No Net Filtering in the Name of Consumer Protection!

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Update, October 4th, 2011 : The National Assembly adopted the controversial provision in first reading.
Update, July 7th, 2011: The amendment to delete the filtering provision was rejected by a one-vote margin by the Committee on Economic Affairs. The one against abusive use of “unlimited Internet” was also rejected. The text now goes to plenary (date still unknown).

Paris, July 6th 2011 – Having just pushed a draft executive order to establish total administrative censorship of the Internet, the French government is now attempting to extend Net filtering, this time through a bill on consumer protection. Tonight and tomorrow, the bill will go through the French Parliament’s Committee on Economic Affairs. The latter must absolutely reject this new attempt to control the Net. French citizens can help defend the Internet by calling the members of the Committee.

Even though a trans-partisan parliamentary mission questioned the legitimacy of filtering measures and called for a moratorium on their extension to new fields1 in April; even though the UN rapporteur for freedom of expression expressed strong criticisms against filtering2; even though the government’s draft executive order intended to extend its censorship powers to the entire Internet has been the target of intense criticism3, Net filtering is making its way back to the French Parliament through a bill on consumer protection4In French:

La Quadrature du Net has sent a note about the dangers of filtering5 to the Members of the Committee on Economic Affairs6Contact details, from our tool Political Memory, are available here: who will be examining the text today and tomorrow, to ask them to reject this extension of filtering to new fields, reminding them of the vastly disproportionate nature of these measures, which bear the inevitable risk of over-blocking perfectly legal content.

The citizen group calls the members of the Committee to support amendments tabled by MPs Laure de La Raudière, Corinne Ehrel and Lionel Tardy in order to remove Net filtering from the law proposal. To protect Net Neutrality, La Quadrature also asks them to support amendments designed to fight abusive use of the expression “unlimited Internet” (access) by operators who restrict communications on their mobile networks, blocking the use of services and applications, as well as amendments designed to guarantee citizens the right to connect any device to a network.

“Considering the strong criticisms expressed against Net filtering by the French MPs and the UN rapporteur for freedom of expression, this new attempt to extend these measures to new fields is absolutely unacceptable. The government stubbornly perseveres in its Internet takeover, and remains deaf to calls in favor of strong protections for freedom of communication online. This bill should have been an opportunity for the government to propose measures guaranteeing Net neutrality against the malpractices of telcos who restrict their users’ access to the Internet. Let’s hope that the parliamentary amendments tabled to this end will be adopted.” said Félix Tréguer, policy analyst at La Quadrature du Net.

Every French citizen can help and defend a free, open Internet by getting in touch with their representative in the Economic and Financial Affairs Committee to ask them to reject Net filtering. A page dedicated campaign page was drafted to help you do so.


4 In French:
6 Contact details, from our tool Political Memory, are available here: