Press review selection
Jeremie from La Quadrature du Net writes, "Yesterday the 2014-2019 defense bill passed first reading in the French National Assembly. It marks a strong shift towards total online surveillance. If passed, the bill will not only allow live monitoring of everyone's personal and private data but also do so without judicial oversight, as the surveillance will be enabled through administrative request. The bill also turns permanent measures that were only temporary."
[…] On 15 November the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Peter Hustinx published his Opinion on Neelie Kroes', vice-president of the European Commission and in charge of the Digital Agenda, proposals for harmonizing electronic communications services across Europe. He welcomed the inclusion of a net neutrality principle, but warned that the actual text is devoid of substance because of the almost unlimited right of providers to manage internet traffic. […]
Under Kroes' proposals, and in order to manage their networks, providers will be able to monitor users' internet usage "ranging," explains the European Digital Rights Group (EDRI), "from visits of websites to the receiving of e-mails"; and even, it adds, legitimize "the slowing down of bit rates or the restriction of access to allegedly illegal services and content." Not only is this the clear opposite of net neutrality, says EDRI, it would further be a breach of both the Human Rights Declaration and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. […]
Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for La Quadrature, is more blunt. “If the EU Parliament lets Neelie Kroes' text go through without amending its Net neutrality provisions, the only beneficiaries will be the dominant telecom operators, at the expense of freedom of communication online and innovation in the digital economy. From now and until the final vote in plenary sitting, a few months before the European elections, citizens must contact Members of the ITRE committee and all concerned Members of the European Parliament and urge them to guarantee a true and unconditional Net neutrality, only way to guarantee our freedom of communication online.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sent a letter to the National Security Agency (NSA) Director Keith Alexander and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman asking whether the NSA was spying on the communications of organisations and individuals working for the public interest in U.S. trade policy.
"Since negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) [...] and the [...] Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership [...], are held in secret, it's even more unsettling that our private communications may have been intercepted and handed over to an executive agency that has been enthusiastic about allowing corporations to dictate its core policy agenda. We and our colleagues co-operate internationally to fight against opaque policy-making processes to ensure that all Internet users' rights are respected and upheld in these powerful bodies of international law."
The "Digital rights organization, La Quadrature du Net, published a leaked document this summer that gave us a glimpse of negotiators' plan to regulate the Internet and undermine users' right to privacy. It revealed how EU delegates intended to set new rules around liability for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and the transfer and processing of users’ personal online data. There is no reason why such policies effecting users' right to privacy should be decided these secretive venues, which is why La Quadrature du Net has called for documents related to the TTIP negotiations be released to the public immediately."
Microsoft, Google and Facebook managers denied giving the NSA or any government in the world direct or unfettered access to their servers, at the ninth NSA inquiry hearing on the mass surveillance of EU citizens held at Parliament on Monday. [...]
As concerns over the Internet security are at their highest, in an interview to Voice of Russia, Jeremie Zimmermann,founder and spokesperson for La Quadrature du Net, a citizen advocacy group defending fundamental freedoms online, talked about how tech companies handle personal data and how they cooperate with surveillance schemes. [...]
The sad truth is that we cannot trust those US companies anymore and that we cannot trust closedown software and hardware to protect our freedoms and our communications online. Only free [libre] software that users can understand, that users can share, that users can modify – only free [libre] software gives us the potentiality to be able to control the machine and, therefore, restore trust and gain control over our personal communications back. This is the major democratic issue.
"As concerns over the Internet security are at their highest, in an interview to Voice of Russia, Jeremie Zimmermann, founder and spokesperson for La Quadrature du Net, a citizen advocacy group defending fundamental freedoms online, talked about how tech companies handle personal data and how they cooperate with surveillance schemes."
In response to a question on whether efforts by Tech companies to be more transparent about their data sharing habits, he said:
"This is crisis management communication [by Tech companies – Microsoft, Google, Facebook] mostly, because their customers are losing trust in their products. [...]
The reality is that we cannot trust them anymore, because a whole bunch of US laws forces them into cooperating with mass surveillance and forces them in the way where they can never reveal the truth about it."
It seems that every day brings new claims and counter-claims about who's spying on whom. Governments are trying to limit the damage, but that damage is not limited to governments, expert Jeremie Zimmermann told DW. [...]
If you know you're being surveilled all the time you won't speak the same way, you won't say what you know about your boss, you won't say what you think about your government because you fear this may be used against you. The same way you might not go to the meeting of a new political party because you know you could be blackmailed or blacklisted. The same way you won't call your doctor for an abortion or won't read information about HIV or some disease. Privacy is the key to enable all the fundamental freedoms that are themselves at the heart of democratic societies. [...]
We must have a public debate about the role of intelligence and we must create policies that would allow either selected members of the legislative or executive to control these institutions and find a way to get accountability for what they do. It is understood that a secret service must have secrets, but maybe after some time these secrets could be lifted and people who broke the law could be sued. I think that policies can be devised here to take back control of these institutions. They are not bound to be completely out of control here. [...]
So my dear hope is that people will understand the true nature of technology and how important this is as a crucial question: Will we control the machines or will the machines [control] us?
Brazil is urging a plan to introduce local data storage for Internet giants like Facebook and Google in order to keep the information they get from Brazilian users safe –as part of a complex of measures to oppose US spying. [...]
Jeremie Zimmermann, co-founder of the French digital rights advocacy group La Quadrature du Net, told RT such a project is about taking back control of both vital digital infrastructure and fundamental freedoms. [...]
Zimmermann said more control of communication infrastructure is an assertion of “a kind of digital sovereignty that countries should be free to apply” for the common good. [...]
Even with Europe in an uproar over intrusive United States surveillance, its leaders are looking for ways to slow down legislation aimed at preventing violations of privacy at home. [...]
“Everyone is very eager to protect privacy in their public statements,” said Miriam Artino, a policy analyst at La Quadrature du Net, a French organization that promotes digital rights and liberties. “But we can see that government leaders are not very enthusiastic and are looking for ways to delay the process.” [...]
Yet the legislation has been under consideration for two years and, caught by the crosswinds of rival national interests and corporate lobbying, the process has shown how hard it is for Europe to agree on protecting privacy, something nearly everyone supports in principle. [...]
A question from Tom via Twitter: “Do you think our privacy and more generally our fundamental rights as EU citizens are at risk with growing mass surveillance by the US and other governments?”
Answer from Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson and co-founder of Quadrature du Net, a non-profit association defending the rights and freedoms of citizens on the Internet :
Part of the answer, in order to try to protect our privacy, obviously implies policies and the establishment of legislation protecting citizens. But that is not all. We also need to ask the question of what relationship we have with technology today.
Who has physical access to our data and to our personal communications? This is a fundamental question. Because of this freedom, of this fundamental right to privacy protection arise other freedoms. For example, if you know you are being watched constantly, you are not going to express the same way, you can not tell what you know about your boss or your government, you will self-censor.
One of the most important pieces of legislation wending its way through the European Parliament concerns data protection. Because of its potential impact on major US companies like Google and Facebook, this has become one of the most fought-over proposals in the history of the EU, with lobbyists apparently writing large chunks of suggested amendments more favorable to online services. And all of that was before Snowden’s revelations about NSA spying in the EU made data protection an even more politically-sensitive area. [...]
