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SEEsummary | June 2018

In SEEsummary #19:
Developments in June
Events in June
Upcoming events

Issue no. 19 of the SEEsummary, published on 30 June 2018, by SEEDIG, in collaboration with DiploFoundation and the Geneva Internet Platform. This issue covers Internet governance and digital policy developments and events that occurred in South Eastern Europe and the neighbouring area in June 2018. Contributors: Maja Ćalović, Andrijana Gavrilović, Su Sonia Herring, Olga Kyryliuk, Dajana Mulaj, Dušan Popović, Dušan Stojičević, Oliana Sula, Sorina Teleanu.

Developments in June 2018

Telecommunications infrastructureConvergence | Cybersecurity | Cybercrime | Child safety online | Digital signatures | Access | Capacity developmentDevelopment – otherE-money and virtual currencies | Content policy


Telecommunications infrastructure


BTC to start testing 5G in Slovenia

In Slovenia, telecom company BTC has obtained a licence to use the frequency bands 703-733 MHz, 758-788 MHz and 3410-3800 MHz for testing 5G technology. The licence was granted by the Agency for Communication Networks and Services (AKOS) in the framework of the Slovene 5G initiative, launched in 2017 to support the testing of 5G technology. The acquired frequencies are expected to enable the development of 5G-based pilot projects in areas such as the autonomous vehicles, smart city applications, smart energy networks, and blockchain.

Serbia expects 5G launch by the end of 2018

At a meeting with the Swedish company Ericsson, Serbian Minister of Innovation and Technology Nenad Popović made a statement about plans to introduce 5G technology in the country in 2018. In April 2018, Serbia adopted the Development Strategy for Next Generation Networks, to promote the development of cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G technologies. However, the country’s electronic communications regulatory authority has not yet made available the spectrum resources required for 5G, leaving room to doubts about the feasibility to complete the preparation process by the end of 2018.

VoLTE and LTE-A expand in Bulgaria

Telenor Bulgaria has announced that it would be soon launching Voice over Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) technology, thus enhancing its LTE networks currently available in 45 cities and more than 87 tourist destinations in the country. VoLTE will offer Telenor clients better voice quality in shorter call connection over 4G networks. In another development, telecom operator A1 has extended its LTE Advanced (LTE-A) network to several seaside resorts in Bulgaria, increasing the number of locations covered by its LTE network to over 2000 and the number of locations covered by networks suitable for advanced 4G services to over 700.




5G cross-border corridor to test automated cars closer to reality

Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia have signed a letter of intent on cooperation in the field of connected and automated driving. The three countries have agreed to work together on developing an experimental 5G cross-border corridor linking Thessaloniki – Sofia – Belgrade to allow the testing of innovative mobility technologies, including connected and automated driving. The letter also commits the signatories to analyse the opportunities offered by the deployment of automated and connected vehicles, foster the use of such vehicles and raise public awareness, and collaborate on the development of coordinated policies and regulations for automated driving.

Uber could be facing difficulties in Turkey

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stated Uber would soon stop operating in the country, according to media reports. The president was quoted saying that ‘there is no such thing anymore. We have our own cab system. Our interior ministry gave the orders. Traffic police will tackle this situation and do what is necessary.” Uber operates under a licence named D-2, which can be obtained at a lower price that licences under which taxis operate. Erdoğan has reportedly said that providing a service alternative to taxis through D-2 licenses is ‘not possible’ as per regulations. Uber started operating in Istanbul in 2014.




Cyber incidents in Ukraine decrease, but become more sophisticated

According to the Ukrainian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-UA), the number of cyber incidents in Ukraine has decreased in 2018 compared to the previous year, to a total of around 1000 incidents per month. At the same time, the threats have become more serious (e.g. hacking the system, penetration). Simple cyber incidents (such as attempts to find a password) are recorded automatically hundreds of times per day, and very little is done to address them.

