The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.
The Canada-European Union trade agreement (CETA) finds itself in a strange situation. Although Canada and the EU announced that "a political agreement" on the key elements had been reached, there has still been no formal release of the text. Fortunately, we have had several leaks of CETA documents, handily gathered on a new site devoted to them (and to those of the TAFTA/TTIP talks). One of the most recent leaks is of the chapter dealing with corporate sovereignty. It's dated February 14, and shows a large number of alternative versions, which indicates that despite the "political agreement", CETA is far from done. [...]
We don't know, because we don't have a full copy of the latest CETA draft. If we did, then independent experts could go through it and warn of other flawed passages, thus avoiding serious problems in years to come when it is too late to change anything.
This, then, is another key reason why negotiating texts must be made available as they are drafted, not after they have been signed: Linus' Law, that "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow," applies to international agreements as well as to software code. But the big difference is that for programming, it's a question of how well code runs; with things like CETA, TTIP and TPP, what's at stake is the potentially huge economic and social damage that can be caused by loopholes and carelessly-worded clauses in these far-reaching international agreements.
O comité da indústria do Parlamento Europeu aprovou um pacote legislativo do qual resultará o fim das taxas de roaming na União Europeia. Mas o conjunto de leis aprovado abre caminho também para o lançamento de “serviços especializados”. [...]
Alguns grupos acreditam que as regras mais flexíveis sobre a neutralidade da rede serão uma contrapartida para as empresas de telecomunicações, face à perda das receitas de roaming. “A votação de hoje é um sinal do enorme do poder de ‘lobby’ dos grandes operadores de telecomunicações no processo legislativo europeu. As grandes lacunas do regulamento terão de ser corrigidas quando o Parlamento Europeu fizer a sua votação final daqui a poucas semanas”, disse Miriam Artino, jurídico e analista político da organização La Quadrature du Net.
Brazil’s Congress is days away from voting on Marco Civil, the country’s first major Internet legislation, and the big issue at stake is net neutrality.
The bill, known as the “Constitution of the Internet,” has three major themes: net neutrality, freedom of expression, and Internet security. It had been rolling around Congress for two years until Edward Snowden’s revelations of the NSA spying on Brazilians — including the president — prompted President Dilma Rousseff to prioritize the bill, suspending voting on all other legislation.
[...] “Without neutrality, the Internet looks more like cable TV, where providers can offer different service packages,” said Ronaldo Lemos, a law professor, partner with PNM Advogados, director of the Institute for Technology & Society in Rio de Janeiro, and board member at Mozilla. “Basic service would include email and the social networks. ‘Premium’ would let you watch videos and listen to music. ‘Super Premium’ would let you download. Today that sounds like an aberration, but without net neutrality, it’s a possibility.”
[...] Mass mobilization in support of net neutrality has been the result of efforts by the same players who rose to prominence during Brazil’s coming-of-age protests that started last June. They are precisely the kinds of bare-bones budget, activist websites that could suffer discriminated access if net neutrality does not pass.
A draft law on net neutrality passed an European Parliament committee Tuesday 30 to 12, with 14 members abstaining. Although the draft law purports to protect net neutrality, it contains vague language that would allow ISPs to charge websites more for higher quality of service, provided it does not degrade other online services. [...]
The advocacy organization La Quadrature du Net has called the provisions above [in the regulation] “major loopholes.”
La Quadrature du Net co-founder, Félix Tréguer said:
What is at stake in this regulation is no less than the fate of the Internet commons. Are we going to let big telecom operators and Internet giants dictate the terms of the digital economy or will lawmakers adopt strong binding principles making sure that the Internet remains a decentralized platform for freedom of communication and innovation, where citizens and new entrants can challenge entrenched players? This is the crucial question that will soon be addressed through the upcoming plenary vote, and one that citizens should ask to their elected representative in Brussels ahead of the upcoming EU elections.
A European telecom law approved by a committee today is intended to prevent Internet service providers from blocking or slowing down Web applications, but lets ISPs charge content providers for higher quality of service. Critics say this allowance will create an Internet "fast lane" and undermine the principles of net neutrality, that Internet service providers should treat all traffic equally. […]
Non-government organizations that oppose the legislation set up a website titled, Save the Internet. "Right now big companies like Microsoft and Facebook are on the same level as our Blogs or Podcasts," the site says. "But if the definition of 'specialized services' isn't fixed, these companies will be in the fast lane on the data highway, leaving start-ups and non-commercial websites like Wikipedia in the slow lane."
Save the Internet claimed that the regulation will let ISPs "block content without any judicial oversight." The committee's announcement disputes that, but a Save The Internet spokesperson argued that "Although the proposal explicitly prohibits blocking and throttling, it authorizes new forms of discrimination that would have the same effect, by allowing exclusive and restrictive commercial deals between Internet access providers and service provider." […]
Glyn Moody describes how, following a recent leak of the ISDS chapter of the CETA treaty, was analysed and an important loophole was discovered. Because of this, Moody writes, "Rupert Schlegelmilch, director of services, investment and procurement at DG Trade, speaking on behalf of the Commission [...] the EU is rethinking a “Most Favoured Nation” (MFN) article in the CETA investment chapter that new analysis suggests undermines much of the more careful language in the treaty relating to a government's ability to regulate. As written, the MFN article would let Canadian and EU investors ignore the definitions of “fair and equitable treatment” or “indirect expropriation” in CETA and take other more investor-friendly language from past agreements signed by either party."
Moody argues that the Linus rule - that open software contains fewer nasty bugs as there are many more people who scrutinise it - can apply to international treaties also.
He then writes that "One aspect of TTIP that has not been discussed much yet concerns intellectual monopolies. [...] The question is: will the US try to use TAFTA/TTIP to bring in ACTA-like measures? Since everything is being negotiated behind closed doors, we don't yet know, but I'm confident we'll soon see some leaks that give us an insight into this crucial area. "
The European Parliament’s industry committee has passed Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes’s big telecoms legislation package, including a contentious section covering net neutrality.
The legislation is ostensibly supposed to entrench the principles of net neutrality in European law for the first time, guaranteeing that broadband and mobile providers treat all internet services equally. [...]
According to Miriam Artino, legal and policy analyst at digital rights group La Quadrature du Net, the Tuesday vote was “a sign of the massive lobbying influence of big telecom operators over the European legislative process,” but all is not lost:
“The regulation’s big loopholes will have to be corrected when the European Parliament casts its final vote in a few weeks. The many MEPs who have proposed constructive amendments at the committee stage now have an opportunity to table new amendments across party lines so as to ensure that the general interest prevails over the short-term commercial interests of the telecom industry.”
The [European Parliament's industry] committee voted [...] to approve the Telecoms Single Market package, which includes an end to roaming charges from December 2015 and new rules for ISPs. While it explicitly bans blocking and throttling of Internet traffic, it leaves the door open for "specialized services."
"Today's vote is a sign of the massive lobbying influence of big telecom operators over the European legislative process. The regulation's big loopholes will have to be corrected when the European Parliament casts its final vote in a few weeks," said Miriam Artino, legal and policy analyst at La Quadrature du Net.
[...] [Edward] Snowden, in his second remote talk in eight days [...] urged online businesses to encrypt their websites immediately. "The biggest thing that an internet company in America can do today, right now, without consulting lawyers, to protect users of the internet around the world is to enable web encryption on every page you visit," he said. [...]
He said securing our basic freedoms is not a partisan issue. "People who have enjoyed a free and open internet, it's up to us to preserve that liberty for the next generations."
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.