News

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.

Memo: Improving Amendment 138 While Preserving its Core Principles

The Council of the European Union opposes amendment 1381 for reasons that are still unclear. However, the Commission has come up with a new proposal2, supposedly backed by the Council, which could allow for worrying exceptions to the fundamental rights guaranteed by Community law. However, there are good-faith concerns about the current wording of amendment 138. Although its core principles need to be preserved, amendment 138 can and should be improved to better respect the Community legal order.

This memo (download this memo as a PDF file) aims to:
i) point out the dangerous elements of the Commission's new proposal;
ii) outline various aspects of amendment 138 that could be improved to better fit Community law;
iii) explain how a reworded provision could preserve the core principles of amendment 138

  • 1. Amendment 138: Article 8.4.g of the Framework Directive. (...) "No restriction may be imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of end-users, without a prior ruling by 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."
  • 2. Commission's new compromise proposal: Article 1.3.a of the Framework directive. "Measures taken by the Member States regarding end-users' access to and use of services and applications through electronic communications 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 measure 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. These may include a requirement of a judicial decision authorising the measures to be taken and may take account of the need to adopt urgent 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".

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.

La Quadrature's response to the post-i2010 consultation

La Quadrature du Net published its position paper regarding the post-i2010 consultation launched by the European Commission. La Quadrature calls on the Commission to focus on Internet users' rights, particularly by mandating Net neutrality and reforming the European copyright regime.

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.

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.

Telecoms Package: Why the European Parliament must fight for amendment 138

On Monday, September 28th, the Conciliation committee on the Telecoms Package – a major reform of the Telecommunications sector in the European Union (EU) – started discussing contentious provisions that remain in the text. Early May, Rapporteurs for the EP and diplomats from the Council of the EU reached a consensus on the whole package, but one amendment that was finally passed by the Parliament : the notorious amendment 138. This fundamental provision is now at the heart of the negotiation.

Concerns About Article 20, 21 and Recital 26 of the Telecoms Package

Summary: Amendments to the Universal Service directive pushed by American Telco AT&T currently allow operators to implement anti-Net neutrality measures. These provisions:

  • are mainly targeted to allow a Net discrimination
  • are harmful for the growth and innovation models of the Internet,
  • are a clear disincentive to the model based on cost-efficient bandwidth-based investments,
  • are against the benefit of consumers,
  • raise concerns about the protection of fundamental rights and freedom of European citizens.

Act now! The future of EU Internet may be sealed tonight.

Brussels, September 28th - The first conciliation meeting on the Telecoms Package will take place tonight at 7:30PM. In this meeting, 27 Members of the European Parliament will decide on the future of Internet in Europe. They will choose whether to fix or maintain the dreadful anti-Net neutrality dispositions voted in second reading by the Parliament, under the influence of AT&T. Rapporteurs and representatives of the Swedish Presidency opposed this idea so far. European citizens only have a few hours to urge MEPs to preserve Europe's innovation, competition, and citizen's fundamental rights.

Net Neutrality: letter to the ministers in charge

La Quadrature du Net sent a letter to the French ministers in charge of the Telecoms Package to ask them to protect Net neutrality in the European Union, as they enter into final negotiations regarding this major reform.

Here is an english translation you can adapt to the context of your Member State:

Dear Minister,

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.

Yet another adoption of liberty killer “three strikes” law in France.

Paris, September 22nd, 2009 - The French Parliament has adopted HADOPI 2, a law aimed at establishing a so-called “three-strikes” policy in order to fight file-sharing. The Constitutional Council made groundbreaking decision on June 10th 2009 that recognized access to the Internet as essential to the full exercise of free speech, and invalidated the sanctioning power of HADOPI 1. The law HADOPI 2, despite the internet cutoff now being handled in an expedient form of judicial justice, it is as flawed and dangerous as its predecessor, for it was only designed to circumvent the Constitutional Council's decision. The war on sharing continues its way as HADOPI 2 will go through the constitutional test again.

Why would EU sacrifice Internet Freedoms?

Updated on Sept 21st: The list of MEPs that will be part of the Parliament delegation in the conciliation committee is now official.

Paris, September 21th 2009 - The conciliation of the EU "Telecoms Package"1 will begin in a few days. 27 Members of the European Parliament and representatives of the executive branches of the 27 Member States will negotiate the text in closed-doors meetings. The outcome of these discussions will shape the future of Internet users' freedoms in Europe. EU citizens must ask their representatives to adopt firm positions to protect their citizens' fundamental rights and defend Net neutrality2.

Following the US Example, Europe Must Act Now to Protect Net Neutrality

As the United States moves forward to guarantee Net Neutrality, the European Union is on the verge of passing a major reform of the telecommunications sector that contains provisions threatening the open, non-discriminatory nature of the Internet. If Europe were to adopt the telecom package as it stands now, it would risk further undermining its position as one of the top leaders of the information age.

We Must Protect Net Neutrality in Europe! - Open letter to the European Parliament

Paris, September 16th 2009 - We Must Protect Net Neutrality1 in Europe! Organizations from all around Europe share their concern of seeing Net Neutrality being sacrificed during the conciliation procedure of the directives of the EU Telecoms Package. They sent this letter to the Members of the European Parliament, urging them to take decisive action in order to guarantee a free, open and innovative Internet, and to safeguard the fundamental freedoms of European citizens.

Organizations can sign this letter using the form below.

  • 1. See our work-in-progress guide about Net Neutrality: http://www.laquadrature.net/en/net_neutrality

Telecoms Package: preparation for a third reading

updated: Sept 21st.The list of MEPs that will be part of the EP delegation conciliation committee is now official.
updated: Sept 17th.European directives of the "Telecoms Package" are advancing through the codecision process of the EU. As soon as the Council of the EU formally rejects any amendment voted by the European Parliament in second reading1, the Telecoms Package will enter the conciliation procedure. In this closed negotiation (between 27 representatives of the Council of the EU and 27 representatives of the European Parliament), the fate of an open, free and neutral Internet in the EU will be decided. Here is a quick guide to understanding this procedure, and participating now to urge open-minded and progressive MEPs to take part in the conciliation committee (There are only a few days left as the decision are already taking place.).

  • 1. This formal rejection of the European Parliament's 2nd reading amendments by the Council triggers the countdown to the conciliation phase. In practice, negotiations could start as soon as the composition of the conciliation committee is known.