Citizens, NGOs: Oppose EU Commission's Plans Against our Freedoms Online!

The European Commission has begun a process to modify its copyright, patent and trademark enforcement laws with the revision of the IPRED “anti-sharing” directive. By stepping up enforcement in the spirit of the ACTA agreement, the Commission wants to turn Internet companies into a copyright police. This would have disastrous consequences on online free speech, the right to privacy and the right to a fair trial. Every EU citizen and NGO is invited to participate to the consultation process to defend fundamental rights and express their views on alternatives to blind and dangerous enforcement. La Quadrature has published its *draft* answer and a wiki guide to help everyone participate.

French Constitutional Council Validates Internet Censorship

Paris, March 10th, 2011 — The French Constitutional Council has released its decision1 regarding the LOPPSI bill. Judges held that article 4 of the bill, which allows the executive branch to censor the Net under the pretext of fighting child pornography, is not contrary to the Constitution. In doing so, the constitutional court has failed to protect fundamental freedoms on the Internet, and in particular freedom of expression. Hopes lie now in European institutions, which are the only ones with the power to prohibit or at least supervise administrative website blocking and its inherent risks of abuse.

LQDN Responds to the Parliamentary Pre-report on Net Neutrality

La Quadrature du Net sent its response (in French) to the pre-report prepared by the French Parliament's working group on Net neutrality.

EU Governments United Against the Knowledge Society?

With the upcoming revision of the 2004 "Intellectual Property Rights" Enforcement Directive (IPRED), the European Union is getting ready to toughen up the war on sharing of culture in the digital environment. The Member States, gathered in the EU Council, have set up a working group to work on the revision of IPRED. An internal document dated February 4th clearly suggests that the Council is also taking the side of the patent, trademark and copyright lobbies, who want to push for even more extremist measures to deal with online copyright infringements. If nothing is done to stop them, freedom of communication on the Internet, the right to privacy and access to culture will be durably undermined in the name of baseless policies.

French Parliament to Consider Net Neutrality Law

Update (March 1st) : The bill on Net Neutrality was rejected by 311 vs. 218. Nevertheless, all the French Members of Parliament who spoke ahead of the vote agreed on the necessity to keep on working on the issue in order to enact a legislative protection of Net neutrality.

French Government Wants to Sacrifice Net Neutrality

Paris, 8 February 2011 – French Minister for Digital Economy, Éric Besson, has called for an end to Net Neutrality, a principle on which there seemed to be consensus among French and European decision-makers1. By giving telecom operators the possibility to sell prioritized access to the network, the government would put an end to equality among Internet users. Time after time, Nicolas Sarkozy's vision of the “Civilized Internet” that he is promoting at the G8/G20 level is coming to light: an Internet controlled by the State and by telecommunications and entertainment industries, while fundamental liberties are shunted to the side.

French LOPPSI Bill Adopted: The Internet under Control?

Paris, February 8th 2011 – Yesterday afternoon, the French Parliament voted the LOPPSI bill whose 4th article1 enables administrative censorship of the Internet, using child protection as a Trojan horse. Over time, such an extra-judiciary set-up will enable a generalized censorship of all Internet content. Consistent with Nicolas Sarkozy projects for a “Civilized Internet”, administrative censorship of the Internet opens the door to dangerous abuse while leaving pedophiles and pedo-pornography to prosper.

  • 1. “When the necessities of the fight against the distribution of images or representations of minors relative to the dispositions of article 227-23 of the Penal Code justify it, the administrative authority notifies the persons mentioned at 1[online access providers] of the Internet addresses to which these persons must at once block access to.”
    “A decree specifies the terms of application of the above paragraph, including those according to which online access providers are compensated, if necessary, for the additional costs resulting from the obligation made to said online access providers.”; Translated from the official text.

WikiLeaks Cables Shine Light on ACTA History

La Quadrature du Net obtained exclusive access to the WikiLeaks US diplomatic cables regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Although they only give a partial account of the history of this secretly-negotiated agreement, these cables shed an interesting light on the coming into being of ACTA. They show the prime role of the US in the advent of this extremist imposition of violent sanctions against citizens and their fundamental rights. The cables expose the stakes and debates surrounding the participation of developing countries, as well as the evolution of the position of European Union during the negotiations.

EU Commission Pushes For Private "Cooperation" Against Our Freedoms

On January 26th, two members of the European Parliament1 wrote to the Commission to ask about the ongoing “Stakeholder's Dialogue on Online Copyright Infringements” organized by the EU Commission (DG Internal Market2). For more than a year, the Commission has been convening regular meetings with the copyright lobbies and Internet Service Providers (telecoms operators, hosting platforms and search engines) in order to foster “cooperation” between them. But under the guise of “cooperation”, and under the threat of legislation, the Commission and rights-holders are pressuring ISPs to become the private copyright police of the Internet.