Perhaps the biggest loophole concerns the concept of ” legitimate interest” (pdf), which allows a company to use personal data provided it meets “the reasonable expectations of the data subject based on his or her relationship with the [company]“. Of course, that is so vague as to be utterly useless — what does “reasonable expectations” mean in this context? As the draft legislation stands, companies are essentially being given a free pass to do pretty much whatever like with the personal data they gather, despite all the other supposed safeguards. And there’s another serious issue, as noted by La Quadrature du Net:
The Members of the LIBE Committee also made the very disturbing choice of accept the secret tripartite negotiations requested by the rapporteur Jan Philipp Albrecht. The text will now be modified behind closed doors, between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council (ministers from the Member States). The latter could use untransparent negotiations to annihilate all the positive provisions of this Regulation, leading to a weak and dangerous final version of this legislation. [...]
One of the most important pieces of legislation wending its way through the European Parliament concerns data protection. Because of its potential impact on major US companies like Google and Facebook, this has become one of the most fought-over proposals in the history of the EU, with lobbyists apparently writing large chunks of suggested amendments more favorable to online services. [...]
Where before the concerted lobbying campaign seemed to have managed to water down the proposals, now the Snowden Effect was in evidence, as the committee beefed up privacy protection for the public. [...]
Perhaps the biggest loophole concerns the concept of " legitimate interest" (pdf), which allows a company to use personal data provided it meets "the reasonable expectations of the data subject based on his or her relationship with the [company]". [...] And there's another serious issue, as noted by La Quadrature du Net:
The Members of the LIBE Committee also made the very disturbing choice of accept the secret tripartite negotiations requested by the rapporteur Jan Philipp Albrecht. The text will now be modified behind closed doors, between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council (ministers from the Member States). The latter could use untransparent negotiations to annihilate all the positive provisions of this Regulation, leading to a weak and dangerous final version of this legislation. [...]
[WashingtonInternetDaily] Proposed New Data Protection Rules Said Bad for Internet Business, Potentially Good for Users
A compromise package for reform of Europe's data protection rules set for a vote this week in the European Parliament Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee could either boost safeguards for online users or threaten the very existence of some Internet business models, stakeholders said. […]
The compromise package to be adopted contains many good parts, beefed up from the EC's initial proposal, along with “vast and dangerous loopholes,” said La Quadrature du Net spokesman Jérémie Zimmermann. He also slammed the “outrageously vague notion” of “general interest” as an exception to regulation and the provision on profiling, saying such loopholes could make the entire measure ineffective.
After the vote, there will be chances for the European Parliament to fix the text, but also to neutralize it during negotiations with EU governments during the “trilogues” aimed at reaching agreement among the EU institutions before the elections, Zimmermann told us. “It is the beginning of such an arm wrestle,” he said. “We'll see if the Parliament can effectively stand for the protection of citizens, [especially] in the context of massive violation of their fundamental freedoms” by U.S. companies and intelligence agencies, he said. La Quadrature Monday urged LIBE rapporteur Albrecht not to seek a negotiating mandate for first-reading agreement via trilogue, saying it will mean that talks take place behind closed doors, with no chance for open debate.
Critics have said new European data-protection laws have loopholes that could render the legislation useless. The rules are the first attempt to create strong data-protection laws for Europe's 500 million citizens. They include a clause to strengthen online privacy in the wake of whistleblower Edward Snowden's allegations about US spying. […]
But French consumer group La Quadrature du Net was disappointed with the draft law. "There are some big loopholes that could void the effectiveness of the whole legislation," said Jeremie Zimmermann, from the organisation. He said vague wording such as "legitimate interest" could allow businesses to "exonerate themselves from the legislation". "A business could say that it is a legitimate interest to collect data in order to provide a better service for consumers or to enable it to make money," he said.
He was also surprised that the rules around data profiling were not tougher. "Machines that crunch data are used to make important decisions such as who can get a job, who can get a loan, who can get insurance," he said. "This legislation allows firms to continue to collect and process more data and profile individuals." […]
Now begins a long process during which the approved legislation will be debated among between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council.
The European Parliament’s civil liberties committee voted Monday night to allow profiling of “pseudonymous” data, but digital rights groups say that safeguards to protect data are not sufficient.
The committee vote was on the latest amendments to the proposed E.U. Data Protection Regulation, which was put forward by Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding in 2012 and has provoked some of the heaviest lobbying seen in Brussels in years. The text voted on Monday had been through almost 4,000 amendments.
“The combination of Articles 6 and 20 amounts to a badly drafted license to profile without consent,” warned EDRi director Joe McNamee. […]
This “legitimate interest” exception appears in Article 6, which reads: “Processing of personal data shall be lawful if processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller, and which meet the reasonable expectations of the data subject based on his or her relationship with the controller.” This could turn ‘legitimate interest’ into the main legal basis for processing,” said Jeremie Zimmermann of La Quadrature du Net in a statement.
“A lot of other compromise amendments reached by members of the different political groups are actually good. For instance, those providing that consent must be explicit, that data must be fairly processed or that citizens must keep them under their control; but these good compromise amendments could be almost useless if the compromise amendments made on Article 6 and 20 are adopted,” Zimmermann added. […]
After 18 months of intense negotiations, MEPs spearheading the European Data Protection regulation have reached a compromise.
The heavily lobbied draft bill, which included a record-breaking 4,000 amendments, is now set for a committee orientation vote in the next plenary session in Strasbourg. […]
The document will bypass plenary debate and vote in order to kick start inter-institutional negotiations to reach a more timely agreement.
But Paris-based Internet campaign group La Quadrature du Net described the parliament’s tactic as an “obscure hijacking of the democratic debate” because of the closed-door nature of such meetings.
“The only objective of the negotiating team in this manoeuvre seems to be able to boast about this regulation being the best achievement ever reached in the field of data protection, even if that is yet far from the case and could even get worse,” noted the group in a statement. […]
NINETEEN CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS have banded together to press the European Parliament into a privacy protection vote on Monday at the "Civil Liberties" committee (LIBE). […]
Earlier this week the French group La Quadrature du Net urged supporters to contact their members of the LIBE committee and rapporteur Jan Philipp Albrecht with their concerns about the erosion of privacy laws and personal privacy in France.
"Citizens need effective legal tools to regain control over their personal data in the face of the predatory behaviors of giant companies whose business models are based on collecting everyone's data, favouring the rise of global surveillance." said Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for La Quadrature du Net. "Such legal empowerment cannot be achieved without a proper public debate".
European Union citizens have no protection from NSA activities whatsoever, net activist Jérémie Zimmermann told DW - and he is backed up by a new report presented to the EU parliament.
An independent report on the US National Security Agency's activities and their impact on the fundamental rights of European Union citizens was presented to the bloc's parliament on Tuesday (24.09.2013). Its author Caspar Bowden provided an overview of the legal loopholes and controversies that dog the NSA's programs, before offering a number of recommendations on what the EU could do about them - including placing warnings on US websites that personal data may be collected. Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson and co-founder of the Paris-based citizens' rights group La Quadrature du Net, discussed them with DW. [...]
