Telecoms Package Vote Sept24 Mobilisation

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Telecoms Package 1st reading plenary vote - vote on September 24th, 11h30AM in European Parliament, Brussels

Let's Mobilize against surveillance of the European Internet!
NO! graduated response, filtering, notion of "lawful content", technology mandates, surveillance of Internet users!
YES! to Internet users' access to content, services and applications.
Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

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Executive summary of current situation[edit]



Latest News[edit]

Detailed argumentation[edit]

"Graduated Response"[edit]

Some amendments could allow Member States to create "graduated response" against unauthorized file sharing, which would have many harmful consequences for civil liberties.

  • The notion of "cooperation" between internet service providers and cultural industries, about the "promotion of lawful content" is vague
    • General interest messages sent to all customers could be acceptable
    • Targeted messages, based on the surveillance of individual user's behaviour is untolerable
    • There is no clear limitation that excludes individual messages from that "cooperation".

  • LIBE amendments were reworked according to the EDPS recommandations
    • The EDPS suggested to delete problematic amendments, and as a second choice to rewrite them. Unfortunately, the second choice that was taken.
    • Major improvements were made. They will make the graduated response harder to implement, but it's still a threat.

"Lawful content"[edit]

The notion of "lawful content" is bad for civil liberties and socio-economic development of the Internet.

  • Who shall determine what is lawful and what is not except the judicial authority ?
  • Will administrative authorities be able to decide of what is "lawful content" ?
  • What about fair use, independent author's diffusion, Creative Commons, bottom-up innovation which is the root of the development of digital environment ?

Bono amendment[edit]

The plenary amendment tabled by Guy Bono (PS, FR), Daniel Cohn-Bendit (Greens, DE, chairman), Zuzana Roithova (EPP/ED, CZ) guarantees that citizen's fundamental rights, including freedom of speech, can only be restricted by the judicial authority.

Article 8.4

"The national regulatory authorities shall promote the interests of the citizens of the European Union by inter alia:"


"h) applying the principle that no restriction may be imposed on the rights and freedoms of end users 
in accordance with Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union 
on freedom of expression and information, without a prior ruling by the judicial authorities, 
except where dictated by force majeure or by the requirements of preserving network integrity and security, 
and subject to national provisions of criminal law imposed for reasons 
of public policy, public security or public morality."

  • Today, the judicial judge is the guardian of civil liberties and freedom of citizens. This amendment guarantees that this will continue, that no administrative authority can order justice rulings impacting on internet users' ability to access and distribute content.
  • The exceptions for "force majeure" and "national provisions of criminal law imposed for reasons of public policy, public security, or public morality" are already in Member State's criminal laws. Nothing will be changed here.
  • The exceptions for "preserving network integrity and security" are legitimate and technically demonstrable.
  • The reference to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which some conservative don't recognize, might be subject to a "split vote" (important to notify if MEP is refusing to vote the amendment because of this specific reference).

Amendment 34/179 [UPDATED][edit]

  • These amendments may allow to circumvent the ePrivacy directive, including by identifying IP addresses for the purpose of enforcing Copyright infringements, even civil cases, described in the IPRED directive.
  • Identification of IP addresses shall not be concerned by Telecoms Package according to Peter Hustinx, European Data Protection Supervisor.

Everyone shall call their MEPs![edit]

  • A phone call is 100 times more efficient than an email! Phonecalls are personal and are harder to avoid than emails.
  • A cut/paste email has *negative* impact: it weakens the content and make it look like spam.
  • MEPs assistants who will answer are most of the time young and intelligent people who understand the importance of these issues. All of them use Internet.
  • Ask MEPs to vote for the Bono amendment (138) that guarantees that citizen's fundamental rights, including freedom of speech, can only be restricted by the judicial authority.
    • If there is a doubt about whether the "graduated response" is still in the package or not, the best is to guarantee that it won't be.
    • The judge is the guardian of freedom and civil liberties already. This amendment won't change that situation, nor the criminal law of member states.
  • Ask MEPs to reject amendment 34 and amendment 179 that might allow to harm privacy in the name of unauthorized file sharing.
  • advise them of the voting recommandations from La Quadrature.

You can find your MEP by using our Political Memory tool.

