Press review selection
It’s an interesting twist of fate that the European governments whose job it is to enforce sweeping new data-protection laws, rolled out to curb intrusive tech firms like Facebook Inc. and Google Inc., are increasingly finding their own digital ambitions tripped up by them. [...]
Neither this objection, nor a lawsuit filed by privacy advocacy group La Quadrature du Net, seem to have deterred the state, though. [...]
France is poised to become the first European country to use facial recognition technology to give citizens a secure digital identity -- whether they want it or not. [...]
“The government wants to funnel people to use Alicem and facial recognition,” said Martin Drago, a lawyer member of the privacy group La Quadrature du Net that filed the suit against the state. “We’re heading into mass usage of facial recognition. (There’s) little interest in the importance of consent and choice.” The case, filed in July, won’t suspend Alicem. [...]
European Digital Rights (EDRi), together with 45 NGOs, academics and companies across 15 countries, has sent an open letter to European policymakers and regulators, warning about widespread and potentially growing use of deep packet inspection (DPI) by internet service providers (ISPs). [...]
EDRi wants this to change. Europe is now discussing new net neutrality rules. The discussions are not currently being made public, but a public consultation on proposals is expected in autumn 2019. The final rules are expected in March 2020. To a degree, this current open letter is an attempt to get the EDRi voice heard before the public consultation begins (by which time, the basic proposals will have been decided). EDRi's primary request is that the principles of personal privacy protection also be applied to net neutrality provisions. [...]
Today 45 NGOs, Academics and Companies from 15 countries released an open letter outlining the dangers of the wide-spread use of privacy invasive Deep Packet Inspection technology in the European Union. The letter is referencing the ongoing negotiations about Europes new net neutrality rules in which some telecom regulators are pushing for the legalization of DPI technology. [...]
Open Letter to the EU [EDRi].
CNIL agrees with complaints brought by activists: user consent is insufficient.
Google has been fined €50 million (~$57 million) by French regulators, the first major penalty under a sweeping new European Union privacy law known as GDPR, which took effect last year. [...]
The two complaints were filed jointly on the day the law went into effect by the French digital advocacy group La Quadrature du Net and the group Noyb.eu, a watchdog organization started by Max Schrems. The young Austrian privacy activist has been tangling with Silicon Valley giants—notably Google and Facebook—for years. [...]
The encryption issue has become indelibly linked to the broader debate in Europe, the US, and South America over how to balance individual liberties with matters of national security and law enforcement. [...] In France, the amendment that lawmakers will debate is part of the omnibus Digital Republic bill that passed the lower house of France’s parliament earlier this year. [...]
If passed, it's unclear how French courts will interpret the amendment, according to Philippe Aigrain, a French security expert and cofounder of the advocacy group La Quadrature du Net. He worries it will scare companies operating in France off of providing strong encryption altogether. [...]
“It is remarkable that at every new bombing or attack, there are claims that the authors used encryption even when all evidence is contrary, such as was the case in the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, where the terrorists exchanged unencrypted [texts],” said Philippe Aigrain, [...].
French authorities are calling for EU-wide rules requiring travelling EU nationals to give their fingerprints and possibly also have their faces scanned.
The proposal, which is part of a much larger digital dragnet known as the ‘smart borders’ package, was discussed at an EU interior ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Thursday (8 October).
Smart borders is a two-tiered system of biometric scans of visiting non-EU nationals – the registered travellers programme (RTP) and the entry-exit system (EES). [...]
But an internal document dated 25 September from the French delegation in Brussels now wants to extend the same biometric system to cover member state citizens. [...]
But last year, the European Court of Justice struck down the EU’s data retention law. Judges said the directive was disproportionate because it allowed for the indiscriminate and mass collection of data from people not suspected of any crime. [...]
The Paris-based Internet campaign group La Quadrature Du Net says the law’s vague criteria are likely to “trigger mass data collection of logins and communications, without any regard to borders, or the target's nationality”.
Google, the internet search giant, took a strong stance against the censorship of its search results, telling French regulators in a blog post that it will not implement so-called “right to be forgotten” requests on a worldwide basis.
