European Parliament asks for respect of human rights on the Internet

By EDRi · April 8, 2009

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [Europäisches Parlament fordert Respekt für die Menschenrechte im Internet |]

This article is also available in:
Macedonian: [Европскиот парламент бара да се… |,mk/]

On 26 March 2009, the European Parliament voted with a large majority to
support Lambrinidis report concerning the protection of individual liberties
on the Internet, rejecting the amendments proposed by the French Government
and the copyright industry.

The position of the EP is that “guaranteeing Internet access to all citizens
is the same as guaranteeing all citizens access to education” and that “such
access must not be refused in punishment by governments or private
organizations”. The MEPs ask the Member States to “recognise that the
Internet can be an extraordinary opportunity to enhance active citizenship
and that, in this respect, access to networks and contents is one of the key
elements; recommend that this issue be further developed on the basis of the
assumption that everyone has a right to participate in the information
society and that institutions and stakeholders at all levels have a general
responsibility to assist in this development, thus attacking the twin new
challenges of e-illiteracy and democratic exclusion in the electronic age.”

The report adopted by the MEPs acknowledges the necessity of providing
safety measures for the protection of Internet users, especially children,
due to the risks users may be exposed on the Internet which can be used as a
tool for criminals or terrorists. The report proposes actions against
cybercriminals but at the same time, asks for a balance between security on
the Internet and the guarantee of the fundamental rights of Internet users’
privacy. The MEPs call to Member States to protect the “respect for private
life, data protection, freedom of speech and association, freedom of press,
political expression and participation, non-discrimination and
education.(…) Having in view the global character of the Internet, the
MEPs recommend that Member States and the European Commission should draw
regulations for data protection, security and freedom of speech in order to
protect the privacy of Internet users,” says the EP recommendation.

The EP also urges Member States to take due account of the “importance of
anonymity, pseudonymity and control of information flows for privacy and the
fact that users should be provided with, and educated about, the means to
protect it efficiently, for instance through various available
Privacy-Enhancing Technologies (PETs).” The recommandation asks the Member
States to identify all entities which use Net Surveillance and to draw up
publicly accessible annual reports on Net Surveillance ensuring legality,
proportionality and transparency.

In the EP’s opinion, attention must be paid to “network neutrality,
interoperability, the global accessibility of all Internet nodes, and the
use of open formats and standards”. EP also raises the issue of the Internet
users’ consent for giving personal information to governments or private
companies, drawing the attention on the imbalance of the negotiating power
between users and institutions. The MEPs’ position is that users should be
able to have the right to permanently delete any of their personal details
saved on “internet websites or on any third party data storage medium.”

By rejecting France’s amendments to the report, the EP has rejected again
the graduate response scheme pushed so hard by France. The EP considers that
the IPR enforcement does not need to use “the systematic monitoring and
surveillance of all users activities on the Internet” and that the penalties
need to be proportionate to the infringements committed.

The European Parliament also publicly supports the “Internet Bill of Rights”
and the promotion of the “privacy by design” principle.

Recomamndation on Security and fundamental freedoms on the Internet

EP recommendation on Strengthening security and fundamental freedoms on the
Internet (26.03.2009)

Lambrinidis report: pro-copyright changes rejected (26.03.2009)

The European Parliament rejects “graduated response”… for the third time

Privacy and Fundamental Freedoms Put to Vote (27.03.2009)

EDRI-gram: EP wants a better balance between Internet security and privacy
rights (11.03.2009)