One example phone conversation...[edit]

  • YOU: "Hello, I am First, Last Name, I live in Country, I am Status or profession and am concerned about the effects the Telecoms Package might have on me and on the network's devlopment. I want to know what Ms/Mr MEP thinks about it, and especially what she/he will vote on the Bono amendment #138 and on the #34?"
  • MEP: "Hello. Mr MEP is very busy at the moment. I take care of this issue. He thinks the compromise amendments (signed by the three majors political groups PSE,EPP/ED and ALDE) are perfectly safe and remove any doubt. He thinks there is no "graduated response" or "surveillance of the users" in the text, and that the EDPS recommandations were perfectly followed."
  • YOU: "I have read that only the 2nd choices of the EDPS recommandations have been followed in many cases, that the compromise amendments are not dissipating some doubts about targeted messages, sanctions pronounced by administrative authorities, or generalized surveillance of consumers (instead of 'individual surveillance' which seems blocked)..."
  • MEP: "Those who talk about general surveillance are extremists! fearmongering pirates! etc."
  • YOU: "The initial fears expressed by many NGOs and individuals were confirmed by the EDPS, which lead to progress made in LIBE, about privacy and IP addresses for instance... but I am not as much interested in the group's, the rapporteur's or the shadow rapporteurs' opinion on those issues. I would rather know if Ms/Mr MEP intends to vote for amendment 138 and against amendment 34, so doubts may be dissipated and citizens' essential freedom be guaranteed."
  • MEP: "He will vote with his own mind. Votes are free (as 'free speech') in the Parliament!"
  • YOU: "Yes, I really do hope Ms/Mr MEP will vote with his own mind, free from political influence, free from external pressure from the cultural industries, and in the interest of the 450M citizens his decisions will weight on."

(You should not even need to mention elections coming in 8 month at that stage... ;))

List of common, major, blocking, incorrect arguments[edit]

Most of the arguments you will hear to deny your fears, concerns and questions are known, and taken from generic political memos circulated inside the political parties. We will try to list them here as soon as we encounter some new ones.

If some blocking argument is heard several times over the phone, if you don't find an easy answer, please write it here.

  • Incorrect argument: The compromise amendments are good and dissipate all the doubts. There is no danger in the Telecoms Package.
    • The EPDS report proved that the initial fears were founded.
    • Some improvements were made according to the EDPS recommandations (privacy and IP address related), some other recommandations weren't correctly followed (the first choice of deleting the doubtful dispositions was the only acceptable in most case, in order to truly guarantee that no possibility for surveillance remains)
    • If doubts remain, then it's worth voting that amendment 138 and rejecting amendment 34. Amendment 138 just explains the current situation of penal law in the Member States, and that the situation should remain like it is today.

  • Incorrect argument: The notion of "lawful content" isn't dangerous. After all if a content is unlawful, it shall be removed from the Internet.
    • No administrative authority shall decide what is lawful or unlawful. Only the judicial judge.
    • It's not a content that is lawful or unlawful, but the user's behaviours. an mp3 music track can be exchanged inside a family circle, within fair use exceptions, private copy, etc..
    • The content industries shall not threaten the real innovation that built the Internet, digital technologies, their ecosystem and economy. The never found how to adapt themselves so they helplessly try absurd schemes that are obviously on the way of progress.
    • Authors, creators and artists shall earn money for what content they publish and is appreciated. It's not the question. The question is whether those questions shall parasite or not the Telecoms Package, that regulate the network "tubes".
    • No technical intermediary shall be given enforcement powers.

  • Incorrect argument: You want to remove everything from the text! We worked very hard, great improvements were achieved.
    • Our voting list contains many amendments to vote for, including the 138 Bono amendment which we think really clarifies the situation, along with amendments to remove, such as the 34 and the 179, that are a typical example of parasite amendment from the content industries.
    • Our recommendations are mostly in line with the EDPS recommendations, as his report confirmed our previous analysis.
    • We want Europe to protect citizens, as stated in the primary objectives of the Telecoms Package. Conversely, these directives must not on the opposite erode individual rights and liberties.

  • Incorrect argument: You are want to reject the Telecoms Package so you can continue to download unlawful content over the internet.
    • It sounds a bit like a guilt presumption...
    • The copyright questions are important: artists must live from their creations and we must find ways to make money go to them. But these questions are not as important as preserving the socio-economical development of the digital environment and protecting consumers' civil liberties.
    • Copyright shall remain a balance between the producers, the authors, the artists and the public, and we only hear about the (big) producers.
    • As a citizen seeing how easily content industries manage to hijack the law to insert their amendments isn't reassuring.