manufacturers is tested and certified by the German IT security agency, the BSI – equivalent to the French Anssi – and by the intelligence services (BND), including included during software updates.

Administrative obstacles

This bill – which looks like the law on securing mobile networks passed in France in 2019 – would target Huawei in particular, but without saying so.

The duration of these procedures “de facto excludes Huawei because operators will have every interest in turning to other suppliers to save time”, specifies Martin Schallbruch, of the Digital Society Institute, in Berlin and former head of department at the Ministry of inside.

After two years of procrastination, internal discussions within the government are however “not yet completed”, indicates the Ministry of the Economy. At this stage, the procedures envisaged take into account the “global political situation” in which technology suppliers such as Huawei operate, points out the project obtained by the business daily “Handelsblatt”.

The text is a compromise between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, very reluctant towards Huawei, the Ministry of the Economy, more attentive to telecom operators, and the Ministry of the Interior, which remains neutral, Martin analyzes. Schallbruch.

An additional cost of 55 billion

The German operators, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica (under the O2 brand) and Vodafone had nevertheless called on the government for leniency.

They said excluding Huawei from the market would add more than $ 50 billion to the 5G deployment bill in Germany. A cost all the more burdensome as they have already had to spend 6.5 billion to access 5G frequencies.

“Ericsson and Nokia provide our core network, but 50% of our antennas come from Huawei,” Volker Petendorf, spokesperson for Deutsche Telekom, indicated at the end of September. However, the bill relates to “strategic” components, without specifying whether it is the core network or the antennas.

“It is clear that excluding Huawei will make the development of the network much more expensive for operators,” admits Jörn Müller-Quade of the Institute for Theoretical Informatics in Karlsruhe. However, “the risk of computer espionage is real, via backdoors that are difficult to spot. “

Favor Nokia and Ericcson

Less than the risk of eavesdropping, limited by encryption, metadata “makes it possible to identify who is calling whom, how often and, therefore, to know who is negotiating with whom and which sectors are active, for example. “

Behind the political question, the stake is also that of industrial sovereignty. After the ban on Huawei in the United States and the United Kingdom, the closure of the largest European market would place Ericsson and Nokia on the front line for 6G and the next generations of telecoms, underlines Martin Schallbruch.


5G: Cédric O denounces the “tartufferie” of the moratorium voted in Lille

Posted on Oct 11, 2020 at 12:18 PMUpdated Oct 11, 2020 3:53 PM

After the reference to the Amish by Emmanuel Macron, it’s Molière’s turn… Cédric O, Secretary of State for Digital and Telecoms, denounced this Sunday morning a “tartufferie” to qualify the decision of the Lille city council as use a moratorium to suspend any decision relating to the installation of 5G.

It is in a tweet published on Saturday that Martine Aubry defended this position, which goes against the position defended in 2018 by Akim Oural, deputy mayor and in charge of digital and innovation. The northern city would then become one of the pilots of technology in France, but the former minister considered that it is now “urgent to wait”!

The formula had the gift of irritating Cédric O, who strongly condemns this position in an interview with “Parisien”: “This decision is an incomprehensible tartufferie coming from a former minister. To say that there are still uncertainties about the frequencies used for 5G is to lie to the French. “ The Lille city council is taking refuge behind the report that ANSES is due to publish in March 2021 on the dangerousness of the technology. For his part, the Secretary of State said to himself “Confident” on its conclusions while specifying the launch “Additional studies on the 26 Ghz frequency band”, which is only for the next generation of 5G and will not enter service for two to three years.

An opposition that cracks

The Lille city council justifies this decision with the ” doubts “ that it always feeds on its impact on public health, the economic investments that technology represents, while invoking the subject of digital sobriety. This position, followed by Eric Piolle, mayor of Grenoble and fierce opponent to 5G, is however abandoned by other city councilors who had for a time sided with the same camp. This is particularly the case of Anne Hidalgo in Paris who said she did not want a moratorium. Or the mayor of Bordeaux, Pierre Hurmic, who finally favored the holding of a major debate following a stormy city council addressing the issue.

To reassure the most skeptical, Cédric O has announced the establishment of a 5G control plan which will focus on the level of electromagnetic wave emission by telephones as well as by antennas.


Foot: Can Free take advantage of the “Mediapro affair”?

Posted on Oct 17, 2020 at 11:00 a.m.

