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J. Scott Marcus

J. Scott Marcus

I am a versatile public policy expert with a focus on digital services. I deal with topics at the intersection of public policy, technology, economics, and law.

Articles by J. Scott Marcus

Has the European Union squandered its coronavirus vaccination opportunity?

January 6, 2021

The European Union’s purchases of frontrunner coronavirus vaccines are insufficient for the population’s near-term needs. The shortfall could have healthcare consequences and might delay economic reopening. Lessons should be learned for future pandemics.
Worldwide progress on the development on safe, effective vaccines against the coronavirus has been impressively fast. Three vaccines have been approved in the EU, the United Kingdom or the United States (Table 1). Given the lack of effective medication against the virus, the vaccine provides by far the most promising means of getting the pandemic under control.
Approval, however, is only one of many steps that need to be taken. For the vaccines to have the desired public health effects, they need to be procured, distributed to national

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New challenges to transfers of personal data from the EU to the United States

July 20, 2020

The judgment not only immediately invalidates Privacy Shield, but may also have the effect, once the dust has settled, of effectively blocking transfers of personal data to the USA using the popular mechanism of Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs).
On 16 July 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued its judgment in a case that is widely referred as Schrems II (CJEU 2020a and 2020b), and the decision is a bombshell!
The US and the EU are the world’s largest trading partners, and the transfer of personal data constitutes an important component and enabler for that trade. Those transfers are important, not only to US digital firms, but also to EU consumers who use their services, and to many EU and US businesses.  The judgment eliminates or cripples two of the main

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Promoting product longevity

April 9, 2020

How can the EU product safety and compliance framework help promote product durability and tackle planned obsolescence, foster the production of more sustainable products, and achieve more transparent supply chains for consumers?
Product longevity can play a useful role in achieving the Paris Agreement goals – material efficiency is an important contributor to energy efficiency and is also important in its own right. The product safety and compliance instruments available at European level can contribute to these efforts, if wisely applied.

This study was prepared for the European Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO). The study is available on the European Parliament’s webpage (here). Copyright remains with the European Parliament at all times

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Big data versus COVID-19: opportunities and privacy challenges

March 23, 2020

All available resources need to be brought to bear on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. To what extent can digital technology help? What risks are there in using big data to combat COVID-19, and what policies can mitigate any limitations that these risks impose?
Information that could be made available
A great deal of COVID-19-relevant information is potentially available in the digital world.
Users of social networks voluntarily provide extensive personal information, usually including demographics (age, sex) and location;
Users of mobile networks provide information necessary to receiving and paying for the service, and also provide location information.
Consumers who seek health information might voluntarily provide additional information.
Location data from mobile devices has been an

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Study on using millimetre waves bands for the deployment of the 5G ecosystem in the Union

October 17, 2019

The study on using millimetre wave bands for the deployment of the 5G ecosystem in the Union (SMART 2017/0015) was carried out by a team led by IDATE DigiWorld with Plum Consulting and Scott Marcus. By: J. Scott Marcus Date: October 17, 2019 Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy The study on using millimetre wave bands for the deployment of the 5G ecosystem in the Union was carried out by a team led by IDATE DigiWorld with Plum Consulting and Scott Marcus.The objectives of the study were the following:Identify the state of play and the prospects for the use of the mm-waves frequency bands14, for the 5G ecosystem;Clarify the role of the ’26 GHz’ band and the use of the adjacent ’28 GHz’ band for fixed and/or satellite;Contribute to the assessment of opportunities for electronic

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Questions to Sylvie Goulard, Commissioner designate for Internal Market

September 30, 2019

If confirmed. Commissioner-designate Goulard will soon have direct responsibility for three areas within this broader mandate. Firstly, digital economy and society. Secondly, European industry and the single market. And thirdly, the defence industry and space. Because this diverse brief makes it easy to focus on the trees while losing sight of the forest the role must be defined by a clear overarching strategy By: J. Scott Marcus Date: September 30, 2019 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen has disseminated her mission letters to the commissioner-designates.Under the mission letters, your responsibilities need to be understood in the context of the broader charter of a Europe Fit for the Digital Age. Executive Vice

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Liability: When Things Go Wrong in an Increasingly Interconnected and Autonomous World: A European View

June 6, 2019

In the following article, Scott Marcus first considers the sources of potential defects and what might be done to redress them. He then goes on to consider what constitutes a product defect as well as the associated liability in light of recent (and potential future) EU Directives.