« [The] study pretty much covers everything we advocate: first of all revoking the safe harbor – the safe harbor allows US companies to disregard EU law, provided that they respect a set of commitments, and it specifies that whenever one of these commitments is broken, the safe harbor can be revoked. With PRISM, all the requirements of the safe harbor have been broken at once, therefore it would be 100 percent legitimate for the EU to revoke it and start new negotiations with the US, with the upper hand. And nobody in the EU talks about it. »
« Number two, the EU could push an industrial policy that would encourage alternatives to companies that participate in state surveillance - which means free software, decentralized services, and end-to-end encryption technology, that would put control of personal data back into the hands of users. Technologies that liberate, rather than technologies that control. There is an avenue for public policies, and a market that is wide open for such technologies. And if we want to compete with the US, this is obviously the path to take. [...] »
The fight around net neutrality is far from over. In fact EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes’ recent presentation of her version of “net neutrality” in a draft regulation on a “connected continent“ resulted in an outcry on behalf of digital rights organisations. If passed unchanged, the new legal instrument would explicitly allow for deals between content providers and network operators about preferential treatment. […]
Digital rights groups cried foul at the eve of the publication already. Neelie Kroes was “consciously betraying EU citizens by giving in to the powerful telecom lobbies,” declared Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder and spokesperson of the citizen organisation La Quadrature du Net. Zimmerman also warned against rushing such measures before the upcoming elections. […]
The European Commission has put forward its set of proposals for the first step to reform the European telecoms market. Among the proposals, the long-awaited and much-debated scrapping of roaming fees makes an appearance, with a raft of changes proposed for July 2014. [...]
Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net, said: "Mrs Kroes' draft is flawed by design to allow commercial breaches of net neutrality, through forms of discrimination which undermine our freedom of communication and are anti-competitive by nature. " [...]
For the past years, EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes, who started by advocating for net neutrality, has constantly given in to the pressure of large telecom companies, changing her direction from protecting net neutrality to threatening it. The current draft Regulation made public on 11 September 2013 just confirms this direction.
La Quadrature du Net and several advocacy groups have accused Kroes of killing net neutrality through the Commission's draft proposal on the reform of the EU telecom market, under the disguise of defending it. […]
“The Commission would be giving telecoms freedom to enter into business deals with big content providers such as Google or Facebook to prioritize their data flows over the Internet. Such a corporate power-grab would relegate the rest of citizens and new-entrant innovators to a slower Internet with disastrous effects for freedom and innovation online,” said Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesman for La Quadrature du Net. […]
"Mrs Kroes' draft is flawed by design to allow commercial breaches of Net neutrality, through forms of discrimination which undermine our freedom of communication and are anti-competitive by nature. Rushing such measures, a few months before upcoming elections, is outrageous and shows the profoundly disturbing disconnection between the Commission and citizens." explains Jérémie Zimmermann. […]
Berlin — The European Commission on Wednesday (11 September) put forward plans to ban charges for incoming calls when abroad, but allowing internet providers to charge more for high-quality connections. […]
Kroes says her proposal - which was heavily lobbied by telecoms and internet providers - defends the principle of an open internet for all and specifically bans throttling the connection, or even severing it, for customers who do not subscribe to a premium service. […]
For his part, Jeremie Zimmermann from La Quadrature du Net, a French NGO promoting internet freedom, called Kroes' bluff on net neutrality.
"Allowing prioritisation of traffic voids any net neutrality provision which bans throttling or blocking of communications, as in practice these deals for discriminating communications, only accessible to massive actors such as Google, will amount to de-prioritising everything else," Zimmermann told this website. […]
A new draft law on net neutrality and mobile roaming in Europe has caused conflict between European Union commissioners.
[…] A leaked document from the justice department shows that Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding is highly critical of the proposal. […]
Kroes has repeatedly said that the new law would guarantee net neutrality and an end to blocking or throttling of competing services. However digital rights activists have published leaked drafts of the law that they say shows the opposite. “The sheer number of leaked drafts and documents, including from Kroes’ own service, reflects how unhappy some inside the Commission are with the proposals,” said EDRi spokesman Joe McNamee. […]
Last week Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesman for digital advocacy group La Quadrature du Net (QdN), accused Kroes of abandoning her promise to protect net neutrality.
The latest leaked draft of the law states: “End-users shall be free to agree to enter into agreements on data volumes, and speeds and general quality characteristics with providers of electronic communications.” According to Zimmermann, this is simply another way of saying traffic may be prioritized. […]
The EU's telecoms chief may have to redraw part of her plan to boost broadband speeds and forge a cross-continent market, because of opposition to parts critics say could give big operators unfair advantages, a senior EU Commission official said. […]
But as many as nine commissioners have already objected to the plans, particularly parts which could allow telecoms companies to charge content providers and consumers extra for using certain Internet services, the official told Reuters on Monday. […]
"The biggest concern of numerous commissioners is the issue of Net neutrality. Because what Kroes' proposal is doing is restricting and creating exceptions to Net neutrality, the official said. Eight to nine commissioners have expressed serious doubts. […]"
"This is inherently anti-competitive; only companies as big as Google have that wingspan," said Jeremie Zimmermann, co-founder of Paris-based advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.
A digital advocacy group has accused Europe's Digital Agenda Commissioner of caving in to pressure from telcos and abandoning her promise to protect net neutrality. […]
"End-users shall be free to agree to enter into agreements on data volumes, and speeds and general quality characteristics with providers of electronic communications," continues article 19. According to Zimmermann, this is the "smoking gun" and Assured Service Quality (ASQ) is simply another way of saying traffic prioritization.
"The Commission would be giving telecoms freedom to enter into business deals with big content providers such as Google or Facebook to prioritize their data flows over the Internet. Such a corporate power-grab would relegate the rest of citizens and new-entrant innovators to a slower Internet with disastrous effects for freedom and innovation online," said Zimmermann. […]
A digital advocacy group has accused Europe's Digital Agenda Commissioner of caving in to pressure from telcos and abandoning her promise to protect net neutrality.
In a leaked draft of Commissioner Neelie Kroes' proposals for new telecoms rules that are due to be formally presented next week, "net neutrality" was struck out in the one place where it had been mentioned previously. Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesman for La Quadrature du Net (QdN), said this shows that Kroes has backed down under pressure from telecommunications companies' lobbying. [...]
"The Commission would be giving telecoms freedom to enter into business deals with big content providers such as Google or Facebook to prioritize their data flows over the Internet. Such a corporate power-grab would relegate the rest of citizens and new-entrant innovators to a slower Internet with disastrous effects for freedom and innovation online," said Zimmermann. [...]
For Europeans, Edward Snowden’s revelations about mass surveillance conducted by the US and the UK beg an obvious question: Do other European countries engage in similar activities? The answer is telling. [...]
To be sure, European governments, in response to the Snowden disclosures, were quick to condemn the NSA's behavior and to assure citizens that they will address the matter with the Obama administration. But that was only lip service, says Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of the French privacy group La Quadrature du Net:
"In the wake of the PRISM revelations we would expect from all governments here in the EU not only to ask the US for an apology for this behavior, but also to actively engage in protecting us against such behavior. What we see is the opposite." [...]
