The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.
MEPs on a key European parliamentary committee have voted to reject the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta) by 19 votes to 12. [...]
Responding to the vote Peter Bradwell, a campaigner with the Open Rights Group, said: "MEPs have listened to the many, many thousands of people across Europe who have consistently demanded that this flawed treaty is kicked out.
This is the fifth consecutive committee to say Acta should be rejected. It now falls to the vote of the whole European Parliament in early July to slam the door on Acta once and for all, and bring this sorry mess to an end."
But a group of more than 130 organisations representing European industry have urged the European Parliament to wait for the opinion of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) before taking a final decision on the Treaty. [...]
The International Trade Committee (INTA) of the European Parliament (EP) is set to adopt its opinion report on ACTA, ahead of the EP’s July 3 vote. RT discussed the controversial act with digital rights expert Jeremie Zimmermann. [...]
Jeremie Zimmermann, co-founder and spokesperson of the citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net told RT that INTA was also likely to recommend that the vote be delayed.
RT:What are the chances that INTA will support ACTA?
Jeremie Zimmermann: To explicitly support ACTA very little, but there are chances that INTA will adopt what has been presented as a "reasonable" way of just postponing the final vote by a few years, after the ECJ would have given its opinion on ACTA's impact on fundamental freedoms. Such a postponement would in reality help the Commission, who negotiated ACTA for the EU, and the pro-ACTA lobbies: they see this stratagem as a way not to lose face. [...]
JZ: If the whole of Parliament rejects ACTA, then it will be politically dead forever. The EU cannot ratify it, and with its 27 member states, it is one of the main negotiating partners with the US. So it would mean the total failure of ACTA, and a big blow for the Commission. Then we can push forward a positive reform of copyright, where acts of sharing carried out with no aim of profit would not be combatted anymore, but would be legalized. This way we can invent a copyright system that would not contravene freedom of expression and other fundamental freedoms. [...]
Even as key committees and a bunch of elected officials in the EU Parliament have come out against ACTA, all that really matters is the final vote. And the pro-ACTA forces are making a very big push to get it approved. [...]
However, much more concerning is a rumor, passed along by MEP Marietje Schaake, that there will be a request for a secret ballot. In other words, elected officials know that their constituency, the European public, is vehemently against ACTA, but they don't want to be held accountable for their votes. A secret ballot on proposals like this only serve to support corruption and positions that go against the will of the people. Hopefully, enough in the EU Parliament realize just how bad it will look to the public (not just in Europe, but around the globe) should they agree to a secret ballot concerning ACTA.
One of the major complaints about ACTA all along was the lack of transparency in the negotiations. Concluding that with a lack of transparency in the voting isn't exactly a way to inspire confidence. It's almost guaranteed to backfire and alienate the public even more.
Web giant says that in the past six months it received more than 1,000 requests from government officials for the removal of content. It complied with more than half of them. [...]
Google said it had received 461 court orders for the removal of 6,989 items, consenting to 68 percent of those orders. It also received 546 informal requests, complying with 46 percent of those requests. The study doesn't reflect censorship activity from countries such as China and Iran, which block content without notifying Google.
"Just like every other time, we've been asked to take down political speech," Chou wrote. "It's alarming not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect -- western democracies not typically associated with censorship." [...]
However, the company said it complied with the majority of requests from Thai authorities for the removal of 149 YouTube videos that allegedly insulted the monarchy, a violation of Thailand law. The Web giant said it also granted U.K. police requests for removal of five YouTube accounts that allegedly promoted terrorism. Google also said it complied with 42 percent of U.S. requests for the removal of 187 pieces of content, most of which were related to harassment.
The future of cThe future of controversial anti-counterfeit treaty Acta remains uncertain as MEPs on the European Parliament’s trade committee weigh up whether to approve or reject the deal.ontroversial anti-counterfeit treaty Acta remains uncertain as MEPs on the European Parliament’s trade committee weigh up whether to approve or reject the deal.[...]