The Internet of Things (IoT) potentially offers society not only economic advantage but also gains in product quality and safety. At the same time, IoT (in conjunction with related technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to which we collectively refer as IoT/AI/ML) may open new potential product safety and liability exposures.
What problems might be anticipated? Are potential exposures dealt with adequately by existing legal and policy measures, or do they call for some

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Post-Brexit transfers of personal data: The clock is ticking

November 7, 2018

The UK government would like to keep EU-UK data transfers largely the same following the country’s separation from the EU. But talks have yet to even commence on a future data-sharing relationship, and a landmark European Court of Human Rights ruling in September bodes poorly for the UK’s future status under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.
J. Scott Marcus
Date: November 7, 2018
Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

The UK economy is closely integrated with that of the rest of the EU. One need only consider the number of UK firms with branches in the EU27, and the number of EU27 firms with branches in the UK, to realise that data interchange is of vital economic importance.
Assuming that the UK indeed

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Economic benefits of the Digital Single Market

July 18, 2018

Challenges and opportunities for the EU digital single market
At this event, we looked into the progress made towards achieving the main priorities for strengthening the digital single market, the opportunities and the challenges at EU level.

Speakers: Andrus Ansip, George Christou, Jakub Boratyński, Christian Borggreen, Adina Claici, Maria Demertzis, Roland Doll, Lie Junius, Thomas Kramler, Patrick Legros, J. Scott Marcus, David Martin Ruiz, Eva Maydell, Georgios Petropoulos, Siada El Ramly, Oliver Roethig, Aidan Ryan, André Sapir, Mark Smitham, Maximilian Strotmann, Reinhilde Veugelers, Guntram B. Wolff and Andrew W. Wyckoff
Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy
Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Date: April 23, 2018

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The potential impact of Brexit on ICT policy

June 27, 2018

Testimony before the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE).

On 19 June 2018, J. Scott Marcus testified before the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE).
He gave a general overview of the potential impacts of Brexit and examined the implications for policymaking and regulation. More precisely, the author confirmed that the form of exit matters and will have different implications for existing regulatory frameworks. Also, he discussed the implications on innovation arguing that a complete break between the UK and the EU would have negative impact on the EU27 inareas such as AI, and should be avoided.
A video of the testimony is available here.

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High expectations for 5G confront practical realities

March 14, 2017

The next wave of mobile network innovation is provoking great excitement in the industry. And indeed, there is substantial potential for improvement. However, the exact form of the technology and the appropriate policy support are still far from clear. And we should beware of over-ambitious promises about the impact and uptake of new network technologies.

A version of this piece was originally published on Corriere della Comunicazione.

The next generation of mobile technology, 5G, is being developed along markedly different lines from previous generations. In the past, mobile generations were generally characterised by a core technology (or sometimes by two or more core technologies), and were designed to fulfil the requirements of a fairly small number of mobile voice and data applications. By contrast, 5G is being developed to fulfil the needs of multiple use cases.
Most definitions of 5G assume that it will provide some combination of (1) high speed, (2) low latency, (3) the ability to use high frequencies well above 6 GHz, and (4) the ability to support huge numbers of users (some of which will be machines rather than human users) and applications. Some applications require high bandwidth and low latency; many machine-to-machine applications, by contrast, require only modest bandwidth, but imply the need to support huge numbers of devices.

