A snapshot of the EDRi's Brussels Office

By EDRi · December 22, 2010

The EDRi Brussels office is the main link between the association and the
political institutions of the European Union – the European Parliament,
European Commission and the Council of the European Union. As an office
representing 29 organisations from 18 countries, EDRi Brussels must follow
the development of legislative and non-legislative initiatives in the
institutions and provide timely feedback to its members and observers.

EDRi also acts as an essential civil society actor for the European
institutions. This month alone, we have participated in the European
Commission’s consultation on extra-judicial takedown of allegedly illegal
websites and the consultation on online behavioural advertising. We also
spoke at Commissioner Reding’s high-level meeting on the review of the 1995
Data Protection Directive and at the Privacy Platform meeting in the
European Parliament.

In addition to formal consultation meetings in the institutions, EDRi also
has an ongoing programme of meetings with officials and parliamentarians in
the EU institutions. In the course of the last twelve months, we have met
with officials from several national representations to the Council,
parliamentarians and officials from all main political groups in the
European Parliament, Commissioner Kroes and the private offices of
Commissioners Reding and Malmström and participated in the meeting between
international fundamental rights experts, the Swedish government and the UN
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom
of opinion and expression.

A further part of the work of EDRi Brussels is also providing written
responses to consultations. More information on this may be found in the
EDRi report for the past 2 years.

It is also important for EDRi to spread its message more broadly in
Brussels. As a result, we regularly accept invitations to speak at industry
events such as the Telecommunications and Media Forum and academic events
such as the Wikileaks seminar at Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis.

The workload of the EDRi office in Brussels is going to greatly increase
over the coming months and years due to the initiatives detailed in the EU’s
Digital Agenda and Stockholm Programme. There are some examples of upcoming
legislation of major importance to digital rights that have been or will
shortly be launched on an EU-level:

a) On the cybercrime front, we have the upcoming review of the data
retention Directive and the final stages of the Directive on child
exploitation (which is being used as a vehicle for the introduction of
EU-wide web blocking). In addition to these, there is a whole range of
“self-regulatory” discussions where the Commission aims to (and has already
succeeded, in some cases) persuade Internet providers to take on
extrajudicial powers in surveillance and punishing their own consumers. In
this context, the E-Commerce Directive, which establishes the liability
regime for Internet providers is currently the subject of a Commission

b) The 1995 Directive on data protection is being entirely redrafted and
the recently adopted e-privacy Directive will be subject of implementation
guidelines from the Commission;

c) With regard to intellectual property, the IPR Enforcement Directive will
shortly be the subject of a consultation, leading almost inevitably to a
review of the legislation. Furthermore, the controversial plans for a
Directive on criminal sanctions for intellectual property infringements will
be resurrected by the Commission. The Commission is also due to shortly
launch proposals on orphan works and collecting societies.

EDRi’s Brussels Office currently has one paid staff member.

Digital Agenda

Stockholm Programme!menu/standard/file/Klar_Stockholmsprogram.pdf

(Contribution by Joe McNamee – EDRi Brussels Office)