Croatia and Romania among EU countries that sign declaration on cyber rapid response

Croatia and Romania are among the six EU countries that signed the Declaration of intent on cooperation in the field of cyber rapid response teams and mutual assistance in cybersecurity. The project led by Lithuania aims to create cyber rapid response teams to address cyber-attacks under the Permanent Structured Cooperation on defence (PESCO). The cyber response teams will be formed as civil-military capabilities with experts from member states joining on a rotational basis. The teams will assist national authorities to ensure a higher level of cyber resilience and respond to cyber incidents.

Cyprus officially launches national Computer Security Incident Response Team

On 25 June 2108, Cyprus officially opened its Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT), aimed at addressing cyber attacks against critical information infrastructures (CII) and networks in the public and private sector. According to Minister of Transport and Communications Vassiliki Anastasiadou, the CSIRT will be empowered with high-level expertise and infrastructure, making it suitable to lead the efforts focused on tackling cyber-attacks in Cyprus and minimising their impact on the CII.

Romania joining international cyber defence efforts

Romania is set to join the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) in 2019. The announcement was made by the Prime Minister of Romania, Viorica Dăncilă, on a visit to Tallinn on 15 June. The CCDCOE, which currently includes 20 countries, focuses on research, training and exercises in the field of cyber defence. In the framework of the centre, the Tallinn Manual 2.0 was developed, to provide a guide on how international law applies to operations in cyberspace.




Cybercrime on the rise in Armenia, police warns

The cybercrime rate in Armenia has been increasing with 20-25% over the past few years, according to the Anti-cybercrime Department of the General Department for Organised Crime within the country’s police. In 2017, the department uncovered 71 cybercrime cases, out of which 68 led to criminal cases being brought up. Other 108 cases were identified by other departments, with a total of 105 criminal cases initiated. Among the identified cybercrime cases, the most frequent involved bank frauds (including credit card frauds) and data thefts (often involving social media networks).


Child safety online


Campaign to protect children offline and online

Telecom company Telekom Romania and the Children’s Phone association have launched the ‘How are you feeling today’ campaign’ dedicated to protecting children against online and physical abuse. The campaign includes the educational platform, which provides information about abuse, bullying and cyberbullying, as well as details on how to report abuses against children. Also part of the campaign is the mobile app HappyGraff, designed to function as a journal in which children and teenagers can take note of their emotions. The app also provides access to useful advice on how children can manage situations which involve difficult emotional states.


Digital signatures


Increasing use of mobile signatures and e-signatures

According to the Information and Communication Technologies Authority of Turkey (ICTA), 2,7 million e-signatures and 492 000  mobile signature certificates were generated by the end of 2017. ICTA first started releasing data on electronic and mobile signatures in 2011; compared to the figures back then, the 2017 ones show a 752% rise in the use of e-signatures and a 148% rise in the use of mobile ones. A survey titled E-Signature Habits conducted by e-signature company E-GÜVEN found that the costs associated with such signatures decreased by 50% due to savings in delivery services and paper costs. The survey also found that e-signatures are mostly used coupled with e-government services, public projects, and banking transactions.




Vivacom reduces roaming charges for Western Balkans

In Bulgaria, telecom operator Vivacom has launched a new roaming package that allows its customers to use electronic communications services (voice and mobile Internet) at preferential tariffs when travelling in Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia). The package is valid when the networks of certain operators are used in the country of destination: Vodafone in Albania, m: tel (Mobis) for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Monaco Telecom for Kosovo*, T-Mobile for The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Telenor for Montenegro and Serbia.

4G in primary schools

Twenty-five schools in the rural area in Serbia have been connected to a 4G mobile network, as part of the ‘4G Classrooms’ programme initiated by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, in cooperation with telecom operator Vip mobile. The programme aims to contribute to the modernisation and digitalisation of the education system and the introduction of new technologies in the school curricula.