The outdoors gathering sparked passionate debate and disagreement – but we all chose to be there to tackle the difficult conversations that will shape our future. [...]
Frankly, news in recent years have been a little depressing, which is how I came to book a spur of the moment, round-ticket from Australia to Europe, desperate to find a thread to hold onto – a belief that the future holds something more than the dystopian reality that has rushed up on us, fermented into a pervasive Big Brother regime of NATO-state condoned totalitarian surveillance. [...]
Yes, it was difficult at times – a strange mix of people. But we chose to be in that space together, because opting out meant more than just opting out of a camp in a sheep paddock in the Netherlands; it would have meant opting out of practicing the difficult conversations that shape our future. [...]
Bradley Manning’s persecution could lead to the creation of stronger, better whistleblowers, as he showed people they have the power to stop day-to-day wrongdoing, Jeremie Zimmermann, of internet civil liberties group, La Quadrature du Net, told RT.
"while Bradley Manning was being detained and tortured by the US, Edward Snowden was aware of it and was planning his own whistleblowing. What Snowden said was that if he is persecuted by the US government, then it will lead to the creation of stronger, better whistleblowers."
The first round of talks in what the U.S. and EU trade representatives intend to be the largest bilateral trade agreement ever have begun. The governments call it TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Everyone else calls it TAFTA, the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement. Whatever the name, it will regulate all U.S. and EU trade, or around 30 percent of world trade in goods. And according to the first leaks of negotiation documents, it threatens to be yet another trojan horse for copyright and internet issues. […]
Now, it seems that our concerns were warranted: a newly leaked document from La Quadrature du Net shows how EU delegates intend to set rules around liability for Internet Service Providers and regulations over the transfer and processing of users’ personal online data, as well as rules to set a “uniform approach” to cyber security across the region. While the document makes no mention of copyright enforcement, other statements lead us to believe that it will also be included. […]
[…] The recent online surveillance scandal involving US intelligence agencies has renewed calls for an urgent reform of European legislation on personal data, which has already been under discussion for years. The proposed reform, though, has consumer associations pitted against the lobbies of the Internet giants. […]
Pressure from the industry, which has been so intense that 18 American NGOs have formally requested that the United States stop meddling in European legislation, is, of course, motivated by money. “The Internet giants fear users having more control will cut down on the volumes of data they process”, says French advocacy group La Quadrature du Net. And their arguments have been heard: judging the project too punitive on small and medium-sized businesses (and too fuzzy and too sensitive, moreover), MEPs are rejecting the text, pushing the continuation of the discussion back to 2014. In the meantime, the giants of the Web will have the time to collect a pretty little packet of personal data.
The European Parliament agreed on Thursday (4 July) to launch an inquiry into US spy allegations, amid revelations that France has its own secret surveillance programme.
Le Monde newspaper on Thursday said that France intercepts the metadata of emails, telephone calls and all Internet activity that passes through Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Yahoo. […]
Interceptions are subject to procedural oversight, says the French data protection authority, Cnil, but the system itself, notes the newspaper, operates in a legal limbo. […]
Jeremie Zimmerman, co-founder of the Paris-based internet campaign group La Quadrature du Net, told this website that: "The DGSE surveillance appears to target mostly French citizens and their foreign correspondents, and not the whole of the world's citizens like with Prism."
He said any abuse by the DGSE would be easier to stop compared to Prism because the US intelligence agency NSA operates with complete impunity.
“Still, it is urgent that we have a proper public debate in order to oppose generalised surveillance by states and companies, as a major risk for our democracies,” he added. […]
In Europe and elsewhere, societies are in a strange state. Even when not voicing it, many are indignant at social injustice, at the apathy in face of ecological challenges, at the ruling groups, their blind economicism and their colluded interests, at the development of pervasive control and surveillance. Meanwhile, citizens and societal groups develop new capabilities to express themselves and act. […]
La Quadrature du Net defends fundamental rights and freedoms in the digital sphere, in France, in Europe and globally. It promotes capability-building for everyone to make a constructive use of information technology and the Internet. This is but one of the urgent actions that demand your involvment and your support. However, all of the others depend on it. […]
However, this will turn into a reality only if the support of individual donors grows in proportion, as it started to do at the end of 2012. In our present campaign, we have decided to represent each of your contributions as a “Pi-xel” on a logo that will be filled as they accumulate. This is not just an image, it is for you to build the freedoms and digital capabilities for which we act.
When Max Kelly, the chief security officer for Facebook, left the social media company in 2010, he did not go to Google, Twitter or a similar Silicon Valley concern. Instead the man who was responsible for protecting the personal information of Facebook’s more than one billion users from outside attacks went to work for another giant institution that manages and analyzes large pools of data: the National Security Agency. […]
The disclosure of the spy agency’s program called Prism, which is said to collect the e-mails and other Web activity of foreigners using major Internet companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook, has prompted the companies to deny that the agency has direct access to their computers, even as they acknowledge complying with secret N.S.A. court orders for specific data. […]
Microsoft executives are no longer willing to affirm statements, made by Skype several years ago, that Skype calls could not be wiretapped. Frank X. Shaw, a Microsoft spokesman, declined to comment. […]
“We reached a tipping point, where the value of having user data rose beyond the cost of storing it,” said Dan Auerbach, a technology analyst with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an electronic privacy group in San Francisco. “Now we have an incentive to keep it forever.” […]
In their book Cypherpunks, Julian Assange and three other Internet activists predicted much of what Edward Snowden revealed about the NSA. [...]
Zimmerman offered hope from a different angle: “I’m convinced that there is a market in privacy that has been mostly left unexplored, so maybe there will be an economic drive for companies to develop tools that will give users the individual ability to control their data and communication.” It seems clear, too, that a public educated to the dangers of total surveillance will reward investment in the next iteration of privacy protections. In part, this is a matter of patient and careful explanation on the part of experts and the press. Whatever else we may hope for from the Snowden leaks, they have already opened a window here. [...]
An endless stream of law proposals, soft-law initiatives and free-trade agreements keeps trying to eradicate or prevent the non-market sharing of digital works between individuals. New strategies are pushed using incentives and threats so that intermediaries will police the Internet to save the scarcity-based business models of a few from the competition of abundance. So is it business as usual? Well, no longer. [...]
Sharing is not a problem but a condition for the human (cultural) development. Entry of possession of digital files representating works and the right and ability to share them as one wishes with other individuals is the practical implementation of the “right freely to participate in the cultural life of the city” defined in the article 27.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I have explained why and how and will keep doing it.
The eradication of unauthorized sharing, far from helping the commercial offers to be more diverse (in terms of diversity of access to works) and fairer (in terms of price, author remuneration, and user rights) creates the conditions for them to become worse, concentrating the attention on an even more restricted set of works, imposing proprietary platforms and formats, restricting use rights, transforming the individual is a precarious renter of contents. [...]
[TheVerge] French 'three strikes' piracy law faces major reversal as leaders question ultimate penalty
Although no planned modification to the policy has been made public, comments from high-ranking officials show that the present government seems ready for change. France's minister delegate in charge of internet policy is quoted by The New York Times as saying "it's not possible to cut off internet access," before comparing suspending internet connections to "cutting off water." [...]