Both the centre-right EPP group, which is comfortably the largest party group in Parliament, and the eurosceptic ECR group, are proposing rival amendments to keep Acta alive. A full Parliamentary vote in Strasbourg would then be held in July. [...]
However, internet freedom campaigners remain unconvinced that the treaty can or should be saved.
Joe McNamee, director of pan-European digital rights campaign group EDRI, insisted that a “cherry-pick” approach would fail. “[This] wouldn’t solve the problem that the safeguards are almost all sophistry, smoke and mirrors.” [...]
Governments should not be able to stop operators from charging content providers for carrying their services, a lobby group representing Europe's operators has proposed. [...]
Operators have long been pushing for rules that would make sure they can always strike commercial deals with content providers. However, apart from The Netherlands and Chile, there are no countries that actually prohibit this sort of behaviour — generally, the only obstacle has been the unwillingness of content providers to pay up.
The European Commission is currently gearing up to announce its own rules on net neutrality. However, much of the Commission's focus is on the deliberate blocking by operators of services that compete with their own, such as Skype.
On the kind of net neutrality referred to in ETNO's proposals, digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes has indicated that she has little problem with operators wanting to tier the quality of their services, as long as they are transparent about doing so.
All seems to come down to the numbers on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement: how many protesters will turn up at the ACTA Action Day in Europe tomorrow and how many members of the European Parliament (EP) will vote for it in plenary on 3 July. Without the agreement of Parliament, ACTA will fail, at least in Europe, observers say. [...]
Meanwhile, four committees of the European Parliament recently voted for a rejection of ACTA, and the lead committee will make its decision on 21 June and forward its recommendation to the Parliament plenary for the first reading on 3 July. A majority in favour is rather unlikely, Niccolo Rinaldi from the Liberal Party Group in the EP (ALDE) said in an exchange with Pirate Party MEP Christian Engstroem, posted by journalist Jennifer Baker. “It ain’t over til it’s over,” warned Engstroem. [...]
In Europe, the debate over unrestricted Internet access — so-called net neutrality — has shifted to a core question: How much should the European Union intervene when mobile Internet service providers restrict Web access? [...]
Jérémie Zimmermann, the co-founder of a French net neutrality activist group, La Quadrature du Net, said the report by Berec underlined the growth of restricted Internet service in Europe and should alarm consumers.
“When 20 percent, maybe even half, of Europeans have only restricted Internet access,” Mr. Zimmermann said, “I would argue that network neutrality is failing in Europe.” [...]
Want to make a Skype call through your smartphone in Europe? At least one-fifth of mobile broadband users on the continent face technical or contractual restrictions on their use of VoIP products, while more than a third of European mobile users also have restrictions on their P2P usage.[...]
BEREC's survey finds that these sorts of limitations merit monitoring, but the group is optimistic that "competition is expected to discipline operators." This fits with the European Union view; in 2010, EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes called on those cut off from Skype to "vote with your feet and leave your mobile provider." This may not always be possible; as Skype noted at the time, "You can’t vote with your feet in France, where ALL mobile operators have restrictions in place on using VoIP (or peer-to-peer or newsgroups)," and many Europeans live in an area "where just one network provider is available."
Where competition is lacking, BEREC's regulators "are ready to act without hesitation if necessary. BEREC is committed to the open Internet."
The draconian ACTA agreement is coming to a global showdown. In the United States, Congress won’t have a say in its ratification. In many small countries, citizens are rightfully furious. But it is in Strasbourg, in the European Parliament’s session on July 2-5, that ACTA will ultimately live or die. [...]
No matter what you may have heard, ACTA is not dead. This beast is very much alive and for every cent us liberty activists spend on throwing it out, the corporations who want to own our culture and knowledge spend thousands on getting it passed. If you think you can sit back and relax now, those corporations couldn’t be better off – for they are moving in for the kill, lobbying-wise, as the final vote approaches in early July. If us activists consider the battle over, we will lose something that will take decades to repair once we’ve even started repairing it. [...]
As the two next crucial votes approach, I’ll take the liberty to remind you here on TorrentFreak and on my own blog. For now, make sure to send a mail to those DEVE committee members!