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Criticism gone from EP report on safer internet plan

By EDRi · February 26, 2003

In a remarkable change of heart, rapporteur Bill Newton Dunn removed all criticism from his draft report on the Safer Internet Action Plan (EU Document Number COD/2002/0071). In stead of the original recommendation to discontinue the program because of its complete in-effectiveness, Mr. Newton Dunn (British Liberal) now pleads for an extension of the program.

The change is the outcome of a series of so-called trilogue meetings, high-level, closed-door meetings of Council and Commission representatives as well as EP rapporteurs and shadow rapporteurs. Newton Dunn subdued completely to the will of the Council. Not only did he withdraw all of his critical original amendments, he even asked the Council for formulas he then tabled as last-minute amendments in his own name. The result: not a single amendment was adopted in the EP Internal Affairs committee that had not been approved by the Council before. It is very likely that the outcome in the EP Plenary, which will vote on March 10, will look likewise.

The Action Plan can now be extended to almost all forms of electronic communication and all protocols. At the last trilogue meeting, Newton Dunn agreed to withdraw part 2 of his original amendment 4, which would have taken ‘peer-to-peer file transfer, text and enhanced messages and all forms of real-time communications such as chat rooms and instant messages’ out of the scope of the program, on the grounds that ‘the aims of the initial Action Plan have not been entirely achieved’. Instead, the rapporteur accepted an insignificant formula saying the goal of the program is ‘primarily (…) improving the protection of children and minors’. Amendment 5, which contained implicit criticism that hotlines were not known to users, disappeared as well, without giving any explication about the sudden increase of knowledge about these hotlines.

The deadline for amendments for the Plenary is 6 March.

LIBE Revised report

Voting list

(Contribution by Andreas Dietl, consultant on EU privacy issues)