Call for action on the Telecom Package

Introduction

The Telecom Package was suppose to be a legislative process for the European electronic communication market (Internet, fixed lines and mobile phones) to increase investments in networks, to set up a small regulatory body and to protect consumer's interests. See the Parliament press release. It is a proposal to amend other directives, as explained on the page of the Commission regarding the Telecom Package

However, a group of Lobbyists from the international media industry have silently managed to introduce some unprecedented harmful changes, which, if approved, would force software and telecomunication companies to integrate systems to detect copyright infringements, with unpredictable and harmful consequences in the IT market and software developers respectively. The FFII is concerned (see our press release) with the consequences of such amendments regarding the technological neutrality of the Internet. Many other sources are pointing out the dangers of the Telecom Package from different perspectives. See for instance:

Dates and Committees

Two committees of the European Parliament are dealing with it before the plenary vote

The plenary vote will presumably take place on the first week of September for the amendments approved on Monday.

What to do?

The votes of the ITRE and IMCO committees are over. See the media coverage section for reports of the outcome, but be aware that they and many MEPs haven't understood the implications of some amendments that were voted. We are preparing actions for the plenary vote. We will notify our supporters per email. If you are not a supporter of the FFII yet, please fill your data here and set your participation level as a supporter.

Analysis

It follows an analysis example of two of the amendments that must be rejected. They put in danger the principle of "technological neutrality", which is defined by "the rules should neither require nor assume a particular technology": . We have also a numeric evaluation of more ITRE amendments.

Article 22(3). Compromise Amendment 5

This compromise amendment falsely marketed as "Net neutrality" allows the European Commission to issue technical restrictions on software and protocols that runs on Internet services:

The European Commission may adopt certain technical implementing measures to force software running on the Internet to comply with. This is an invasion of the regulator in the software market, and it should be fought back vigorously.

Recital 12c. Compromise Amendment 4

Similar to the Compromise Amendment 5, this amendment promotes the intervention of the regulator in the software market:

LIBE 76 Kamal

The amendment tabled by Kamal and adopted in LIBE n76 is on purpose written in way that makes the reader believes that there is "no mandatory filtering".

The amendment refers to paragraphs 2 and 3, which dangerously mentions the possibility to have "specific technical features" required:

The Kamal amendment (which tries to sell the idea that there is "no mandatory filtering") contradicts with paragraph 2, which recognises that filtering might be possible ("Where provisions of this Directive can be implemented only by requiring specific technical features in electronic communications networks"). The paragraph 2 originates from the Commission proposal, and is an example of bad law drafting, in which the provision applies to the whole text, and it is up to the reader to find out to which part of the text it applies.

About the terms ''lawfull/unlawfull software''

Software are information stored in a computer, mathematical expressions of ideas, and therefore cannot be categorized in terms of lawfull and unlawfull, exactly as it is the case with written text. People and companies use software for different porpuses, and putting some software on a black list damage innovation and security. Two prominent examples follow

Non-FFII position-papers

Media coverage

The audio from the press conference following the Telecoms Package vote of the Committees is available at http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/download/audio_download_en.cfm?id=125266&src=6 (you need to register though)

Articles in Dutch

Articles in English

Articles in French

Articles in German

Articles in Italian

Articles in Polish

Articles in Portuguese

Articles in Spanish

Similarities with the americans SSSCA and CBDTPA

The Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA) was a bill proposed in the US whose aim was to forbid computers that are sold without a trusted chip inside:

The SSSCA was afterwards renamed in Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA) which, according to Wikipedia article, "would have prohibited any kind of technology that could be used to read digital content without digital rights management (DRM)". Richard Stallman criticized this act due to the restrictions that it would place in the immediate and long-term future on free software, dubbing the bill the "Consume But Don't Try Programming Act."

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