What if, in the end, Free had understood everything? In the shadow of the conflict between Mediapro and the Professional Football League (LFP), the Iliad subsidiary is discreetly taking its marks, asserting itself as an alternative for football fans.

During the last call for tenders for the rights to Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, the French operator had indeed won one of the prizes put into play by the League, becoming at the same time an official broadcaster of the competition. Since the start of the season, Free has therefore been offering extracts of matches (goals, goalkeeper stops, game actions) via a dedicated application and a channel available on the Freeboxes. All in “almost direct” (in a slight delay of a few seconds, in fact) for all the matches of the French championship.

A first

The format is not really new, since the League had already marketed this type of rights during previous calls for tenders. But these had not really been exploited. “BeIN Sports, the former holder of these rights, had not done much, especially because the group also owned the matches live. Ditto with Sky in the United Kingdom ”, summarizes Pierre Maes, consultant and author of the book“ The business of TV rights ”(FYP Editions).

In fact, the exploitation of these rights at 100% is akin to a first and will be closely scrutinized. “The real potential is uncertain”, tempers the specialist. But “for the League, it is dangerous to sell this product. When you have a broadcaster that puts in so much money for live games, you cherish it. Here, this is not the case “. Especially since the lot involved will have cost barely 50 million euros to Free, a significant amount but far removed from the 780 million paid by Mediapro.

Towards an evolution of uses?

On the side of the French operator, the return on investment is still difficult to assess, since the products offered are free for the moment. But the feedback is positive: according to information from the magazine “Challenges” confirmed by “Les Echos”, the Free Ligue 1 – Uber Eats application already has around 500,000 users.

While Mediapro had a “lukewarm” launch – between 200,000 and 400,000 people, according to sources, would have subscribed – Free therefore seems to be in a favorable position. And to bet on an evolution of uses, while the consumption of football on mobile takes off. Systematically watching the games for 90 minutes could, for example, soon become part of the “old world”.

An essay to transform

It remains to be seen whether the operator will be able to recruit massively thanks to this new offer. Not really a given, according to Pierre Maes: “For people to make subscription decisions, the market must be readable. However, with the RMC Sport and Mediapro episodes, it is not. In this kind of case, consumers do nothing, or turn to piracy. “

The essay therefore needs to be transformed, for an actor whose experience in the exploitation of sports rights is weak. Free is not, however, the only one to have tried the bet: in Belgium, similar rights have been acquired by… a bank, in this case KBC. Objective: boost traffic on its application and attract new customers.

The rules for broadcasting Ligue 1 in France

Apart from the regular broadcasters, the media can only broadcast very short clips of matches. Strict conditions are imposed on them by the Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA), such as a maximum duration (which varies according to the type of competition), the obligation to mention the official broadcaster or the fact of broadcasting the extracts in question in an information program.


Substack, the newsletter platform that attracts more and more American journalists

Posted on Oct 18, 2020 at 12:00 p.m.

She’s a tech journalism star who goes solo. After seven years at “The Verge” including two of offering a free newsletter that has become a “must read” in Silicon Valley, Casey Newtown has decided to quit online media to launch his own paid newsletter on Substack.

The journalist joins a long list of colleagues such as Polina Marinova of “Fortune” and Alex Kantrowitz of “Buzzfeed”. With its site making it easy to publish articles online and send a newsletter with a paid version by e-mail, Substack prides itself on being able to create “ mini media empires ”. The number of subscribers to its various newsletters has grown from 11,000 to 250,000 in two years, and its top ten authors collectively plan to generate $ 7 million in revenue this year. The start-up is paid by taking a 10% commission on subscriptions.


The producer of “Marseille” and the “Bureau des Légendes” takes note of the domination of platforms

Posted on Oct 18, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.

The man who whispered in the ear of platforms … Pascal Breton, the boss of Federation Entertainment, fully embraces the transformation from television to platforms thanks to the emergence of the consumption of on-demand programs by subscription (SVOD ). “Three years ago, platforms represented half of our turnover. Today, they total about two-thirds. In a few years, it will be 80-90% ”, he explains.

If it includes Canal + platforms, widely consumed on demand, or even soon Salto, as well as SVOD services in Germany, Spain or England, Pascal Breton is of course also thinking of American giants, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney +, etc., which are among its main sponsors. The producer-distributor behind “Le Bureau des Légendes” (Canal +), or even “Baby” and “Marianne” (Netflix), has several projects intended for these actors.