Telecoms Package : the spectre of the graduated response hangs over Europe

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Brussels, September 3rd, 2008. MEPs, representatives of the European Commission and Council have discussed yesterday in plenary session, in Brussels, the reform of European law on electronic communications (Telecoms Package).

Among the fifty Members of European Parliament (MEPs) who spoke, only a minority defended the provisions relating to copyright and content that were introduced by some parliamentary committees last July. Several MEPs conversely requested that these provisions be removed as hazardous to human rights.

The very same morning, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) published a critical comment on several of these amendments (amendments 9, 30, 76, 81, 112, 130 and 134 brought in IMCO by British Conservative MEP Malcolm Harbour).

The EDPS, as an independent EU authority in charge of personal data protection, considers that these amendments are an open invitation to a “mass surveillance of Internet users” and to “lay the foundations” of the graduated response. The EDPS confirms by the way the analysis that La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net) had published in July, like many other notes that were sent to MEPs1Please refer to the attached files below: notes to be passed on to MEPs.

La Quadrature du Net therefore strongly denounces the remarks made by the appalling representatives of the French presidency, Luc Chatel and Eric Besson, who explained that the graduated response respects the rights of citizens. How can they keep holding this speech in view of the EDPS advice?

“The EDPS report is a real blow to promoters of the graduated response; it is incredible that some MEPs and the French presidency still act as though nothing happened. In any case, Parliament has the opportunity to show that the citizen-protective Europe is not a fiction.” said Christophe Espern, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net).

Jérémie Zimmermann, also co-founder, adds: “MEPs must recognize that the purpose of the Telecoms Package is to protect consumers, rather than giving away their privacy. Citizens should call their representatives in the European parliament and explain them.”

La Quadrature du Net therefore invites European citizens to contact their MEPs so that they vote, during the Telecoms Package vote on September 23rd, for the removal of the amendments the EDPS criticized. MEPs must protect privacy, whatever the French presidency and the lobbies it serves require.


1 Please refer to the attached files below: notes to be passed on to MEPs