The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.
Last year Finland wrote history after it became the first country to vote on a "fairer" copyright law, crowd-sourced by the public. Now that the vote is near, several lawmakers have warned against the disastrous effects of the proposal, by parroting a memo handed to them by the copyright lobby.
The debate over net neutrality in Europe is heating up after the European Parliament's industry committee on Tuesday approved a controversial legislation package some say could threaten Internet use in Europe. [...]
The legislation has faced criticism since its proposal last year, primarily regarding alleged loopholes some Internet activists say could block content, increase the price of Internet services, and give preferential treatment to large corporations over tech start-ups. Despite these criticisms, EU officials and parliamentary leaders say the legislation safeguards open Internet principles.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have voted for stricter rules against internet providers blocking or slowing internet services provided by competitors [...]
The vote was not without controversy, given that the net neutrality element contains a glaring caveat, with wording that says that "specialised services" can be exempted from the principle. Some services such as IPTV and "business-critical data intensive cloud applications" do work better when they are given dedicated bandwidth -- provided that doesn't interfere with the internet speeds offered to customers -- but the wording isn't clear enough. The worry is that ISPs could end up doing deals with some content providers such as Netflix in order that their content is prioritised over other services -- something that has already happened in the US. This has led digital rights activists such as La Quadrature du Net to criticise the decision.
The National Security Agency has built a surveillance system capable of recording “100 percent” of a foreign country’s telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review conversations as long as a month after they take place, according to people with direct knowledge of the effort and documents supplied by former contractor Edward Snowden.
The German federal government rejects special rights for corporations in the free trade agreement between the EU and the USA. [...]
Corporate sovereignty measures were added to earlier bilateral agreements when the legal systems of the country receiving foreign investment raised issues about their independence or where there was a fear that local governments might expropriate property with impunity. Neither can seriously be considered a risk in the case of the EU and US, and so investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) is redundant, as the German government recognizes here.
If this really is Germany's view, it will have major consequences for the negotiations, since the European Commission won't be able to get TAFTA/TTIP accepted by the EU without Germany's full support. There remains some room for doubt, though, as the German Secretary of State also said: "arbitration tribunals of this kind should only be brought in as a last resort after exhausting all legal remedies brought in national courts." [...]
Last week I asked people to write to their MEPs about two important votes in the European Parliament on Wednesday: one regarding data protection, the other surveillance. Lots of people obviously did that, and not just here in the UK: both votes went through with huge majorities. That's not to say that the results are perfect, but they are probably as good as we could have hoped for in the circumstances, and represent a real win for democracy in Europe given the bitter lobbying that was deployed against them. [...]
However, the European Parliament is quite able to withhold its consent to TAFTA/TTIP - after all, that's precisely what happened with ACTA, which died on the day that MEPs voted against it (actually, it's more of a zombie: not dead outside the EU, but not very alive either...) A lot depends on what happens in the next twelve months in terms of how NSA and GCHQ spying is reined in (if at all), and whether data protection is included in TTIP. [...]
Does the Internet belong to corporations or to citizens? Who runs it? Who owns it? Who decides what’s on it? Is it going to turn into a TV with a Facebook extra? All of this is at stake. It’s a vote being forced by the telecoms industry, to spike any chance of Europe getting a net neutrality law after the Euro-elections. If this vote is lost, what can be done to save the Internet? [...]
The situation in the European Parliament is that the rapporteur, Mrs Pilar Del Castillo, is pushing amendments that support the prioritisation, bandwidth cap manoeuvring and specialised services that the telecoms industry wants - an agenda that stands to be disastrous for the open Internet. MEPs Catherine Trautmann and Marietje Schaake are countering with amendments that among other things, give explicit support for net neutrality. La Quadrature du Net have set out a summary and also published an annotated voting list . [...]
La Quadrature du Net are urging concerned citizens who would like the European Parliament to protect the open Internet, to contact their MEP. In particular, anyone doing this should express support for the S&D/Greens amendement tabled by Catherine Trautmann. La Quadrature du Net have created a special website savetheinternet.eu with all the information on it. [...]
[...] After round four of the TTIP negotiations between the European Union and United States this week in Brussels, the lead negotiators could not offer anything that looks easy in the talks. [...]
Questions on the nature of an IP chapter for the TTIP were not answered at press time.
[...]Bercero reiterated that TTIP is “not the right place to address the differences of view that need to be resolved as far as data privacy is concerned.” [...]
[...] The European Parliament this week also voted in favour of withholding consent for the TTIP if it does not fully respect EU data privacy rules.
Glyn Moody considers the use of "geographical indicators" (GI) in TAFTA. They are used to protect the use the expression "Belgian chocolates" but also "Feta cheese". The US is strongly opposed to this, as it would potentially ban the use of such names on US American products. Quoted by The Guardian newspaper, the EU stated that Feta for example, "is so closely connected to Greece as to be identified as an inherently Greek product."
"[...] there is pressure on the US negotiators to reject completely any EU calls for GIs in TAFTA/TTIP. Equally, the EU has made it clear that extending GI protection around the world is a priority. [...]"
"[...] in the Canada-EU trade agreement (CETA), whose status is still unclear, Canada seems to have acquiesced to EU demands [...]"
"[...] It would be rather ironic if the biggest trade deal in history collapsed not because of clashes over major issues like corporate sovereignty or the Precautionary Principle, but over the names for cheese."
Summary: New leaks, new Web sites, a hidden threat from the "most-favoured nation" approach, and an astonishing claim that Germany wants ISDS out of TTIP
A lot has been happening on the TTIP front recently. That's largely because of two factors. First, that the real negotiations have begun, which is generating a lot of activity by all those involved. And secondly, because resistance to some or even all of TTIP is growing, and that is manifesting itself in various ways. For example, yesterday the important resolution on NSA surveillance passed by the European Parliament included the following key recommendation:
Parliament should withhold its consent to the final Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal with the US unless it fully respects EU fundamental right [...].