LQDN at the EU Commission's Ad Hoc Meeting on ACTA

Today, La Quadrature du Net is attending the European Commission's meeting on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

IPRED Consultation Is Decisive For the Future of the Internet

A few days ago, the European Commission launched a new consultation on its report regarding the "Intellectual Property Rights" (IPR) enforcement directive (IPRED). The Commission's services who drafted this report (Internal Market Directorate General) exhibit a profound misunderstanding of current technologies, as they seek to apply an unadapted copyright regime to this new digital era. That's why it is so important that all interested citizens and NGOs take the time to submit an answer to the consultation, to tell the Commission to turn away from dogmatic repression and instead embrace the promises of the online creative economy.

In Defense of Free Culture in Brazil

La Quadrature reproduces an open letter by the Brazilian civil society (dates December 28th, 2010). Many Brazilians worry that the ongoing changes at the Ministry of Culture will jeopardize the progressive policies put in place by Gilberto Gil, when he was head of the Ministry (2003-2008) and its successor Juca Ferreira (2008-2011).

European Commission Plans for All-Out War Against Sharing

The European Commission just launched a new consultation on its disastrously dogmatic report on IPRED, a directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, adopted by the EU in 2004. The report -- whose logic is similar to ACTA -- is based on an analysis of the application of IPRED. It calls for the massive filtering of the Internet to tackle file-sharing: according to the Commission, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should "cooperate" in the war against sharing to avoid the threat of litigation.

Net Censorship Comes Before the EU Parliament

Last Spring, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, presented a proposal for a directive to combat child exploitation. Unfortunately, this very important and sensitive matter is used to introduce dangerous provisions regarding Internet blocking, which could pave the way for a wider censorship of the Internet in Europe. The EU Parliament must absolutely reject this Trojan horse and uphold the fundamental rights of EU citizens.

The EU Must Stop Hungarian Net Censorship

La Quadrature du Net joins the blackout operation launched by Hungarian civil rights activists who oppose the newly enacted media law. Everybody is invited to join the blackout and contact their representatives to oppose any kind of censorship in the European Union.

U.S. Fails to Offer Convincing Net Neutrality Policy

On December 21st, the U.S Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a new order aimed at protecting Net neutrality. This is a first step. Unfortunately, the rules passed by the FCC suffer from serious flaws which make them ill-suited to protect the neutral and open nature of the Internet. As the European Commission continues to work on its report regarding Net neutrality, the U.S example shows the importance of adopting strong protections to prevent network operators from destroying an Internet ecosystem based on free speech and open innovation.

Administrative Net Censorship adopted in France; Pedophiles unworried

Paris, December 15th 2010 - The French Parliament adopted article 4 of the LOPPSI law, which establishes the administrative filtering of the Net through the Trojan horse of "child protection". Such a scheme will allow for the generalised censorship of Internet content while doing nothing to stop pedophiles and child pornography. The rejection of judiciary supervision clearly illustrates the will of the executive branch to control the Internet.

ACTA: Updated Analysis of the Final Version

Following the release of the final, legally-verified version of ACTA (dated December 3rd), we have updated our analysis of the most worrying provisions of this dangerous anti-counterfeiting agreement.


Wikileaks and the Control of the Internet

Op'Ed by Jérémie Zimmermann initially published in French in Mediapart

WikiLeaks has become the symbol of disturbing information that can't be stopped. Recent declarations and actions against the organization clearly expose the will of governments to control the Internet. From now on, it seems that both sides are fighting a battle that could be one of the most important that we must wage for the future of our democracies. On one side, those who would like to put the Internet under control, through administrative or privatized censorship, in order to remain in power. On the other, citizens of the word at large ready build networked societies in which the sharing of knowledge, freedom of expression and the increased transparency allowed for by the Internet must be protected and strengthened at all costs.

European Parliament: Who is For and Who is Against ACTA?

After last week's rejection of the joint resolution on the anti-Counterfeiting Tade Agreement (ACTA) by the European Parliament, and the adoption of a bad, pro-ACTA resolution tabled by the conservative EPP group, La Quadrature has analyzed the results of the vote. The final result of the vote was 306 for, and 322 against (with 26 abstentions). The results show an overall polarized poll, with the bulk of the political groups who tabled the resolution voting in favor (S&D, ALDE, Greens/EFA, EUL/NGL), while the Conservatives rejected it (EPP and ECR). But details show that some MEPs did not follow their group's position. The overall picture gives a clear view of who to convince in order to obtain a full rejection of ACTA during the upcoming consent vote.