Capacity development


Students graduate educational programme launched by telecom operator

This month, 40 Romanian students from the Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and Information Technology – Bucharest Polytechnic University celebrated their graduation of the Orange Educational Programme. The initiative, launched by telecom operator Orange Romania back in 1997, aims to complement the academic curricula by offering students more opportunities for professional development. The programme focuses on cybersecurity, development projects for 5G technology, and next generation emergency services.

Cooperation to improve digital literacy

In Serbia, the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications and the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade concluded a Protocol of cooperation in improving digital literacy. The two institutions intend to collaborate on developing digital literacy through undertaking a pilot project at the faculty and creating a strategy for digital skills development nationally.


Development – other


European Commission launches Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans

The European Commission launched the Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans at the Digital Assembly in Sofia, Bulgaria, with the aim to support the region’s digital development efforts. Within the framework of this agenda, the Commission and Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia commit to invest in broadband connectivity, increase cybersecurity, trust and digitalisation of industry, strengthen the digital economy and society, and boost research and innovation. The implementation of the Agenda will be monitored by an  EU–Western Balkan ICT Dialogue initiative, created by the Commission in collaboration with the Western Balkans partners.


E-money and virtual currencies


Regulation for blockchain businesses and smart contracts

After legalising cryptocurrency transactions, Belarus has taken another step this month in the regulation of the blockchain technology. Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarusian president, issued a Presidential decree which regulates businesses based on the blockchain technology and legitimises smart contracts at the state level. The new law also exempts technology companies from certain taxes and allows better cooperation with foreign banks.


Content policy


Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2018

Several countries in South Eastern Europe and the neighbouring area (Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Romania and Turkey) were included in the findings of this year’s Reuters Digital News Report, which focuses on the issues of trust and misinformation, new online business models, the impact of changing Facebook algorithms, and the rise of new platforms and messaging apps in 37 countries around the world. The report shows that the use of social media for news has started to fall after years of continuous growth, while the use of instant messaging is increasing. More than 50% of the survey’s 74 000 respondents expressed concern over fake news, which, according to researchers, has led to calls for content and platform regulation, but also to a rise in the number of consumers willing to pay for quality journalism.

Online content blocking under discussion in the Ukrainian Parliament

In Ukraine, a draft law on ‘counteracting threats to national security in the information sphere’ is on the agenda on the country’s parliament. The draft law was introduced in the parliament last July and it proposes amendments to several existing laws. The proposal would broaden the concept of technological terrorism, to cover acts conducted via the Internet and other global networks for data transmissions with aims such as violating public order, intimidating the population, provoking armed conflict, aggravating international relations, or ‘attracting public attention to political, religious or any other views of the perpetrator (terrorist)’. It would also allow for temporary (up to 48 hours) blocking access to online content without a court order, at the request of a prosecutor, investigator, or the National Council for Security and Defense. A court order would still be required after a temporary blocking is put in place. Human rights groups have raised concerns about the provision, worried about possible abuses from authorities in interpreting the definition of technological terrorism and in imposing temporary blocking measures.


Telecommunications infrastructure 


SINOG 5.0 | 7–8 June 2018 | Ljubljana, Slovenia

The fifth annual meeting of the Slovenian Network Operators Group (SINOG) focused on network management-related topics such as administration and configuration of network infrastructures and services, wireless point design, network and service automation, and access to optical speeds. Other issues tackled during the discussions included Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) and various aspects of its implementation, the IoT, and the blockchain technology.

RIPE SEE 7 | 18–19 June 2018 | Timișoara, Romania

RIPE Network Coordination Center’s seventh regional meeting in South East Europe brought together local Internet registries and network operators to discuss and exchange experiences on Internet infrastructure-related issues. Participants presented the latest developments in the Internet industry, with a focus on issues such as security in IPv6, Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) monitoring, and news from Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) across the region. The meeting also touched upon IoT, peering, and broadband issues.




