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.