[ArstTechnica] EU Parliament: Only judges can order 'Net disconnections

France's much talked about "three strikes" law receive a spirited non! from the European Parliament this week, but French and EU officials are already claiming that the vote won't ultimately impact so-called "graduated response" schemes.

The EU Parliament voted Wednesday to pass the "Telecom Package," [...]

Hundreds of amendments were tabled, making the entire legislative process difficult to follow, but two of the key changes proposed were Amendments 133 and 138. As the UK's Open Rights Group points out, 133 would have prevented EU countries from requiring local ISPs to filter content.

138, introduced by a French Socialist MEP Guy Bono (who gets extra points in our book for that moustache) would have prevented any action against Internet users without prior judicial intervention. In other words, Bono insisted that courts need to be involved in any disconnection procedure--exactly the sort of slow process backers of graduated response plans hope to avoid.

It was only a matter of hours before the spin began. Interest in this question is obviously keen in France, and papers like Libration went to the French government for a response. The Minister of Culture, Christine Albanel, told the paper that amendment 138 would probably turn out to have no real bearing on France's proposed three strikes rule.

Why not? The answer became clear when EU Commissioner Viviane Reding, who spearheaded the telecom reforms, announced her hope to force the removal of the amendment by the Commission. Advocacy group La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net) called this unacceptable, saying that it was "a completely unsuitable request from Mrs. Reding, under the basic democratic principle recalled in the amendment (i.e. the separation of powers), but also under the parliamentary plebiscite it collected (574 MEPs for, 73 against)."