The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.
Wikinews has learned that at least six of the United Kingdom's main Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have implemented monitoring and filtering mechanisms that are causing major problems for UK contributors on websites operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, amongst up to 1200 other websites. Wikinews has also learned that some ISPs have blocked customers from accessing some Wikimedia websites including the free, online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, altogether. The filters appear to be applied because Wikimedia sites are hosting a Scorpions album cover which some would call child pornography. The Scorpions is the band behind "Rock You Like a Hurricane" and produced a number of controversial album covers.
The following notice has appeared on Wikipedia today when many UK users attempt to edit content:
"Wikipedia has been added to a Internet Watch Foundation UK website blacklist, and your Internet service provider has decided to block part of your access. Unfortunately, this also makes it impossible for us to differentiate between different users, and block those abusing the site without blocking other innocent people as well."
Thousands of internet users have been told they'll be taken to court unless they pay hundreds of pounds for illegally downloading and sharing hardcore porn movies.
« In the war on terror, the notion of privacy has been altered” he continued. “General surveillance raises serious democratic problems which are not answered by the repeated assertion that those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear. This puts the onus in the wrong place: It should be for States to justify the interferences they seek to make on privacy rights.»
Pan-european activism for patching a "pirated" law
La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net) is a citizen group informing about legislative projects menacing civil liberties as well as economic and social development in the digital age. Supported by international NGOs (EFF, OSI, ORG, Internautas, Netzwerk Freies Wissen, April, etc.), it aims at providing infrastructure for pan-European activism about such topics as network neutrality, privacy, "graduated response", etc.
From May to September 24th 2007, a campaign was setup to raise elected representatives', journalists' and public's awareness into the legislative hijack, by the content industries, of the European network regulation law ("Telecoms Package"). A strong mobilization around serious bits of analysis, and proper community tools helped to really influence things.
La Quadrature du Net was built with the aim of bridging gaps between concerned NGOs across different European countries, providing analysis, pointers, tools and methods allowing everyone to participate on those key issues.
Many good solutions were brought into the text, cleaning the most disturbing parts of it (yet leaving some problematic bits), by constructing dialogues with concerned members of European Parliament (MEPs), producing legal and political analysis, and helping European citizens to participate.
Europe's telecoms ministers have chosen to ignore the wishes of the European Parliament and have removed Amendment 138 from the Telecoms Package at their EU Telecoms Ministers meeting yesterday.
The amendment, passed by the Parliament at the end of September by an 88 per cent majority, set out to foot-trip moves to impose variants of 'three strikes' laws across Europe (seeTelecomTV coverage on 'telecoms package').
The amendment to the package reinforced basic rights of due process and mandated court involvement for any individual Internet disconnection. In effect it said that ISPs can't just cut people off willy-nilly, but would have to get a court order to do it.
Now, according to French Internet rights group, La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net) the excision was made "on the vague pretext that the wording was too broad".
Im EU-Ministerrat haben sich Österreich und Dänemark dafür ausgesprochen, den Zusatz 138 des EU-Parlaments in die Universaldiensterichtlinie aufzunehmen. Doch die französische Ratspräsidentschaft fegte den Zusatz beiseite. Das Ringen um das Telekompaket wird sich nun mindestens bis April 2009 hinziehen.
But that's not too bad an outcome, because it seems to have taken most of the "three strikes" nonsense with it, as this full explanation makes clear:
Looking at the final versions of the five amended EU Directives that form the Telecoms Package, it seems that yes, Amendment 138 (which made sanctions against 'unlawful content' subject to due process of law) has indeed disappeared. But so have some elements of another part of the Package that said that national telecoms regulators should regulate lawful and unlawful content. What was particularly worrying about those provisions was that they referred to another part of the Package that mandated co-operation between national regulators and telecoms industry providers - i.e. ISPs and the big telecoms carriers.
Of course, it ain't over until it's over....
Tomorrow the Telecoms Package comes under another round of scrutiny as the German government comes out against its proposed telco data retention law.
Ominously the package as currently drafted is missing the all-important and hard-won Amendment 138 (supported by TelecomTV's Throttle the Package campaign) which appears to have been written out of the draft, much to the chagrin of interested observers. Such is the opaqueness of European politics that nobody is sure what this means.
Amendment 138, you might remember, was the last hour addition to the Telecoms Package to prevent a Europe-wide green light for so-called 3 strikes national laws (where users are disconnected from the Internet for downloading copyright-protected files). The gist of the amendment was that due process must be maintained over the matter of copyright enforcement - that meant that laws shouldn't be passed, or national policies implemented, that involved any sort of arbitrary disconnection of users from the Internet without proper legal scrutiny and at the very least the right of appeal.
But also strangely disappeared is one of the original package amendments which paved the way for three strikes by mandating regulators to promote 'lawful content'.
Tomorrow it should become clear what's happened to Amendment 138, what the likelihood is for Europe-wide 3 Strikes laws being introduced, and where the fight should go from here.
The French European Council Presidency no longer wants to deal with the especially thorny issue of fighting internet copyright infringement within the framework of the revised telecoms package. The Presidency made its views known in a draftPDF of a Council position paper expected to be finalised on Thursday by the Telecommunications Council, which has the lead on the issue. With its suggested compromise, France is hoping to speed up the legislative process and, at the same time, reach a consensus amongst all of the EU councils without a second reading in the European Parliament.
The French draft of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive revision also contains a simplified version of European Parliament Amendment 181 regarding processing of connection and location data. Civil-rights activists had been up in arms about the amendment in its original form because it permitted "voluntary data storage". The German government had also voiced reservations about the amendment. The new version now simply states that traffic may only be stored to the extent that it is "strictly necessary" for maintaining the functionality and security of the network.