Some have called the law ineffective, noting that very few internet suspensions have actually gone through, with many third strikes being reduced in court to fines or suspended sentences. "If you cannot chop off a few heads as an example, then the chopping machine inspires less fear," said a spokesman for La Quadrature du Net, an advocacy group that's firmly against the anti-piracy law. SNEP, the French organization that protects the interests of the country's music industry, notes that visits to "illegal music sites" rose by seven percent between January 2010 and January 2013. The organization won't argue against the law change, but believes the proposed €60 fine is too low.
[ZDNet] No piracy watchdog, a tablet tax and free software: France's vision of culture in the digital age
A study commissioned last summer to find how to protect France's "exception culturelle" in the online era has delivered its verdict - and it's generating its fair share of criticism already. [...]
In a statement, the French internet advocacy group La Quadrature du Net also acknowledged that the mission Lescure had a few interesting ideas ,but added that: "When it comes to concrete proposals regarding sharing of cultural works on the internet, [the report] quickly gives in to the arguments of the content distribution industry. The proposals are carbon copies of the policies suggested by the corresponding industry lobbies." [...]
France's controversial three strikes copyright rules could be going the way of its aristocracy's heads. [...]
Protest group La Quadrature du Net called the announcement of the death of Hadopi "misleading".
"The announcement of the suppression of the Hadopi is misleading: its missions are redistributed to other entities (CSA), with the exception of the never-applied internet cut-off, and even completed by new monitoring or repressive competence. It hides the pursuit of Nicolas Sarkozy's anti-sharing policies," said Philippe Aigrain, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net. [...]
Governments should treat all data on the internet the same according to the principle of net neutrality. But in reality that is not the case - not just in North Korea or China but even in the US and the UK.
David Reid looks at the how the debate is shaping up in France, where one provider cut off users from some Google content, and what neutrality means in a world wide web filled with worldwide corporations.
Are we building the digital environment enhancing our life, or are we guinea pigs of those who control and trade our data?
From major battles won in 2012 against ACTA, SOPA and PIPA, we have a collective responsibility to project ourselves into advocating for protecting our freedoms online. Copyright, Net neutrality, data protection are among the key issues that will determine if our future societies will be more open and based on cooperation and sharing or knowledge, or will turn into authoritarian regimes based on control of our actions and communications.
Social media and all kinds of companies collect a lot of data about us. Some of it is essential to deliver relevant services or is given away with informed consent to receive better service. One may even think that we don't share anything important or valuable, while we do get convenient and innovative services in return. After all, we have nothing to hide, do we? However, more and more often our data becomes a commodity that can be used not only to make things easier but also to control our lives and profit from us. What about price discrimination, profiling based on our ethnic origin, sexual orientation or age, refusal of certain benefits or services because of the "wrong profile"?
The new "Data Protection" regulation that is currently being discussed in the European Parliament may answer some of these questions…
…we all have a role to play in the rewriting of Privacy, whether we take a technological approach, through the use of decentralized services and encryption, or an activist/legislative approach. Multitude is our strength!
Katarzyna Szymielewicz of Panoptykon and Jérémie Zimmermann
An important vote on the future of the European Union's privacy laws has been delayed again. [...]
In a published statement, digital rights group La Quadrature du Net said that as it currently stands, the regulation would significantly strengthen citizens' rights. But it added that in response to the Commission proposal, "powerful companies, mainly based in United States (banks, insurances and Internet services), have led an unprecedented lobbying campaign."
"Their goal is to make withdraw from the final version of the Regulation those proposals aimed at protecting citizens' personal data. Before this vote, we have to make certain that civil liberties MEPs will not break under lobby pressure," said organization spokesman Jérémie Zimmermann.
A coalition of consumer rights groups has launched a campaign calling on the European Parliament to stop corporations from weakening regulations designed to protect online privacy. The campaigners – including the Open Rights Group, Privacy International, Digitale Gesellschaft, Access and La Quadrature du Net – have this morning presented a report to lawmakers claiming that amendments to the proposed Data Protection Regulation would strip consumers of a right to privacy. [...]
"Instead of fixing this often misused ground, members of the European Parliament are proposing to extend it by including the interests of third parties as a 'legitimate interest'," the report said. "This will allow companies unknown to citizens to process personal data if the companies believe it is in their 'best interest' to do so."
Some of the proposed changes to Europe's data protection laws would strip citizens of their privacy rights, a coalition of international civil liberties organizations said Thursday.The European Parliament is currently considering proposals from the European Commission for a complete overhaul of the E.U.'s data protection laws. [...]
The civil liberties coalition, which includes Access, Bits of Freedom, EDRI, La Quadrature du Net and Privacy International, has set up a website, nakedcitizens.eu, to help concerned citizens contact their representatives in the Parliament. [...]
"Without effective privacy protection, our personal lives are laid bare, to be used and abused by business and governments," said Joe McNamee of European Digital Rights and spokesperson of the coalition. [...]
'Unprecedented' lobbying by big tech companies, the U.S. government, and advertisers could result in a bill that severely weakens privacy rights, coalition says. [...]
The civil liberties coalition, which includes Access, Bits of Freedom, EDRI, La Quadrature du Net and Privacy International, has set up a website, nakedcitizens.eu, to help concerned citizens contact their representatives in the Parliament. The groups have also presented a report based on their analysis of the proposed amendments. [...]
"Without effective privacy protection, our personal lives are laid bare, to be used and abused by business and governments," said Joe McNamee of European Digital Rights and spokesperson of the coalition. [...]
La libertà della rete è in pericolo in Europa. 80 associazioni che si battono per i diritti digitali hanno lanciato un appello alla Commissione europea al fine di proteggere il bene più prezioso di internet, la sua neutralità. [...]
Secondo i proponenti dell’appello gli operatori commerciali della rete stanno andando nella direzione sbagliata. “Si muovono verso un ambiente online frammentato, dove gli innovatori non hanno più uguale accesso ma dipendono da sottostanti accordi commerciali. Molti utilizzatori non potranno più decidere cosa vorranno fare con un accesso a Internet. Dare priorità e regolare specifici servizi, applicazioni o protocolli dove non è necessario per ragioni tecniche come il sollievo temporaneo per la congestione del traffico rappresentano una violazione. Internet deve essere neutrale, e tutti i suoi contenuti devono essere trattati allo stesso modo”. Sia le prove raccolte dagli organismi europei di riferimento che dai cittadini attraverso le piattaforme come Glasnost and RespectMyNet forniscono un quadro chiarissimo delle violazioni che stanno avvenendo in Europa, a parere delle associazioni che combattono per i diritti digitali. [...]
More than 80 European digital rights organisations on Wednesday called on the European Commission to do more to protect net neutrality. [...]
Digital rights organisation La Quadrature du Net claimed in January that Kroes had caved in to telecom operator pressure and was giving up on net neutrality. She replied that she would not be bullied by NGOs or lobbyists.Digital rights organisation La Quadrature du Net claimed in January that Kroes had caved in to telecom operator pressure and was giving up on net neutrality. She replied that she would not be bullied by NGOs or lobbyists. [...]
