EP needs to protect users' rights in the Telecom Package!

By EDRi · April 8, 2009

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Deutsch: [EP hat die Rechte der Nutzer im Telekompaket zu schützen | http://www.unwatched.org/node/1355]

The new developments on the Telecom Package over the last two weeks,
with the approval of a new text in the IMCO (Internal Market Committee) of
the European Parliament (EP) and the initiation of the trialogue between EU
Council, the European Commission and the Parliament in order to reach an
agreement on the final text, shows the worst situation for Internet users.

Although much of the MEPs seem happy with the new text that allows
“simplifying life for telecom users”, they seem to forget that other
articles are raising much bigger problems for Internet users, especially
related to the 3 strikes proposal or to privacy on the Internet. And facing
the June 2009 Euro-elections, MEPs need to support the users’ rights also
for the second reading of the text, which will probably take place during
the first week of May.

Thus, the much praised Amendment 138 adopted by a large majority of the MEPs
in the first instance has been turned up-side-down by the COREPER (Committee
of Permanent Representatives), which transformed it from a substantive law
provision (an amendment to the directive) into a simple recital and
completly change it in a pro-copyright amendment. Thus the new text says “no
restriction may be imposed on the fundamental rights of end-users, without a
prior decision taken by legally competent authorities”.

By changing the initial text: “judicial authorities”, the new text opens the
backdoor for the recently adopted 3 strikes law in France and shows the
weaknesses of the European Parliament rapporteur, Catherine Trautmann, that
gave in to pressure from the UK and France.

And this is not the only case where the EP has given in. In relation with
the scope of the data breach notification obligation for the providers of
telephony and Internet access services, this has been radically limited
comparing with the initial text adopted in the first reading by the EP. It
seems that the new text already negotiated in the trialogue discussions will
apply only for the the data breaches by electronic communication providers,
which is a major hold-back taking into consideration that most of the
“headlines” data breaches belonged to Government services, banks and online
services. The new text just forgets the excellent points made by Article 29
Working Group and the European Data Protection Supervisor, that pushed for a
larger constituency for this obligation.

Even though the European Parliament’s Telecoms Package rapporteur, Catherine
Trautmann, and the European Commissioner of Information Society, Viviane
Reding had been publicly supportive of the net neutrality principle, it
seems that the negotiations might accept an amendment that will not give
users “unrestricted rights” of access to the Internet.

The new situation prompted a response from several Internet communications
companies such as Google, Microsoft and Skype that, gathered as the Voice on
the Net Coalition Europe urged “the European decision-makers to adopt
principles to allow consumers to access the services, applications and
content of their choice on any public network, regardless of the provider
that offers them.” This move comes also after the announcement of T-Mobile
in Germany or Telefonica in Spain to block Skype on iPhones.

There is also a glimpse of good news, after it has been decided by the IMCO
that “voluntary data retention” clause should to be deleted. It also seems
that this compromise amendment will survive the trialogue negotiations.

Telecoms package: strengthening users’ rights and internet security

Distorted amendment 138 tries to present graduated response as legal

European Parliament compromises on Internet rights (31.03.2009)

Trautmann deal wraps up Internet limitations (1.04.2009)

Leading Providers of Voice Solutions over the Internet Protest Against
Blocking or Degrading of VoIP applications over mobile networks, after
T-Mobile announcement (3.04.2009)

Internet rights being written out as Spain blocks Skype (7.04.2009)

EDRi-gram:Data protection authorities support civil society on the Telecom
Package (25.02.2009)