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Net Neutrality in danger in the EU

by rz Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 06:44:41 AM EST

Similar to the US telecommunication  companies across  Europe have been lobbying to undermine Net Neutrality.  According to the  NGO  Squaring the Net the European Parliament is moving to do just that:


European Internet users could be blocked from lawful activities by mandatory spyware, in the interests of their security. The right to use free software for internet access would therefore not be assured anymore. The neutrality of the Internet is also directly attacked, as is the principle that technical intermediaries have no obligation to prior surveillance of contents. Other amendments will de facto enable administrative authorities to obligate ISPs to work with content producers and rights-holders' private police, including the sending of intimidating messages, with no judicial or regulatory oversight.

These measure goes further than the French "graduated response" project, which has been subject to widespread opposition, including by the European Parliament on April 10th. That is undoubtedly why those amendments have turned up on early july, and why those drafting them use subtle rhetoric and crossed-references to make the overall text harder to understand (more than 800 amendements on 5 directives were tabled).

"The politicians who engage in these summer manoeuvres dishonour Europe and their mandate. They rely on the fact that nobody watches them a week before Parliamentary holiday, to divert the Telecoms package from its primary objectives of consumer protection. They pave the way for the monitoring and filtering of the Internet by private companies, exceptional courts and orwellian technical measures. It is inconceivable for freedom but also for European economic development. We call on all MEPs to oppose what they have already rejected." said Christophe Espern, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net).

These torpedo amendments are currently subject of a series of secret, back-room negotiations between a handful of MEPs who do not always understand all the implications of these issues. Accomplices of lobbyists who hold the pen are in every political party. Instructions for the plenary vote will be established this week for a vote in IMCO and ITRE committee on Monday, July 7th.

At this stage, citizens must act urgently and en masse, to make their MEPs understand, a year before the elections, the possible consequences of their actions.

I am not sure if the directive in question really is as concerning as Squaring the Net claims, but nonetheless I think it is an important issue. It seams also that several issues concerning Copyright and Intellectual Property have been packaged into this directive.

In this wiki you can find people which should be contacted to let them now want to you think about this directive and that it should be rejected.


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See the discussion in this morning's Salon. In particular, ThtBritGuy says
Looking at the details, this looks like more hysteria:

...

But I'm not convinced yet that this is a serious push to give corporate content bandwidth priority, or that the support exists to make any such push a reality.

...

I'm not seeing suggestions here for institutional government monitoring of all data, or blanket crack-downs on file sharing. If there are proposals to do that, they're not in these amendments.




When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 06:57:24 AM EST
Thanks. I do not follow all open threads, so I missed the fact that you discussed this issue already.
by rz on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 06:59:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the wiki:
Amendements to reject are 3, 4, 5 7.


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 07:01:06 AM EST
Amendment 3
Proposal for a directive - amending act
Recital 3 c (new)
Text proposed by the CommissionAmendment
(3c) Next generation networks have
enormous potential to deliver benefits to consumers across the European Union. It is therefore vital that there is no impediment to sustainable investment in the development of these new networks, while boosting competition and consumer choice.
Or. en

Justification
The challenge of NGNs is to foster investment, in order to create facility-based competition as
much as possible as a means to increase benefits for the consumer.



When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 07:04:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, from another wiki page:
Voting list
Compromise amendments to reject : 3, 4, 5, 7
Detailed analysis
Recital 12c (compromise amendment 4) describes the so-called "preventive" phase of the "graduated response".
The recital states that the "relevant" administrative authorities can issues orders to technical intermediaires imposing them to send warning messages in case of "specific problems".
The length of this recital is exceptional for a European directive. It contains provisions that are substantive and should never be included in a recital. It refers to the new drafting of article 33 of the framework directive (compromise amendment 7).
This article 33 installs the prinicple that administrative authorities in charge of regulating Internet usage encourage intermediaries to co-operate with the sectors having interest in "the protection and promotion of lawful contents". It precises that this co-operation will in particular follow the rules defined in article 21(4a) (compromise amendment 3).
This notion of "personal security" echoes directly amendment 69 from Syed Kamal adopted in the LIBE committee, which authorizes any legal or moral person to process personal data when it is done for security purposes. This amendment aims at the authorisation to process connection data without permission from the user and to enable the technical measures described in amendment 76 from Syed Kamal, also adopted in the LIBE committee. The aim is to make possible for compulsory standardised technical systems to intercept, detect et prevent infringements to IPR, circumventing the judidicial authorities role in authorising or completing these functions.
Article 22(3) (compromise amendment 5) plans for the standards of surveillance and filtering to be defined by National regulatory authorities under control from the European Commission. The procedure defined in this article does not meet standards of democratic control.


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 07:08:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can find none of this in the draft report.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 07:12:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here the lay out several amendments they think are critical.  The language used is bit over the top, but still it seams to me as if they have a point.

However, I   did not check the draft report on it, maybe it is also simply not in there.

by rz on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 07:16:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That wiki is a mess.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 07:24:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Uh huh...
As today (July 1st 21:00), we know that some so-called compromise amendments (this is an usual term in European Parliament, although there is no compromise at all, these amendments are pushed by pro-three-strikes-approach lobbyists) are discussed behind closed doors and will be tabled for July 7th, although they are not published yet.


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 07:25:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are reading it backwards. The amendment:
...  to ensure that the ability of users to access or distribute lawful content or to run lawful applications and services of their choice is not unreasonably restricted.
I.e., this asks for regulation to prevent restriction to the running of lawful applications.

The commentary:

Free Software is not compatible with standards used to try to restrict the run of a « lawful application »
but trying to restrict the running of a "lawful application" is what the amendment wants to prevent.

The amendment says nothing about preventing the use of unlawful software (including modified lawful software), it only mentions that the use of lawful software should not be restricted.

The amendment:

Member States shall ensure, subject to paragraphs 2 and 3, that no mandatory requirements for specific technical features, including, without limitation, for the purpose of detecting,intercepting or preventing infringement of intellectual property rights by users, are imposed on terminal or other electronic communication equipment
Aren't they asking that no such requirements are imposed?

But I don't know. TBG reacted to this particular text by saying it appeared to by hysterical. Not to speak of the fact that it hasn't been tabled for July 7.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 10:22:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Alright. Thanks for all the information. You are obviously right that at the current stage there is no reason to get particularly excited.  
by rz on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 10:59:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
I can find none of this in the draft report.

Indeed.

I'm not sure what they're reading, but it doesn't seem to be the draft.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 07:54:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe the point of this


As today (July 1st 21:00), we know that some so-called compromise amendments (this is an usual term in European Parliament, although there is no compromise at all, these amendments are pushed by pro-three-strikes-approach lobbyists) are discussed behind closed doors and will be tabled for July 7th, although they are not published yet.

is that the amendments are not yet in the report, but will be inserted shortly before the vote next on Monday.

by rz on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 08:05:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can't debate with a maybe.

Laquadrature have posted interpretations of amendments which seem clearly wrong, so I'm not going to worry - yet - that there are further amendments being dicussed behind closed doors.

As and when something more substantial appears we'll have a good reason to get excited, but that doesn't seem to be happening here.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 10:46:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As and when something more substantial appears we'll have a good reason to get excited, but that doesn't seem to be happening here.

I agree. But thanks for all the information you unearthed.

by rz on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 11:00:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nor in the agenda [PDF]

  • Adoption of draft report
  • Deadline for tabling amendments : 13 May 2008, 12.00">in the agenda


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 08:11:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Conclusive Prove: The End of the World is near! Not quite, but via the Kosmopolitan I found this interesting paper on the telecoms package:


This paper considers how imminent changes to European  telecommunications law will permit the monitoring and blocking of websites and peer-to-peer exchanges by ISPs, in  a way that is currently not legally possible. These legal  changes  will also permit ISPs to sanction users by suspending or terminating Internet access. And they are essential in order  for the French `riposte graduee' or `3 strikes' copyright enforcement measures to be implemented.

The changes are a series of hidden amendments related to copyright, and contained in the so-called `Telecoms package'. This paper argues that  these amendments  will  effectively erode  the ISP's legal status of `mere conduit', which currently  protects individual rights and liberties on the Internet. It argues that the `mere conduit' status should be preserved, and  the copyright amendments rejected. The proposed copyright amendments will result in the loss of individual freedom and privacy on the Internet - in breach of fundamental principles of human rights law in Europe.  Ultimately, they  could open the door to wider political or commercial censorship, and this is the real danger of permitting them to get into law. The risk is that this will happen without proper legislative scrutiny or public debate. The European Parliament committees responsible for the Telecoms package vote on July 7th and the Parliament as a whole will vote on September 2nd.

by rz on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 01:21:19 PM EST
Yet another NGO says that the directive would allow/require the monitoring of internet traffic by the providers. The Open Rights Group::


Could Europe be drafting a new law to disconnect suspected filesharers from the internet? MEPs have already signalled their condemnation of this approach. But last-minute amendments to telecommunications legislation could bring the so-called "3 strikes" approach in by the backdoor. If you want your MEP to stick to their guns on 3 strikes, write to them today to voice your concerns.
by rz on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 03:09:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet another website quoting La Quadrature as a source.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 at 05:21:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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