European Legal Framework for CNs (v1)

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Executive Summary: 
This deliverable reviews selected relevant existing legislation and case law relevant to Community Networks. The aim is describing the current legal framework, the one in which European CNs have developed. The goal of the deliverable is to understand whether the existing laws allow the prosperity of the current CNs and of new ones, or they impair them. The report includes also some brief guidelines to cope with some hurdles that might arise from the application of civil liability laws and of personal data protection laws. This is the first version of the deliverable, which will be developed in an interactive and incremental manner with the CNs. In that sense, this report will inform WP1 forthcoming work on policy advocacy by CNs to express requirements for more appropriate legislations protecting their interest and not preventing their development. After a first introductory part giving an overview of the legal questions that CNs face, the deliverable concentrates on three main issues: telecommunications policy, civil liability, privacy and personal data protection. As for European telecommunications policy, the report describes in Section 2 the evolution of this policy in the last 30 years and then it illustrates what parts of EU telecommunication are applicable to CNs. Among the issues considered there are also three highly topical ones: spectrum regulation, the so-called “Radio Equipment Directive”, and net neutrality. The report explains in what terms these matters affect CNs and what measures should CNs adopt to respect the legislative framework. The deliverable also gives an account of the future developments in EU telecommunications policy with particular attention to the upcoming novelties that might be going to affect CNs. The following Section 3 of the report focuses on civil liability issues; since there is not European legal framework for civil liability, the deliverable analysis the situation in some European countries. This part also includes a careful analysis of the Mc Fadden case delivered by the Court of Justice of the European Union on September 15, 2016, that has the potential to affect CNs and - more precisely – Wi-Fi networks. The last of the issues, studied in Section 4, is the applicability of the European regulation for privacy and data protection to CNs. This section provides a detailed analysis of the regulation and explains what specific steps should CNs follow to deal with European directives and their national implementation. Section 5 contains conclusions for each of the three main sections. The findings highlight how the architecture of CNs is one of the most important features to cope with legal obligations. Unfortunately, some regulation would require an increase in centralization, while some other would require more decentralization. The deliverable will be circulated among CNs and CNs’ members to obtain feedback on the actual application of laws to their cases. The opinions, facts, visions and questions that CNs will pose will constitute the base on which the project will work to elaborate the next version of this deliverable (D4.2) due to at M24.