CyberCon | 15–16 June 2018 | Sofia, Bulgaria

The Cybersecurity, Smart Cities and Critical Infrastructure Conference was aimed at fostering interactions between private and public actors and experts in cybersecurity, critical infrastructure management, e-health, and smart cities solutions. During the two-day conference, organised by the European Cybersecurity Institute and partners, participants attended discussions on various cybersecurity issues, including data security, privacy, cybersecurity of smart cities, and more.

Security BSides Athens | 23 June 2018 | Athens, Greece

The community-driven conference brought together researchers, experts, and information security enthusiasts from Greece, Cyprus, and other European countries. Discussion topics included ethical hacking, IoT security, computer forensics security standards, and maritime cybersecurity. The implications of having a career in cybersecurity were also addressed, and a keynote was delivered on cybersecurity activities in the context of NATO.


Development – other


iCEE.fest | 14–15 June 2018 | Bucharest, Romania

This year’s Interactive Central and Eastern Europe Festival brought together over 3000 participants and focused on recent trends in digital technologies. The programme included keynotes, debates and other sessions built around the following topics: disruption by technology, virtual/augmented reality and creativity, advertising, content, e-commerce, fintech, blockchain and crypto, e-health, technology versus democracy, and startups and investments.

Cyprus in the Digital Agenda | 21 June 2018 | Nicosia, Cyprus

The conference aimed to explore recent developments in the digital world and their implementation in Cyprus. A debate on fake news vs quality journalism looked at issues such as the political implications of online misinformation, EU approaches to tackle the phenomenon, and the role of traditional media. Other discussions revolved around the convergence between the electricity, transport and digital technology fields, autonomous driving, and big data management.

Digital Assembly 2018 | 25–26 June 2018 | Sofia, Bulgaria

Co-organised by the European Commission and the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, the forum gathered more than 1 000 stakeholders to debate the EU digital policy agenda and the implications of recent technological developments. The assembly covered topics such as digital innovation, the digital revolution in healthcare, disinformation, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), IoT and digital skills. The event also marked the launch of the Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans.

Webit.Festival Europe 2018 | 25–27 June 2018 | Sofia, Bulgaria

The festival was organised as part of the EU Digital and Innovations Week and held under the patronage of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, and the Mayor of Sofia. Several separate events focused on different technology and digital policy issues: e-money, blockchain, smart cities, digital entertainment and media, among others. Participants included EU policymakers, innovation leaders, entrepreneurs, academics, and other stakeholders.




Intellectual Property and Internet Conference | 11 June 2018 | Belgrade, Serbia

At its fourth edition, the conference was hosted by the University of Belgrade’s School of Law and the Serbian National Domain Registry (RNIDS). Topics addressed included the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) for domain names registered with the infringement of intellectual property rights, the use of blockchain technology in copyright law, copyright aspects in the digitisation of cultural heritage, and the responsibility of Internet intermediaries for trademark infringements.


IGF initiatives


EuroDIG 2018 | 5–6 June 2018 | Tbilisi, Georgia

Under the theme ‘Innovative strategies for our digital future’, the 11th European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) brought together over 400 participants from Europe and beyond to discuss digital policy issues from a European perspective. Plenaries, workshops, educational sessions, and flash sessions focused on topics such as blockchain, AI, IoT, copyright reform, digital skills and inclusion, and the digital economy. The discussions were reflected in key messages and session reports.


Upcoming events


July & August 2018


GRNOG | 6 July 2018 | Athens, Greece

MESCON Cyber Security Conference | 17–18 July 2018 | Istanbul, Turkey

3rd IEEE Cyber Science and Technology Congress | 12–15 August 2018 | Athens, Greece



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Editorial note

The SEEsummary is produced on a best effort basis, by our team of volunteer editors. Each month, the editors scan local and regional media, as well as websites of public institutions and other organisations, and compile what they find to be some of the most significant digital policy developments.

The SEEsummary does not claim to be a comprehensive source of information. Despite our efforts, we may miss some things happening across the region. To help us cover as many significant developments as possible, we invite you to share with us news from your countries.

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