European Parliament rejects graduated response

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Paris, Thursday, April 10. The European Parliament adopted a resolution this morning which commits the member states – therefore France – “to avoid adopting measures conflicting with civil liberties and human rights and with the principles of proportionality, effectiveness and dissuasiveness, such as the interruption of Internet access.”[1] This vote proves that the system of graduated response that Nicolas Sarkozy wants France to adopt quickly and to extend to Europe during the French Presidency of the EU, is seen as contrary to human rights by a majority of MEPs.

This vote is a strong signal in the direction of France. It comes in support of the position of the Swedish government which had already rejected the graduated response. [1] The rapporteur Guy Bono brought this resolution, which is supported by members from all political sides, stated yesterday in plenary:

“On this subject, I am firmly opposed to the position of some Member States, whose repressive measures are dictated by industries that have been unable to change their business model to face necessities imposed by the information society. The cut of Internet access is a disproportionate measure regarding the objectives. It is a sanction with powerful effects, which could have profound repercussions in a society where access to the Internet is an imperative right for social inclusion.”

The Squaring the Net initiative, that wrote a 3 page letter[2] monday to MEPs, welcomes this vote. We thank all the elected officials who voted for the amendments that led to this result. We also thank all the associations for the defense of liberties we worked with to raise awareness among MEPs on the topic, through e-mail and telephone. We invite the French Prime Minister, Francois Fillon, to take this vote into account, and therefore not to submit the Olivennes Bill (french graduated response) to the French Parliament.

As explained in the report by the professor of criminal law Jean Cedras [3] that the minister Renaud Donnedieu De Vabres had sought to bury in his time, “the idea of an automatic graduated response, as tempting as it seemed [to the French government and the right-holders], should be abandoned.”

** References

[1] position of the Swedish Government [FR]

[2] Letter from the Squaring the net to Members of the European Parliament [FR]

[3] Cedras Report [FR]