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The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.

[FT] Telecoms groups blast EU Net Neutrality plans

European telecoms groups have criticised proposals that would stop them prioritising higher speed or guaranteed access internet services to be voted on by the European parliament this week.

Etno, the telecoms industry body, has sent a letter criticising amendments to so-called net neutrality regulations that aim to protect the freedom of internet access. The joint letter has been sent to the draftswoman of the proposals as well as Neelie Kroes, the European commissioner for the digital agenda.

Ms Kroes will meet chief executives from the largest telecoms groups in the industry on Monday to discuss their concerns about the over-regulation of the sector. […]

Telecoms groups have in the past “throttled” certain bandwidth hogging services such as Youtube and have made a business out of offering higher speed internet to users or guaranteed services to companies.

The letter from Etno said that establishing such principles would affect the provision of specialist services such as telemedicine or e-education, as well as internet provision that can be sold for services such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for business, IP-TV, gaming online and teleconferencing.

Etno also said that the proposed text could introduce restrictions on how traffic was managed on networks.

“This would make an effective management of the network almost unworkable,” it said. “The changes foreseen in the area of open internet, together with the revenue-depressing measures in the area of roaming and the additional layers of regulation for wholesale access products, would result in an unprecedented burden on the EU telecoms sector.”

Luigi Gambardella, Etno chairman, said: “[Monday’s] vote risks derailing the original objectives of the connected continent regulation. If the changes to the open internet provisions are confirmed in the final text approved, the European digital economy will suffer and EU businesses will be put in a difficult competitive situation with respect to other areas of the world.”

The commission wants to agree the proposals before the European elections. If no deal is likely, this will carry through to the next parliament.

[WSJ] Telecoms Step Up Fight Over Net Neutrality

[...] A group of Europe's biggest telecoms, including Deutsche Telekom AG DTE.XE -0.16% and France's Orange SA, ORA.FR -1.42% is fighting provisions in a proposed European law aimed at enforcing net neutrality, a principle that Internet providers shouldn't discriminate against traffic from particular sources.

[...] Telecom providers say they should be free to set aside part of their infrastructure to sell advanced services, such as high-quality video, from particular technology or content companies. [...]

But tech companies and public-interest groups say such plans could lead to a two-tiered Internet, with some types of content available at top speed, but other content getting slower service if providers are unable to pay up.

[DW] EU-Ausschuss nicht einig über Netzneutralität

[...] Bis Mai möchte das Europaparlament entscheiden, wie es zukünftig um die Netzneutralität stehen soll. [...]

"Wenn wir über Netzneutralität diskutieren, sprechen wir in Wirklichkeit über das Schicksal des Internets", meint Felix Treguer von "La Quadrature du Net", einer französischen Aktivistengruppe, die sich für Bürgerrechte im Internet einsetzt.

Allein die Definition von Netzneutralität teilt Aktivisten und Betreiber von Telekommunikationsnetzen in zwei Lager. Treguer forderte die EU auf, Netzneutralität als Gleichbehandlung aller Arten von Internetverkehr, unabhängig von dessen Inhalt, Herkunft und Adressat, zu definieren. Die derzeitige Definition sei viel zu schwammig, dort hieße es lediglich: "Gleichwertiger Verkehr soll gleich behandelt werden". [...]

Viele neue Dienste entwickeln sich gerade und deren erweiterte Struktur bereitet Online-Rechtsgruppen Bauchschmerzen. Denn solche Dienste könnten durchaus eine bevorzugte Behandlung voraussetzen [...].

Gerade das jedoch bemängeln Kritiker wie Felix Treguer von "Quadrature du Net". [...]"Wir müssen sicherstellen", so Treguer, "dass die offene Plattform für Innovation, Wettbewerb und Kommunikationsfreiheit erhalten bleibt."

[DW] EU net neutrality vote addresses fate of Internet

[...] Members of the [European] parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy ( ITRE) will vote on a net neutrality proposal on Monday [today]. [...]

Groups in favor of net neutrality formed an online campaign - Save the Internet - calling on Europeans to contact their EU parliamentarians to enshrine net neutrality in law. [...]

"What we are discussing with the net neutrality debate is the fate of the Internet and the important legal principles that will shape the future of its architecture," said Felix Treguer, a co-founder of La Quadrature du Net, a Paris-based Internet advocacy group that is a part of the Save the Internet campaign. [...]

