ENDitorial: EP and EDPS hit back against lawless “child protection” measures

By EDRi · July 18, 2012

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Deutsch: [ENDitorial: „Kinderschutz“-Maßnahmen ohne gesetzliche Grundlage – EP und EDSB schlagen zurück | https://www.unwatched.org/EDRigram_10.14_ENDitorial?pk_campaign=edri&pk_kwd=20120718]

In the EDRi-gram 10.12, we reported on projects of the European
Commission to coerce industry into the introduction of “voluntary”
upload filters. Following the Scarlet/Sabam case in the European Court
of Justice, such filtering would constitute a restriction on fundamental
rights and, if proportionate, would need a legal basis in order to be in
compliance with the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and the
European Convention on Human Rights.

Now, thankfully, the European Commission’s apparent willingness to
simply ignore legal safeguards appears to be running up against
increasing opposition. The Civil Liberties Committee of the European
Parliament last week adopted its Opinion on “Protecting Children in the
Digital World.” Within the context of that Opinion, a compromise text
was adopted with the support of all political groups. Referring to
actions by industry, parliamentarians stressed that “any such measures
should fully respect the rule of law and legal certainty, take into
account the rights of end users and comply with existing legal and
judicial procedures and the European Convention for the Protection of
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Charter of Fundamental
Rights of the European Union.”

The European Data Protection Supervisor has also this week issued an
opinion on the same initiative. Taking a similar line to the Civil
Liberties Committee, the EDPS stresses the need to adequately implement
the general and the telecommunications-specific data protection
Directives as well as the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European
Union. Interestingly, the EDPS pointedly does not only refer to measures
implemented by the European Commission but also that stresses that “all
measures to be deployed further to the Communication should be
consistent with this framework.” This statement is clearly meant to
cover “voluntary” measures which the Commission manages to persuade
industry to implement.

The position of the European Commission on measures adopted as a result
of projects that it either runs or finances is far from clear.
Frequently, it facilitates and directs discussions that lead to
quasi-regulatory or policing measures being introduced by industry,
without taking any political or legal ownership of them. It seems
legally, morally and practically questionable for the European
Commission to push industry to “voluntarily” implement legally dubious
policies, particularly when these do not reflect official Commission policy.

On 3 May 2010, the current College of Commissioners was the first one to
adopt individual and personal oaths to uphold the European Charter of
Fundamental Rights.

Commission Communication on a “Better Internet for Children” (2.05.2012)

EP Civil Liberties Committee Opinion
Not yet online

EDPS Opinion on the Communication from the Commission – “European
Strategy for a Better Internet for Children” (17.07.2012)

Digital Agenda: Coalition of top tech & media companies to make internet
better place for our kids (1.12.2011)

EDRi-gram: The rise of the European upload filter (20.06.2012)

(Contribution by Joe McNamee – EDRi)