Telecoms Package Lawful
This page analyzes the notion of lawful content, which has been demonstrated to be a way to introduce some bias, like the three-strikes approach and endangers actual Net Neutrality.
In original directives amended by the Telecoms Package, the term "lawful" appears:
- Acces Directive 2002/19/EC: 0 times
- Authorisation Directive 2002/20/EC: 0 times
- Framework Directive 2002/21/EC: 0 times
- Universal Service Directive 2002/22/EC: 0 times
- Personal Data and Protection of Privacy Directive 2002/58/EC: 5 times
But when appearing in 2002/58/EC, the context is the following:
(11) Like Directive 95/46/EC, this Directive does not address issues of protection of fundamental rights and freedoms related to activities which are not governed by Community law. Therefore it does not alter the existing balance between the individual's right to privacy and the possibility for Member States to take the measures referred to in Article 15(1) of this Directive, necessary for the protection of public security, defence, State security (including the economic well-being of the State when the activities relate to State security matters) and the enforcement of criminal law. Consequently, this Directive does not affect the ability of Member States to carry out lawful interception of electronic communications, or take other measures, if necessary for any of these purposes and in accordance with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as interpreted by the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. Such measures must be appropriate, strictly proportionate to the intended purpose and necessary within a democratic society and should be subject to adequate safeguards in accordance with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
(23) Confidentiality of communications should also be ensured in the course of lawful business practice. Where necessary and legally authorised, communications can be recorded for the purpose of providing evidence of a commercial transaction. Directive 95/46/EC applies to such processing. Parties to the communications should be informed prior to the recording about the recording, its purpose and the duration of its storage. The recorded communication should be erased as soon as possible and in any case at the latest by the end of the period during which the transaction can be lawfully challenged.
Article 5 Confidentiality of the communications 1. Member States shall ensure the confidentiality of communications and the related traffic data by means of a public communications network and publicly available electronic communications services, through national legislation. In particular, they shall prohibit listening, tapping, storage or other kinds of interception or surveillance of communications and the related traffic data by persons other than users, without the consent of the users concerned, except when legally authorised to do so in accordance with Article 15(1). This paragraph shall not prevent technical storage which is necessary for the conveyance of a communication without prejudice to the principle of confidentiality. 2. Paragraph 1 shall not affect any legally authorised recording of communications and the related traffic data when carried out in the course of lawful business practice for the purpose of providing evidence of a commercial transaction or of any other business communication. 3. Member States shall ensure that the use of electronic communications networks to store information or to gain access to information stored in the terminal equipment of a subscriber or user is only allowed on condition that the subscriber or user concerned is provided with clear and comprehensive information in accordance with Directive 95/46/EC, inter alia about the purposes of the processing, and is offered the right to refuse such processing by the data controller. This shall not prevent any technical storage or access for the sole purpose of carrying out or facilitating the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network, or as strictly necessary in order to provide an information society service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user.
Article 6 Traffic data 1. Traffic data relating to subscribers and users processed and stored by the provider of a public communications network or publicly available electronic communications service must be erased or made anonymous when it is no longer needed for the purpose of the transmission of a communication without prejudice to paragraphs 2, 3 and 5 of this Article and Article 15(1). 2. Traffic data necessary for the purposes of subscriber billing and interconnection payments may be processed. Such processing is permissible only up to the end of the period during which the bill may lawfully be challenged or payment pursued. 3. For the purpose of marketing electronic communications services or for the provision of value added services, the provider of a publicly available electronic communications service may process the data referred to in paragraph 1 to the extent and for the duration necessary for such services or marketing, if the subscriber or user to whom the data relate has given his/her consent. Users or subscribers shall be given the possibility to withdraw their consent for the processing of traffic data at any time. 4. The service provider must inform the subscriber or user of the types of traffic data which are processed and of the duration of such processing for the purposes mentioned in paragraph 2 and, prior to obtaining consent, for the purposes mentioned in paragraph 3. 5. Processing of traffic data, in accordance with paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4, must be restricted to persons acting under the authority of providers of the public communications networks and publicly available electronic communications services handling billing or traffic management, customer enquiries, fraud detection, marketing electronic communications services or providing a value added service, and must be restricted to what is necessary for the purposes of such activities. 6. Paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 5 shall apply without prejudice to the possibility for competent bodies to be informed of traffic data in conformity with applicable legislation with a view to settling disputes, in particular interconnection or billing disputes.
That is: the term lawful refers either to interception of electronic communications, business practices or challenged transaction. Never to content exchanged by electronic communications, but rather to limit the exceptions to the protection of personal data.
In initial proposals from Commission in the Telecoms Package, the term "lawful" appears:
- COD/2007/0247 (amending 2002/19/EC, 2002/20/EC and 2002/21/EC: 2 times, in the following context:
Article 1 – point 8 – point e amending Directive 2002/21/EC Article 8 – paragraph 4 – point g (new) (g) applying the principle that end-users should be able to access and distribute any lawful content and use any lawful applications and/or services of their choice.
- COD/2007/0248 (amending 2002/22/EC and 2002/58/EC: 4 times, in the following context:
Recital 14 (14) A competitive market should ensure that end-users are able to access and distribute any lawful content and to use any lawful applications and/or services of their choice, as stated in Article 8 of Directive 2002/21/EC. Given the increasing importance of electronic communications for consumers and businesses, users should in any case be fully informed of any restrictions and/or limitations imposed on the use of electronic communications services by the service and/or network provider. Where there is a lack of effective competition, national regulatory authorities should use the remedies available to them in Directive 2002/19/EC to ensure that users’ access to particular types of content or applications is not unreasonably restricted.
Article 1 – point 12 amending Directive 2002/22/EC Article 20 – paragraph 5 5. Member States shall ensure that where contracts are concluded between subscribers and undertakings providing electronic communications services and/or networks, subscribers are clearly informed in advance of the conclusion of a contract and regularly thereafter of any limitations imposed by the provider on their ability to access or distribute lawful content or run any lawful applications and services of their choice.