More than 80 European digital rights organizations on Wednesday called on the European Commission to do more to protect net neutrality. [...]
The group said in an open letter to the Commission that operators across Europe are violating Internet neutrality particularly in the mobile sector, where they say there is evidence that companies including ISPs are "using technical measures for their own commercial interests and tampering with citizens' ability to access the Internet." [...]
Digital rights organization La Quadrature du Net claimed in January that Kroes had caved in to telecom operator pressure and was giving up on net neutrality. She replied that she would not be bullied by NGOs or lobbyists. [...]
L'industria delle telecomunicazioni teme per la revisione della direttiva sull'enforcement della tutela del diritto d'autore. L'adozione di misure tecniche restrittive sarebbe nefasta per le libertà digitali. [...]
"La Commissione d'Europa non è ancora pronta a voltare pagina nelle policy legate al diritto d'autore - si legge in un intervento de La Quadrature du Net - Le autorità che hanno negoziato ACTA decidono di mantenere lo status quo, invocando la crisi economica per chiedere ancora le stesse politiche ormai guaste". [...]
The French government started cracking down on illegal downloading, so users switched to illegal streaming. [...]
After two years in action, Hadopi has been found to be ineffective and expensive. Its 60 bureaucrats have spent more than 10 million euros per year warning 1.2 million French Internet users that their downloading habits are illegal. According to its own report released in September, the program has caused French netizens simply to switch from illegal downloading to illegally streaming their favorite movies, shows, and music. [...]
“It’s censorship,” said Jérémie Zimmermann, cofounder of digital rights activist group La Quadrature du Net. He wants the commission to recommend legalizing peer-to-peer sharing. “If the law has a problem with common social practices, it’s not the people who must change, but the law,” Zimmermann said. [...]
The French government has put forward a new plan that could enshrine net neutrality in national law. If it passes, France would become the third country in Europe (after the Netherlands and Slovenia joined the club this year—Norway, too, has a similar, but, voluntary system), to enact such a policy and the fourth in the world, after Chile. [...]
“The fact that the opinion is to only inscribe in the law a ‘principle’ without describing infractions and penalties and the place where it shall be written is what makes it toothless and probably makes the telcos not so worried,” said Jérémie Zimmerman, of La Quadrature du Net, a Paris-based activist group, in an instant message chat with Ars. [...]
“[We just want] something in the telecommunications act to say, 'restricting communications based on the sender, or receiver, or type of data is illegal, and if you do it, you’ll be sanctioned,'” he added. “Except for the security of the network and its users, or temporary and non-foreseeable congestion. That’s what we call effective protection of net neutrality.” [...]
The French government on Tuesday called for a law requiring Internet service providers to give all the traffic on their networks equal priority, saying existing rules were insufficient for protecting free speech online and ensuring fair competition among Web publishers. […]
“Our goal is to support the vision of an Internet that is free, open, respectful of rights and that is a driver of innovation,” Ms. Pellerin said.
The proposal comes as the Hollande government has been discussing new curbs on other digital policy fronts. There has been talk, for example, of measures to restrict hate speech on social networks like Twitter, following a spate of anti-Semitic and racist postings on the microblogging site. How such a measure could be reconciled with legislation guaranteeing “neutrality” on social networks left some analysts scratching their heads.
“It would be hypocritical to enlarge the exceptions to free speech at the same time as legislating for network neutrality in the name of free speech,” said Jérémie Zimmermann, a spokesman for La Quadrature du Net, a group that opposes any type of restrictions on information on the Internet.
France would not be the first European country to legislate on net neutrality issues. […]
The European Commission’s plans to revise the current data protection framework have been in the pipeline for some time. Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding proposes splitting data protection rules into a Directive that covers law enforcement and a Regulation for the private sector. [...]
“The Conservative and Liberal parties in the Parliament have voted against the interests of European consumers, who expect MEPs to ensure existing EU data protection standards are not diluted,” said Monique Goyens, director general of the European consumer organization, BEUC.
And according to Jeremie Zimmermann of La Quadrature Du Net: “Most of the compromise amendments attempt to modify the report by relaxing the obligations made to actors collecting personal data.”
Here in the United States, five major ISPs nationwide are rolling out the Copyright Alert System, aka the “six strikes” plan. Verizon became the latest to join the fun, alerting its customers on Wednesday of the new rules. [...]
The French tech news site Numérama summed up the proposal in one word: blackmail. The Paris-based Internet advocacy organization, La Quadrature du Net, has compared this new proposal to the defeated ACTA and SOPA measures.
“Currently confined to the fight against file sharing between individuals, Hadopi now wants to extend its control to Internet intermediaries such as hosting services, search engines, Internet service providers, or online payment services,” the organization wrote in a statement on Wednesday. [...]
Consumer watchdogs, Internet activists and European farmers are gearing up to fight the planned trade agreement between Europe and the United States. Many in Europe are worried that politicians will make backroom deals at the expense of consumers. [...]
Jérémie Zimmermann, one of the organizers of the anti-ACTA movement, believes the time will soon come for new protests. The spokesman for the Paris-based organization La Quadrature du Net can prove that old paragraphs from the failed ACTA were inserted into a preliminary version of the proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which the European Commission is currently negotiating with the Canadians and whch could serve as a blueprint for the treaty with the Americans. [...]
"It's a favorite game of the entertainment industry to hijack free trade agreements for their own purposes," says Zimmermann. He sees democracy at risk when negotiations concerning the future of all people are conducted behind closed doors. "Millions of citizens can be mobilized if their freedoms are threatened," he says. [...]
Privacy campaigners are up in arms about a European Parliament committee's decision to adopt a drafted opinion on data protection that some have argued further waters down Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding's proposed rewrite of DP law. [...]
Digital activists at La Quadrature Du Net agreed that the decision was a disaster for privacy law in Europe and urged EU citizens to lobby their MEPs hard and to complain about big corporations influencing the rewrite of data protection law. [...]
Among proposals understood to have been adopted, personal data would be processed by third parties without a legal requirement to inform consumers if they can prove "legitimate interest" about such action. The EDRi argued that such a "bizarre" move would completely freeze out a citizen's control of their own data, thereby rendering the "entire legislative measure close to meaningless". [...]
A vote by Members of European Parliament (MEP) on new data protection laws has drawn outrage after they were accused of watering down the proposals to appease large corporations like Amazon, Google and BT. [...]
However, others were less than impressed, with advocacy group La Quadrature du Net saying the vote jeopardized citizens' privacy at the expense of big business.
[They] "have voted to water down the safeguards protecting our privacy, as corporate lobbies had hoped," it said in a statement.
"The lobbying pressure in the European Parliament from industrial actors has reached a state of unique intensity." [...]
IDG News Service — The European Parliament's industry committee has approved more than 900 amendments to proposed new data protection laws. [...]
But according to Jeremie Zimmermann of La Quadrature Du Net, "Most of the compromise amendments attempt to modify the report by relaxing the obligations made to actors collecting personal data."
Digital activists are concerned about text that would allow companies that control data and third parties to process personal data without informing consumers, on grounds of "legitimate interest" except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject. [...]
