Say No to Sarkozy’s European Takeover!

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Paris, November 20th 2008 − Essential rights and freedoms for Internet users are at stake. On November 27th, The Council of EU may open the door to an pan-european “graduated response” by removing Amendment 138, voted by 88% of the European Parliament from the “Telecoms Package”. Academic studies confirm that the fundamental principles of proportionality and privacy may also be threatened by the ministers of the Member States, along with this blatant denial of everyone’s right to a due trial. La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net) publishes an open letter and renews its call for European citizens to write to their government representatives urging them to protect basic freedoms.

La Quadrature du Net’s previous analysis was confirmed in a study by top UK cyber-lawyers1Council of Ministers move to delete vital safeguards from EU Telecoms Package
http://www.openrightsgroup.org/2008/11/13/council-of-ministers-move-to-delete-vital-safeguards-from-eu-telecoms-package/
. According to this document, foundations of “graduated response”2In this scheme, an administrative authority can order internet access cut of alleged file-sharers, upon denunciation by private actors, without a due trial or any way of legal recourse before the disconnection has been ordered. are already present in the “Telecoms Package” as voted by the European Parliament on Sept. 24th3Amendment 112 to Universal Service Directive Art. 33.2a and Amendment 61 to Framework Directive Art. 8.4.g. and clearly reinforced in Council’s working documents proposed by French presidency4Additional analsyis can be found in this paper by Monica Horten, PhD researcher at the University of Westminster, Communications and Media Research Institute.
A copyright enforcement package for Europe
http://www.iptegrity.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=205&Itemid=9
. The only barrier against the propagation of Nicolas Sarkozy’s project is now Amendment 1385Amendment 138 to Framework Directive Art. 8.4.ga, tabled by cross-party MEPs including Guy BONO (PSE, FR), Daniel COHN-BENDIT (Greens, DE) or Zuzana ROITHOVÁ (EPP-ED, CZ)., which recalls that only the judicial authority can restrict citizen’s fundamental rights and freedoms.

These conclusions clearly void the explanations from some government representatives arguing that there is nothing to worry about, copyright enforcement matters are no more in Telecoms Package and that Amendment 138 isn’t necessary. The most recent working documents from the Council of EU6These documents cannot be accessed by public on Council website, nevertheless La Quadrature du Net has got some leaked versions, although it cannot be known if these are final:
http://www.laquadrature.net/files/framework.pdf
http://www.laquadrature.net/files/universal_service.pdf
http://www.laquadrature.net/files/eprivacy.pdf
show an obvious will of denying fundamental rights and freedom of internet users recalled by the European Parliament: along with Amendment 138 protecting the right to a due and balanced trial, Amendment 1667Amendment 166 to Universal Service Directive Art. 32a. recalling the principle of proportionality may also be removed, as well as crucial protection of privacy measures that were added, according to the recommendations of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS)8Previous Amendment 130 to ePrivacy Directive Art. 6.6a was criticised by European Data Protection Supervisor − “the EDPS is concerned that it could be used to legitimise the collection of traffic data for purposes that are not purely security related. He is also concerned that it could open the door for anyone, not only providers of security services and products, to process traffic data alleging to do it for security purposes.” − and rejected by European Parliament who voted instead Amendment 181 including safeguards advised by EPDS. The Council seems about to go for the wording of am.130.
http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/EDPS_Comments_Telecoms_Package_IMCO.

“No accountable politician would even think about removing such protections of citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms, moreover when recalled by plebiscite by elected Members of European Parliament. The problem at this stage is the ‘political laundering’ where unaccountable ministers of Member States can stealthily achieve such removal behind closed doors.” explained Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, analyst for La Quadrature du Net who just published a detailed explanation of this process of “political laundering”9How French Presidency Hides a Political Laundering Inside EU Telecoms Package.
http://www.laquadrature.net/en/how-french-presidency-hides-a-political-laundering-inside-eu-telecoms-package.

“Citizens must alert their ministers like they did with their MEPs in September. Europe must protect citizen’s rights and freedoms, not abolish them to serve corporate interests. With this decision on November 27th, everyone will judge if European Democracy is working.” added Jérémie Zimmeramann, co-founder of La Quadrature.

La Quadrature du Net publishes the letter sent to the French ministers in charge of Telecoms10Translation of the letter : http://www.laquadrature.net/en/la-quadrature-du-net-mr-minister. The citizen group renews its call for European citizens to draw attention on these issues by writing to their representatives in the EU Council.

References   [ + ]

1. Council of Ministers move to delete vital safeguards from EU Telecoms Package
http://www.openrightsgroup.org/2008/11/13/council-of-ministers-move-to-delete-vital-safeguards-from-eu-telecoms-package/
2. In this scheme, an administrative authority can order internet access cut of alleged file-sharers, upon denunciation by private actors, without a due trial or any way of legal recourse before the disconnection has been ordered.
3. Amendment 112 to Universal Service Directive Art. 33.2a and Amendment 61 to Framework Directive Art. 8.4.g.
4. Additional analsyis can be found in this paper by Monica Horten, PhD researcher at the University of Westminster, Communications and Media Research Institute.
A copyright enforcement package for Europe
http://www.iptegrity.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=205&Itemid=9
5. Amendment 138 to Framework Directive Art. 8.4.ga, tabled by cross-party MEPs including Guy BONO (PSE, FR), Daniel COHN-BENDIT (Greens, DE) or Zuzana ROITHOVÁ (EPP-ED, CZ).
6. These documents cannot be accessed by public on Council website, nevertheless La Quadrature du Net has got some leaked versions, although it cannot be known if these are final:
http://www.laquadrature.net/files/framework.pdf
http://www.laquadrature.net/files/universal_service.pdf
http://www.laquadrature.net/files/eprivacy.pdf
7. Amendment 166 to Universal Service Directive Art. 32a.
8. Previous Amendment 130 to ePrivacy Directive Art. 6.6a was criticised by European Data Protection Supervisor − “the EDPS is concerned that it could be used to legitimise the collection of traffic data for purposes that are not purely security related. He is also concerned that it could open the door for anyone, not only providers of security services and products, to process traffic data alleging to do it for security purposes.” − and rejected by European Parliament who voted instead Amendment 181 including safeguards advised by EPDS. The Council seems about to go for the wording of am.130.
http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/EDPS_Comments_Telecoms_Package_IMCO
9. How French Presidency Hides a Political Laundering Inside EU Telecoms Package.
http://www.laquadrature.net/en/how-french-presidency-hides-a-political-laundering-inside-eu-telecoms-package
10. Translation of the letter : http://www.laquadrature.net/en/la-quadrature-du-net-mr-minister