Telecoms Package: Does the EU Council hate Freedom?

As the negotiations of the conciliation committee on the Telecoms Package unfold, the Council of the European Union came up with a new, alarming proposal. Member States offered to replace the notorious "amendment 138" 1, an essential safeguard for citizen's freedom, with a dangerous "knock-off" 2. But the new version is not only neutralizing citizens' protections adopted twice by 88% of the European Parliament; it reduces legal protections for online activites in an attempt to implement what looks like an open door to a repressive nightmare.

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. ".

Restricting Internet access without a prior ruling by the judicial authorities in order to detect and prevent crime? Is this the Council's vision for the future of European societies? It sounds like for them the right to a fair trial shoud only be an option.

Yesterday, La Quadrature sent to the Members of the European Parliament a letter to urge them to defend amendment 138, along with a memo debunking the Council's arguments about this fundamental provision.

More than ever, the Parliament must remain firm in its commitment to protecting the freedoms of EU citizens.

Here is the full text of the Council's unacceptable proposal :

Proposition for Article 1.3.a of the Framework directive.

"Measures taken by Member States regarding end-users' access to or use of services and applications through electronic communication networks shall respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons, including in relation to privacy, freedom of expression and access to information and due process and the right to effective judicial protection in compliance with the general principles of Community law. Any such measures shall in particular respect the principle of a fair and impartial procedure, including the right to be heard.

This paragraph is without prejudice to the competence of a Member State to determine in line with its own constitutional order and with fundamental rights appropriate procedural safeguards assuring due process. This may include requirements of a judicial decision authorising the measures to be taken and may take account of the need to adopt urgent measures in order to assure national security, defence, public security, and the prevention, investigation, detection, and prosecution of criminal offences."

  • 1. Amendment 138 is located in article 8.4 of the Framework directive
  • 2. ... which would be placed in article 1.3
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