Last week I wrote about the revelation (to me, at least - maybe other people knew this was going on) that MEPs were simply cutting and pasting from lobbyists' proposals and presenting them as amendments to the important Data Protection regulation. [...]
In the case of the ITRE vote tomorrow, we basically need to contact our MEPs today and ask them to convey our views to their colleagues on these committees (unless your MEP is on a committee, in which case you can ask them directly - there's a list of UK members, and a full list for all nations. For the EMPL Committee vote on Thursday, the UK MEPs are here, and there's also a list of the European ones.) [...]
Here are six key issues, as discerned by La Quadrature du Net (also part of the above-mentioned coalition) :
A team of German journalists and developers concerned about data protection legislation have launched an online platform to expose the copy-pasting of lobbyists’ position papers into EU legislation.
It’s called LobbyPlag and it aims to denounce deregulating influences (such as Ebay’s or the European Banking Federation’s) on EU Committee members’ amendments to the draft of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This law, planned to take effect in 2016, is intended to replace previous obsolete directives and unify data protection within the EU. [...]
LobbyPlag wants to raise awareness of this issue before the vote, negotiations and implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation. The next important date for the team, and other digital rights activists and partners such as La Quadrature du Net, is February 27, the deadline for tabling amendments. At the end of April lies the orientation vote in LIBE Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs , an other crucial deadline. [...]
LobbyPlag shows bill language copied from models by Amazon, eBay, and more. [...]
The watchdog project, known as LobbyPlag, shows verbatim contributions from US and EU corporate interests showing up in the opinion amendment already approved (PDF) last month by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) committee. The documents’ publication has caused ripples amongst other members of European Parliament (MEPs), as well as many digital and privacy advocates in Brussels.
“We need a more balanced approach—people need to be aware that their privacy rules are being decided by a group of business people,” said Jan Philipp Albrecht, a German Green Party MEP. “And that's not what [citizens] expect the European Union to do.”
LobbyPlag takes its source material from anonymous sources, documents provided by the Swedish Pirate Party and the French Internet advocacy group, La Quadrature du Net. [...]
Civil liberties activists attending the European Commission's new copyright talks last week declared the process a "waste of time" and an "outrageous attempt to avoid copyright reform." […]
[…] "75 percent of the participants to the working-group concerning users is affiliated with the industry and the themes and objectives are defined so as to ensure that the industry has its way and that nothing will change," said La Quadrature du Net spokesman Jeremie Zimmermann. "Through this initiative, the E.U. Commission shows its contempt of the many citizens who participated in defeating ACTA and are still mobilized against repressive policies. No citizen should agree to the terms and conditions of these Licenses for Europe," he added. […]
However, Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes urged attendees at the event to keep an open mind. "Digital technology was seen as a threat to content instead of an opportunity," she said, adding, "In some cases licensing won't be the solution."
The European Commission has unveiled 'Licences for Europe', an initiative that encourages content stakeholders and consumers to work out short-term solutions to Europe's copyright issues ahead of creating legislation. [...]
Digital rights group La Quadrature du Net slammed the initiative as a "parody of debate" dominated by the entertainment industry. [...]
"More than ever, EU citizens must engage with their representatives and urge them to courageously call for reforming a copyright regime gone mad, which has come to threaten our society's fundamental values, users' freedoms and the very structure of a free internet. No citizen should agree to the terms and conditions of these Licences for Europe." [...]
Civil liberties group accuses EU Commission of trying to avoid copyright reform. [...]
"Licensing for Europe" is a series of round table discussions with content industries and users, aimed at creating copyright reform through a non-legislative process. The first meeting got under way on Monday morning discussing "user-generated content and licensing for small-scale users of protected material."
But digital rights group La Quadrature du Net denounced the process: "At best it aims to save time to avoid discussing the urgent need to reform copyright, and at worst to serve once again the interests of the entertainment industry. 75 percent of the participants to the working-group concerning users is affiliated with the industry and the themes and objectives are defined so as to ensure that the industry has its way and that nothing will change," said La Quadrature du Net spokesman Jérémie Zimmermann. "Through this initiative, the E.U. Commission shows its contempt of the many citizens who participated in defeating ACTA and are still mobilized against repressive policies. No citizen should agree to the terms and conditions of these Licenses for Europe," he added. [...]
An open letter from US consumer and civil liberties bodies has asked the American government to support European efforts to introduce strict data privacy rules – which US companies such as Facebook have been opposing. [...]
Several months later, the European Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection voted in favour of relaxing the Regulation proposals. “This vote shows how much the European Parliament can be influenced by the massive lobbying driven mostly by giant US corporations (banks, insurance and Internet services) going against the interest of EU citizens,” wrote Jérémie Zimmermann in a statement from French activists La Quadrature Du Net. [...]
[...] As we reported over a year ago, Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding of the European Commission proposed a “comprehensive reform” to existing data protection law, which would regulate how online service companies are allowed to keep information on their customers. [...]
“We are outraged, because we, the citizens, are now kept in hundreds of databases, mostly without our knowledge or consent,” the petition thunders. [...] Signatories to the petition include groups like Bits of Freedom (Netherlands), Electronic Privacy and Information Center (USA), European Digital Rights, Privacy International (UK), the Chaos Computer Club (Germany), La Quadrature du Net (France), and well-known European activists, including Smári McCarthy (Iceland), and Max Schrems (Austria), whom Ars profiled last year. [...]
“Nothing, not even ACTA, caused the US to lobby on this scale in Brussels,” said Joe McNamee, of European Digital Rights (EDRI), in an e-mail to Ars. “What is even more surprising is that demonstrably false arguments are sometimes being used, undermining the excellent reputation for professionalism that the US representatives have always had. This is damage that won't easily be undone.” [...]
[...] Several proposed laws working their way through the European Parliament could give 500 million consumers the ability to block or limit many forms of online Web tracking and targeted advertising. All the major American tech companies have directed their lobbyists in Brussels, where the Parliament is based, to press to weaken or remove these proposals from the European provisions. [...]
Faced with the United States industry opposition, some supporters of the proposals are worried about the prospects of producing meaningful changes.
“The outcome is very unclear at this point,” said Jérémie Zimmermann, a spokesman for a French digital rights group, La Quadrature du Net. “The U.S. lobbying on this has been very effective so far. It is impossible to tell what will happen.”
IDG News Service (Brussels Bureau) — A widening gap between the European Union and the U.S. was the subject of much discussion at the Computers, Privacy & Data Protection conference in Brussels on Wednesday. [...]
In a statement, Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net, also called for citizens to act "by urging our elected representatives to protect our rights and freedom by adopting strong safeguards for our privacy."
But he said that a vote on Wednesday in the European Parliament's consumer committee (IMCO) had weakened privacy rights by allowing easier profiling of users by companies and by softening obligations of notification of personal data breaches. "This vote shows how much the European Parliament can be influenced by the massive lobbying driven mostly by giant U.S. corporations -- banks, insurance and Internet services -- going against the interest of E.U. citizens," he said. [...]
On Wednesday, the European Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) voted in favour of relaxing the European Data Protection Regulation (DPR) proposals. Privacy campaigners say the parliament is giving in to US commercial pressure. [...]
