Distorted amendment 138 tries to present graduated response as legal

Paris, April 2nd 2009 - The Council of EU is trying to reintroduce a distorted version of amendment 138 to “Telecoms Package”1. It could be interpreted by the archaic industries promoting "graduated response" as authorizing any administrative authority to order restrictions on fundamental rights and freedom. Such a legalization of parallel administrative justice, comparable to the French “graduated response” is unacceptable. The European Parliament must strongly reject this huge threat to EU citizen's freedom.

In the “trialogue” negotiations2 surrounding the second reading of the Telecoms Package, the Coreper3 has proposed a version of amendment 138 that says the opposite of what it initially says, probably under the influence of France whose "HADOPI"/"graduated response" project is being currently considered in parliament.

Initially, amendment 138 was re-stating fundamental principles of the European law: Only the judicial authority can order restrictions on fundamental rights and freedoms. In this new version, put as a recital instead of an article, it is said: “no restriction may be imposed on the fundamental rights of end-users, without a prior decision taken by legally competent authorities. This vague and dangerous wording would allow parallel arbitrary justice, exactly what the entertainment industries are asking for policing the network by themselves.

“The Council is trying to promote the idea that the French 'graduated response' could be legal, thus opening the door to parallel administrative justice with no respect for the due process of law in Europe. Administrative restrictions on fundamental rights are not tolerable in European Democracies. A few weeks before the elections, the European Parliament must show its commitment to defending EU citizens' freedom by rejecting this amendment. Members of the European Parliament must bring amendment 138 back into the Telecoms Package.” concludes Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder and spokesperson of La Quadrature du Net.