telecoms package

Revision of the "telecoms package" directives

War on Access

By Jérémie Zimmermann.

“Article 11 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen of 1789 proclaims : "The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious rights of man. Every citizen may thus speak, write and publish freely, except when such freedom is misused in cases determined by Law". In the current state of the means of communication and given the generalized development of public online communication services and the importance of the latter for the participation in democracy and the expression of ideas and opinions, this right implies freedom to access such services. ” - Conseil Constitutionnel, decision 2009-580 (§ 12)

Ask what the next European Commission will do for our Freedoms!

Paris, November 26th 2009 - La Quadrature is calling on European citizens to submit questions aimed at finding out where the next European Commission (2010-2014) stands on EU citizens' fundamental freedoms on the Internet.

The Council of the European Union and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, just agreed1 on a college of Commissioners designate. The Parliament will now conduct hearings2 before appointing the full college.

  • 1. http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/09/522&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=fr
  • 2. More infos about the Commissionners hearings: http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Hearings_Commissioners

Telecoms Package: A Missed Opportunity for Citizen's Rights

Paris, November 24th, 2009 - There is no reason to celebrate the general outcome of the Telecoms Package. The final text voted today is far from satisfactory: while it includes some consumer protections, they fall short of compensating for the various loopholes and threats to fundamental rights contained in the rest of the text.

Europe only goes half-way in protecting Internet rights.

Brussels, November 5th, 2009 - An agreement has been reached on the Telecoms Package. The new text1 aimed at protecting Internet access includes positive elements such as a reference to the right to a "prior fair and impartial procedure" as well as the presumption of innocence. It also contains ambiguous language and potential loopholes. This rather unambitious provision will now be up for interpretation, and it remains to be seen whether it will invalidate Net access restrictions such as "three strikes" policies.

Will the EP turns its back on Internet rights?

Brussels, November 4th 2009 - On the eve of a crucial conciliation meeting that will decide on the fate of the "Telecoms Package", the European Parliament must decide whether it will keep its promise to protect citizens rights online. Will the European Parliament send a dangerous message to Member States by assenting to extrajudicial restrictions of Internet access? Should fundamental rights be sacrificed in an attempt to finish Telecoms Package at any cost?

"Three strikes" in Europe, on Wednesday?

Paris, November 2nd, 2009 - The negotiations on the Telecoms Package might come to a close on Wednesday. The Council of the European Union is still pushing for "three strikes" policies in Europe but is also attempting to allow private corporations to restrict citizens' Internet access. Will the European Parliament continue to hide behind a disputable legal argumentation provided by the rapporteur Catherine Trautmann, and accept the unacceptable for the future of Internet access in Europe?

A campaign page1 has been set up to allow everyone to contact Members of the European Parliament and urge them to refuse any proposal from the Council allowing "three strikes" policies in Europe, and to explicitly protect EU citizens' freedom to access the Net.

Net Freedoms in Europe: Recapitulating the capitulation

The European Parliament delegation led by Catherine Trautmann recently gave up on protecting EU citizens against arbitrary restrictions of their Internet access. In order to reach an agreement and avoid a clash with Member States, the Parliament retracted its support to the core element of notorious "amendment 138" : prior judicial decision before restrictions to access and usage of the Internet. This protection of citizens' fundamental rights against arbitrary restrictions of their Internet access came a long way. Here is a little restrospective on the "stations of the cross" of amendement 138.

(See also the rewording of amendment 138, preserving its core principles while adressing legal uncertainty, that was transmitted to MEPs last week)

Amendment 138 dead by lack of courage of the Parliament

Strasbourg, October 21st, 2009 - Yesterday, representatives of the European Parliament, an institution that ordinarily prides itself for protecting human rights at home and abroad, decided to surrender to the pressure exerted by Member States. The Parliament gave up on amendment 138, a provision adopted on two occasions by an 88% majority of the plenary assembly, and which aims at protecting citizens' freedom in the online world. Instead of ensuring that no restriction to Internet access would be imposed without the prior ruling of a judge, amendment 138 will instead be replaced by a weak provision1, that does not carry any new important safeguard for citizen's freedoms.

