Article 110, European Electronic Communications Code (EECC)
The following provides our briefing on the December 2018 legislation:
Article 110(1) expects Member States to implement an effective PWS by June 2022 that enables competent authorities to send alerts about “imminent or developing major emergencies and disasters” via the national Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to all users of Mobile Telephone Handsets (MTHs) within the geographically defined warning/affected area. The two technologies available today to achieve this are
1. Location-Based SMS (LBSMS), and/or (a hybrid of both)
2. Cell Broadcast (CB).
See also Recitals 293 and 294 below for additional essential detail.
Article 110(2) allows Member States to implement an alternative approach to 110(1) provided the PWS is as effective in terms of:
1. Reach, and
2. Easy for the public in the warning/affected area to receive.
See also Recital 294 below for additional essential detail.
Article 110 - Public Warning System
"110(1). By 21 June 2022, Member States shall ensure that, when public warning systems regarding imminent or developing major emergencies and disasters are in place, public warnings are transmitted by providers of mobile number-based interpersonal communications services to the end-users concerned.
110(2). Notwithstanding paragraph 1, Member States may determine that public warnings be transmitted through publicly available electronic communications services other than those referred to in paragraph 1, and other than broadcasting services, or through a mobile application relying on an internet access service, provided that the effectiveness of the public warning system is equivalent2 in terms of coverage and capacity to reach end-users, including those only temporarily present in the area concerned, taking utmost account of BEREC guidelines. Public warnings shall be easy for end-users to receive.
By 21 June 2020, and after consulting the authorities in charge of PSAPs, BEREC shall publish guidelines on how to assess whether the effectiveness of public warning systems under this paragraph is equivalent to the effectiveness of those under paragraph 1."
Relevant EECC Recitals.
Recital 293 Article 110(1)
“293 Diverging national law has developed in relation to the transmission by electronic communications services of public warnings regarding imminent or developing major emergencies and disasters. In order to approximate law in that area, this Directive should therefore provide that, when public warning systems are in place, public warnings should be transmitted by providers of mobile number-based interpersonal communication services to all(1) end-users concerned. The end-users concerned should be considered to be those who are located in the geographic areas potentially being affected by imminent or developing major emergencies and disasters during the warning period, as determined by the competent authorities.”
Note (1) Under Article 110(1), the PWS should operate across all MNO networks and be accessible to and reach all MTH-users within the geographically defined warning/affected area determined by the relevant “competent authority” (PWS user-authority).
Recital 294 Articles 110(2) and 110(1)
“294 Where the effective reach of all(2) end-users concerned, independently of their place or Member State of residence, is ensured and fulfils the highest level of data security(3), Member States should be able to provide for the transmission of public warnings by publicly available electronic communications services other than mobile number-based interpersonal communications services and other than transmission services used for broadcasting or by mobile application transmitted via internet access services. In order to inform end-users entering a Member State of the existence of such a public warning system, that Member State should ensure that those end-users receive, automatically by means of SMS(4), without undue delay and free of charge(5), easily understandable information on how to receive public warnings, including by means of mobile terminal equipment not enabled for internet access services. Public warnings other than those relying on mobile number-based interpersonal communications services should be transmitted to end-users in an easily receivable manner(6). Where a public warning system relies on an application, it should not require end-users to log in or register with the authorities or the application provider(7). End- users’ location data should be used in accordance with Directive 2002/58/EC(8). The transmission of public warnings should be free of charge for end-users. In its review of the implementation of this Directive, the Commission could also assess whether it is possible in accordance with Union law, and feasible to set up a single Union-wide public warning system(9) in order to alert the public in the event of an imminent or developing disaster or major state of emergency across different Member States. “
Note (2) Under Article 110(2), alternative PWSs that do not send warnings via LBSMS or CB should also be accessible to and reach all the people concerned (equally to citizens and international visitors) to the same levels as those PWSs that do comply with Article 110(1).
Note (3) The PWS needs to fulfil the highest level of data security.
Note (4) Where a Member State deploys an alternative PWS under Article 110(2), they should advise international visitors automatically via SMS to their mobile phones how this PWS operates in easily understandable terms. This could mean that when a visitor first roams on the national networks, the MNO should send her/him automatically an SMS about the PWS in use in the host Member State. Potentially, this can be included in the “Welcome SMS” that also gives advice on the local rates for calls, data usage, etc.
Note (5) Warning messages, however transmitted, should be free of charge to the public.
Note (6) Messages should be easy for the public to receive.
Note (7) Where a public warning system relies on a smartphone application (app), it should not require end-users to log in or register with the authorities or the application provider. Unless the app is native at point of sale on every MTH and SIM card sold in that Member State, it is not clear how the authority or app provider can achieve this.
Note (8) In accordance with EU Directive 2002/58/EC, authorities can lawfully process both the subscriber’s mobile phone number and location data for public alerting “where this is necessary to allow emergency services to carry out their tasks as effectively as possible” (see below).
Extract from the EU Directive 2002/58/EC
(36) Member States may restrict the users' and subscribers' rights to privacy with regard to calling line identification where this is necessary to trace nuisance calls and with regard to calling line identification and location data where this is necessary to allow emergency services to carry out their tasks as effectively as possible. For these purposes, Member States may adopt specific provisions to entitle providers of electronic communications services to provide access to calling line identification and location data without the prior consent of the users or subscribers concerned.”
The EU General Data Protection Regulations also permit the processing of subscriber metadata for public alerting without the MTH-user’s consent, provided the Member State has amended its national data protection/privacy legislation to explain:
· The purposes
· Types of data, and
Note (9) Feasibility of Europe-wide PWS interoperability. This could be unrealistic for many Member States, as their Concept of Operations may not envisage a scenario where a mass population message would be transmitted across borders. Instead, each Member State may want to send its own alert(s) and be accountable for that system and message delivery. That being said, given national MNO networks can often extend their coverage by several kilometres into a neighbouring Member State (and vice versa), MTHs close to the border in one may well receive an alert from another Member State’s PWS whilst roaming temporarily on their national networks. Similarly, severe weather, wildfires and floods can cross national borders. Thus, the PWS in neighbouring Member States will need a degree of compatibility to ensure the alert reaches all the people who are in the warning/affected area. An EU-wide system is unlikely, but there may be demand for regional compatibility.
Recital 295 Role of BEREC to provide “guidelines” on alternative PWSs in consultation with national authorities in charge of Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) / 112 Call-takers.
"295 Member States should be able to determine if proposals for alternative systems, other than through mobile number- based interpersonal communication services, are truly equivalent to such services, taking utmost account of the corresponding BEREC guidelines. Such guidelines should be developed after consulting national authorities in charge of PSAPs in order to ensure that emergency experts have a role in their development and that there is a common understanding between different Member State authorities as to what is needed to ensure full implementation of such public warning systems within the Member States while ensuring that the citizens of the Union are effectively protected while travelling in another Member State.”
Disclaimer: The author has endeavoured to provide a fair, accurate and objective analysis of all relevant factors affecting the EECC. Nonetheless, there may be some minor errors or omissions. Therefore, national project teams should always confirm accuracy with their legal advisors.
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