La Quadrature du Net's Treguer said allowing telecom operators to make deals prioritizing content from big providers, such as Google, Facebook or Amazon, would fundamentally change the Internet by providing faster access to some services and slower access to others.

"What is at stake is making sure that the open platform for innovation for competition for freedom of communication, for freedom of choice for Internet users is preserved," he said. [...]

[BoingBoing] Whatsapp abused the DMCA to censor related projects from Github

[...] Whatsapp's [...] sent a large number of spurious takedowns against projects on Github. In a DMCA notice served by Whatsapp's General Counsel to Github, a number of projects are targeted for removal on the basis that they are "content that infringes on WhatsApp Inc.'s copyrights and trademarks."

This is grossly improper. DMCA takedown notices never apply to alleged trademark violations (it's called the "Digital Millennium Copyright Act" and not the "Digital Millennium Trademark Act"). Using DMCA notices to pursue trademark infringements isn't protecting your interests -- it's using barratry-like tactics to scare and bully third parties into participating in illegitimate censorship.

[NYTimes] F.C.C. Seeks a New Path on ‘Net Neutrality’ Rules

Regulators are taking another crack at their effort to keep the web free and open, introducing new rules that would discourage Internet service providers from charging companies to stream their movies, music and other content through a faster express lane. [...]

In a strictly legal sense, the [Federal Communications Commission] F.C.C. will cite another part of the law — Section 706 of the Communications Act — for its authority. Some of the rules would also be enforced case-by-case, avoiding a “bright line” regulation that the court said was so strict that it treated broadband companies like regulated telephone service.

In taking advantage of the ruling, the F.C.C. will not seek to immediately reclassify Internet service as a telecommunications service, subject to rate regulation and other oversight. Mr. Wheeler said that the commission would retain the right to do so, however, if its new rules were approved and did not appear to be working adequately. [...]

[EurActiv] EU-US trade talks seen dragging on until mid-2016

As the European Union and the United States wrap up a week of talks on the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) in Washington, the EU still says it hopes to have something to show before the European elections in May. But observers say the real, final deadline is mid 2016, just before the US elections.

[TorrentFreak] Twitter Blocks Links, Says They're Unsafe

Twitter is refusing to link users to, the second largest torrent index on the Internet. People who attempt to access the site through Twitter get a warning that the site may be unsafe and potentially harmful. Questions to Twitter about the reason for this unusual blockade remain unanswered.

[TechPresident] After Snowden Leaks, Is a Promise Enough to Protect Digital Rights in Europe?

In Europe, a coalition of privacy and civil rights groups, known as EDRi, is pushing to keep digital rights and privacy a hot button issue through a new online petitioning platform, WePromise, strategically using the political momentum of the EU's upcoming parliamentary elections: 28 EU countries are currently immersed in electoral campaigning and between May 22nd and 25th, citizens from all over Europe will elect 751 new (and old) Members of the European Parliament. [...]

EDRi is a group of 35 privacy and civil rights organizations from all over the EU. The WePromise platform is two-sided, aimed at engaging both parliamentary candidates and EU citizens. The candidates are encouraged to sign a ten point 'Charter of Digital Rights' that supports an open digital environment: promotion of transparency, data protection and privacy legislation, reform of copyright, and control of surveillance techniques are among the key points. [...]

[ComputerWorldUK] Urgent: Please Help Save Net Neutrality in the EU

Once again, we need to save net neutrality. This time, there is a crucial vote in the European Parliament's industry committee (ITRE) next Monday. La Quadrature du Net, which has been following this area more closely than anyone, has a good summary of what is happening […]

As you can see, the central problem is still that of "specialised services" that would be given priority over other Internet traffic. Such "specialised services" are a way for telecoms companies to charge premium prices, but that necessarily implies that non-premium services are degraded in comparison (otherwise why would anyone pay more?) That, by definition, kills Net neutrality.

The good news is that we can concentrate on getting one key point across: that specialised services of this kind must not be allowed. Here's the best way we can do that according to La Quadrature:
European citizens must tell the members of the Industry committee that the only deserving approach is to reject Mrs. Pilar del Castillo Vera's so-called ''compromise amendments'' and that they should adopt the same amendments to articles 2(15) and 23 as in the LIBE committee. To preserve the Internet's contribution to innovation and freedom of communication, European law should clearly ban telecom operators from marketing specialised services that are functionally equivalent to online services delivered on the Internet, thereby bypassing Net neutrality. […]

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