Amendment 138: Why does Trautmann persevere in giving up?

Strasburg, October 20th, 2009 – Rapporteur on the Telecoms Package, Catherine Trautmann will try once again to push a replacement for amendment 138. Her proposal replaces the effective protection of freedom of expression thanks to a prior judicial decision before three-strike types of sanctions can take place by "the right to an effective and timely judicial review". But can the right to a fair trial be a reality for someone who is deprived of the access to the Internet, the essential means of expression and communication in todays' world ?

Amendment 138: European Parliament cannot give up citizens' freedoms

Strasbourg, October 19th 2009 - European Consumers unions and Internet service providers join La Quadrature du Net and numerous NGOs to urge the European Parliament not to give up the fundamental rights of EU citizens. The ongoing conciliation phase of the Telecoms Package will give the Parliament an opportunity to stand once again against arbitrary restrictions of Internet access.

Amendment 138: The Parliament betrayed by its negotiators

Brussels, October 14th, 2009 - Negotiations on the Telecoms Package took a worrying turn for citizens rights and freedoms. The European Parliament Delegation was betrayed by its negotiators, led by Catherine Trautmann (S&D) and Alejo Vidal-Quadras (EPP). In total contradiction with the mandate given by their colleagues representing the Parliament, the negotiators unilaterally accepted to work on a proposal by the Council of the EU that negates citizens' rights1. This dangerous proposition is set to replace "amendment 138", voted twice by 88% of the Parliament.

European Parliament must reject dangerous replacement of amendment 138

La Quadrature du Net sent a letter and a memo1 to the Members of the European Parliament to urge them to protect their prerogatives by rejecting the Council's dangerous proposal2 to replace amendment 138. For the Council, the right to a due process, which is crucial to preserve justice in a democracy, could be limited "in order to assure national security, defence, public security, and the prevention, investigation, detection, and prosecution of criminal offences."
Amendment 138 is necesary to make sure that Internet-related legislation will protect the fundamental rights guaranteed by Community law. It is now time for both institutions to work in a spirit of cooperation to perfect the wording of amendement 138 while preserving its core principle.

Amendment 138: The European Parliament must stand up against the Council

Paris, October 5th 2009 - Negotiations have begun between the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on "amendment 138"1, which protects citizens against restrictions on their Internet access. The Council wants to neutralize it, but has yet to express publicly what specific parts of the text member States oppose. As the Parliament voted twice for this amendment, by a very strong majority, it must now stand firm and show EU citizens that it is committed to protecting their fundamental rights.

  • 1. am.138 states “the principle that no restriction maybe imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of end-users without a prior ruling of the judicial authorities, notably in accordance with Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union on freedom of expression and information, save when public security is threatened, in which case the ruling may be subsequent.“

Will the European Parliament take its last chance to save citizens' rights?

Brussels, Sept 30th - The European Parliament decided on Sept. 28th that it would not attempt to fix the provisions endangering Net neutrality in the "Telecoms Package"1. Only "amendment 138"2, which protects citizens against restriction of their fundamental rights, will be negotiated during the conciliation procedure3 that is just about to start. In the upcoming meetings, either the rapporteur Trautmann will have the courage to stand in order to defend people's rights to access the Net, or the Parliament will just bow before the Council and give up European citizens' freedoms.

Net Neutrality: EU must neither give up competitiveness nor freedoms.

Paris, September 24th - La Quadrature du Net sent a letter to the French ministers in charge of the Telecoms Package1 to ask them to protect Net neutrality in the European Union, as they enter into final negotiations on this major reform. At a time when the United States are moving towards enforcing a principle that is crucial for competition, innovation and citizen freedoms, Europe cannot suffer an anti-Net neutrality legislation. La Quadrature publishes a complete dossier2, along with a 2-pager memo3 on the topic and invites all European citizens to contact their representatives in the Council4, as well as the 27 MEPs who will sit in the conciliation committee5.

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