“This vote shows how much the European Parliament can be influenced by the massive lobbying driven mostly by giant US corporations (banks, insurance and Internet services) going against the interest of EU citizens,” wrote Jérémie Zimmermann in a statement from La Quadrature Du Net.
“It should act as a wake up call for citizens to defend their right to privacy against the illegitimate collection, process and trade of their personal data,” he added. [...]
Every year at the end of December, computer hackers from all over the world gather in Germany - this time in Hamburg - for the Chaos Communication Congress, four days of talks, meetings and workshops. [...]
Surveillance, protection of whistle-blowers, web neutrality, anonymity online, data retention, copyrights... Hackers are fighting more than one battle. Yet, according to Jérémie Zimmerman, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net, an advocacy group defending the rights and freedoms of citizens on the Internet, there is a common parameter to those causes: the appreciation of technology. [...]
Cryptography, open source software and web neutrality are talked about in every corner. For Jérémie Zimmerman, the last two are not something our society can do without. "The combination of a free and open Internet and open source software are the two essential prerequisites for a free society in a democratic and connected environment." And indeed many organisations emerged from this hacker ethics asserting the Internet as a tool toward building a better functioning democracy. [...]
[...] In her blog on Thursday, Kroes said consumers should be free to make their own choices about their Internet subscriptions, but that this "does not preclude consumers from subscribing to more differentiated, limited Internet offers, possibly for a lower price."
La Quadrature du Net interpreted this to mean that "Kroes supports the creation of a fragmented Internet, banning innovation and opening the door to unacceptable censorship."
"By deliberately ignoring that such offers would change almost nothing for operators in terms of cost, but would allow them to avoid investing in the development of network capacity while restraining possibilities for citizen participation, Neelie Kroes takes into account only short-term private interests that run contrary to public interest," the organization said in a press statement. [...]
Were some expecting too much from a net neutrality roundtable organised by France's digital economy minister? Perhaps - but the lack of action and the promise of more discussion has clearly disappointed. [...]
The delays did not go down well among net neutrality's supporters. In a press release, the French internet advocacy group La Quadrature du Net asked: "What's the use of Fleur Pellerin?" According to the organisation, this week's roundtable has only been useful to "hide the minister's lack of action" with Pellerin "once again postponing plans for a law that would defend citizens". [...]
Benjamin Bayart, president of the French Data Network, a non-profit telecommunications operator, said he was surprised the country is still debating whether net neutrality should be enshrined in law. "If we're still discussing net neutrality, it's because politicians haven't decided to do their job," he added. [...]
France's Digital Economy Minister Fleur Pellerin was to hold crisis talks on Monday over a decision by the country's second largest telecoms company, Free, to block online advertisements. [...]
Analysts believe the company is seeking to put pressure on US internet giant Google to play a bigger role in financing telecom infrastructure. [...]
Free's move contradicts the idea of a democratic internet, Jérémie Zimmermann of the online citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du net told RFI. [...]
In a potential test case for Europe, the French government on Monday ordered a big Internet service provider to stop blocking online advertisements, saying the company had no right to edit the contents of the Web for users. [...]
“Should users be held hostage to these commercial negotiations? That is not obvious to me,” said Jérémie Zimmermann, a spokesman for La Quadrature du Net, a group that campaigns against restrictions on the Internet. [...]
UFC-Que Choisir said it hoped that the latest twist in the dispute between Free and Google had demonstrated the inadequacy of existing net neutrality protections. Instead, the group is campaigning for legislation.
“More than ever, the public authorities must act in 2013 to guarantee consumers a neutral, quality Internet,” wrote Alain Bazot, the president of UFC-Que Choisir. [...]
France's darling indie ISP, Free, has shaken up the French Internet landscape yet again: in a quiet firmware update released Wednesday evening, the company added an ad blocking option to its Freebox router and activated it by default. [...]
Meanwhile, Benjamin Sonntag, of the French online advocacy group, La Quadrature du Net, sent Ars screenshots while using Free in Paris, showing that ads on the French tech news site Numérama were not blocked, but ads on the site of French newspaper Le Monde were. [...]
The European Commission has finally killed ACTA, the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, by withdrawing its bid to have the treaty's legality confirmed.
ACTA was rejected by the European Parliament in July following widespread protests across Europe. The treaty had been agreed to and signed on behalf of Europe by the European Commission in January 2012. […]
"Withdrawal of ECJ referral of ACTA shows that citizens were right, and that Commissioner DeGucht was wrong and lying," tweeted Jeremie Zimmerman of the digital liberties group La Quadrature du Net.
European discussions on the openness of the internet closed yesterday with pressure groups asking that net neutrality be enshrined in law. [...]
In France, La Quadrature du Net said that ensuring net neutrality in law is the only way to ensure a level playing field and fair and proper behaviour from incumbent telcos.
"Preventing operators from introducing differentiated QoS interconnection policies is indeed of paramount importance to protect the Internet from legitimate traffic management policies that would hurt freedom of communication and innovation online," it wrote in its response. [...]
A leaked text of the Canada-Europe Free Trade Agreement, and an email sent from the Secretariat of the Council of the European Union to the Member States and the Commission, are fueling concern about the agreement’s intellectual property provisions. [...]
The La Quadrature du Net has written the EU warning that “such criminal measures, broad and disproportionate, are designed to combat widespread non-market cultural practices and target Internet actors driving innovation and growth.” [...]
Da oggi a venerdì la Social Media Week è a Torino. Ecco i temi della «lectio» d'apertura dell'evento [...]
« Questa neutralità di Internet, sua caratteristica fondamentale, è minacciata quando si accede alla rete tramite dispositivi mobili o specializzati come lettori di e-book e persino quando ci si collega con la normale connessione domestica. Gli operatori telefonici, in particolare i membri dell’ETNO (cioè gli ex monopolisti) stanno cercando di inserire dei provvedimenti nella revisione del trattato dell’ITU (International Telecommunication Union). Se ci riuscissero, non sarebbe altro che un coup d’état privato contro Internet. » [...]
Philippe Aigrain è tra i fondatori di La Quadrature du Net, un collettivo per la difesa delle libertà dei cittadini su Internet. [...]
Inizia oggi la Social Media Week, con la media partnership di Wired Italia, a Torino fino al 28 settembre. L'intervento di apertura è dedicato proprio ai social media, con una lezione di Philippe Aigrain, tra i fondatori di La Quadrature du Net, un collettivo per la difesa delle libertà dei cittadini su Internet e autore di Sharing: Culture and the Economy in the Internet Age. Ecco per voi il testo della lezione. [...]
« I social media permettono a ognuno di noi di dare il proprio contributo alla cultura e alla società; mettono nelle nostre mani la comunicazione, la produzione e la distribuzione di attività che, prima dell’avvento di Internet, erano accessibili solo a una manciata di grandi aziende. » [...]
« Questo potenziale è minacciato da alcune tendenze contemporanee. La prima ha a che fare con quello che spesso abbiamo dato per scontato su Internet: il fatto che la produzione di un individuo sarà sempre ragionevolmente ricercabile, accessibile e tramessa tanto quanto la produzione di una società internazionale o di un governo. » [...]