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How good a shield is Privacy Shield?

February 7, 2017

Privacy Shield was put in place in 2016 to ensure that transfers of personal data from the EU to the US would be in compliance with European Union privacy law, and thus permissible. The institutional framework of Privacy Shield was weak, and depended on the good will of the US administration. Recent actions by the new administration, including the famous executive order forbidding residents from 7 predominantly Muslim countries to enter the US, may have (presumably unintended) effects on Privacy Shield. To preserve the validity of Privacy Shield in European Courts, strong EU-US cooperation and potentially additional agreements may become necessary.

The transfer of personal data among developed nations is of vital commercial importance.
Under the EU Data Protection Directive, transfers of personal data to a third country are permissible only if the third country in question ensures an adequate level of data protection. The European Commission certified the United States to be compliant in its Safe Harbour decision of 2000, thus permitting data transfers.
The decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Schrems case in 2015 invalidated the Safe Harbour framework that had been in effect since 2000. The Privacy Shield measures that were subsequently taken to re-enable data transfers were institutionally weak, and poorly understood by European policymakers.

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New network neutrality rules in Europe: comparisons to those in the U.S.

September 15, 2016

This paper explains the similarities and differences between European and U.S. net neutrality rules.

In November 2015, the European Union enacted new binding rules for network neutrality under Regulation 2015/2120. This was the culmination of a process that began in September 2013, with roots that go back nearly ten years. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission adopted the current incarnation of its Open Internet Order several months earlier, in February 2015.
The new European network neutrality rules are not a carbon copy of those implemented in the FCC’s Open Internet Order of 2015. They reflect very different regulatory, competition policy, and market realities than those in the United States; moreover, they were motivated to a significant degree by different concerns. The rules are similar in most respects; a possibly significant difference, however, is that the European approach is arguably more innovation-friendly to the extent that it does not specifically prohibit paid prioritization. Given the rarity of problematic incidents in Europe, the net effect of the network neutrality provisions of the Regulation is likely to be minimal in any case.
This brief paper is intended to explain the similarities and differences to a North American and global audience.

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Mobile roaming, Brexit, and unintended consequences

June 28, 2016

The intermediate and long-term consequences of the UK “Brexit” referendum of 23 June 2016 are numerous and far-reaching. There has been much discussion of the impact on financial services, but very little to date on the likely implications for telecommunications regulation.

The impacts of Brexit on mobile roaming are by no means large in overall economic terms, but they provide an example of the breadth of ripple effects that can be expected after the UK referendum result, and also of the degree to which the end results are difficult to predict with certainty.
The overall approach to regulation of telecommunications within the UK will not necessarily change much. The Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications (RFEC) that the European Union enacted in 2002 was largely based on procompetitive UK ideas in the first place.
Certain international aspects are, however, likely to change. The most obvious examples are (1) the relationship of the UK and its national regulatory authority (NRA) Ofcom to its European counterparts; (2) the wholesale payments that UK network operators make to their European counterparts for interconnection; and (3) wholesale and retail arrangements between the UK and the European Union. Our focus here is on roaming.

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New EU net neutrality guidelines are a pragmatic next step

June 8, 2016

The new guidelines issued on the implementation of European net neutrality rules by national regulators are sensible and pragmatic.

On Monday 6 June, the Board of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) released their Guidelines on the Implementation by National Regulators of European Net Neutrality Rules. This document, which will now be in public consultation for six weeks, seeks to provide guidance to European National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) as to how to implement a Regulation on network neutrality that was enacted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union in December 2015.
Network neutrality has proven to be a complex and hotly debated issue. It is clear that many consumers have a palpable fear that network operators might restrict their freedom of choice in accessing content of services of their choice, or using devices of their choice; at the same time, actual problematic incidents have been extremely rare, and the NRAs consistently argued that the rules already in place prior to enactment of the new Regulation were more than adequate to deal with current and likely future problems.

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