Google applied a May 2014 ruling by the European Court of Justice that allows users to ask search engines to delist links with personal information about them. It has since then set up a platform allowing anyone who wishes to be delisted from links to do so. The CNIL, the French data protection authority, asked Google to apply this globally and not only for google.fr and other European sites. [...]
“This is a very difficult debate because in many cases, it is important to protect the right to privacy and to do so at a global level, but it can also be difficult to make a judgment” said Felix Treguer, from the Squaring of the Net, an advocacy group that promotes digital rights and freedoms of citizens.
“For instance, when countries such as Iran, or other countries with little respect for freedom of expression decide that, for example, content regarding homosexual practices for example, is illegal, and order Google in Iran to take down that content at a global level, we, in western democracies, and many people around the world would think this goes too far.”
It begs the question of freedom of speech, but also of how much privacy a person is allowed to have as well. [...]
UN says powers given to intelligence agencies, which include phone-tapping and computer-hacking, are ‘excessively broad’ and intrusive. [...]
Intelligence agencies can also place “keylogger” devices on computers that record keystrokes in real time. Internet and phone service providers will be forced to install “black boxes” – complex algorithms – that will alert the authorities to suspicious behaviour online. The same companies will be forced to hand over information if asked. [...]
On Friday, after considering the legislation, The UN human rights committee concluded: “The committee is particularly concerned that the law on intelligence, adopted the 24 June 2015, grants overly broad powers for very intrusive surveillance on the basis of vast and badly defined objectives, without prior authorisation of a judge and without adequate and independent controls.” [...]
The non-profit association La Quadrature du Net, which defends the rights and privacy of internet users, described the law as “wicked” and issued a statement headlined “Shame on France”.
“By validating almost all surveillance measures provided in the surveillance law adopted on 25 June, the French constitutional council legalises mass surveillance and endorses a historical decline in fundamental rights,” it said, branding the decision “extremely disappointing”. [...]
France’s controversial new anti-terrorism legislation is already setting off alarms in Brussels, where the wide-ranging new powers it gives French intelligence services may run afoul of EU law. [...]
“Democracy is attributing power but also appropriate checks and balances,” said Hervé Morin, former defense minister under Nicolas Sarkozy, one of the leading critics of the legislation. “Only those are the ramparts against the arbitrary.” [...]
“The ECJ ruling focuses on data retention,” said Adrienne Charmet of La Quadrature du Net, a group that promotes Internet users’ rights. “The Court also specified the respect of proportionality for data protection, but there are no criteria for the data collection. But this issue was totally overlooked by MPs and the government.” [...]
Can French intelligence agencies handle the terabytes of data that they just got permission to collect? [...]
The bill approved by a vote of 438 to 86, with 42 abstentions, has been intensely criticized by civil society groups and privacy activists for its embrace of mass surveillance in the form of what the French government calls “black boxes,” devices that will be installed on the servers of French Internet service providers to suck up data and spot terrorists engaging in suspicious behavior that might tip investigators to a possible attack. [...]
Given the vast expansion of surveillance, civil liberty activists are up in arms that the measure will undermine democratic norms. Félix Tréguer, a founding member of digital rights group La Quadrature du Net, said the bill “effectively legalizes mechanisms of mass surveillance” while at the same time failing to include the oversight mechanisms necessary to make the legal regime governing surveillance take into account human rights concerns or transparency. [...]
On this, French judges agree with rights activists. “This bill is unbalanced; it goes too far with no proper controls in place since most of the power will lie with the prime minister,” the judges’ union said in a statement. In stripping the bill of oversight powers while drafting it, Benichou said, French legislators had acted as if they were afraid of the judiciary.
For these reasons, the bill has often been described as the French version of the U.S. Patriot Act. And on many levels, that’s an appropriate analogy. Like its American counterpart passed in the panic of the 9/11 attacks and currently up for renewal the measure has been hurried through the legislature, despite its complicated, highly technical nature. “We’re talking about a surveillance program that goes way beyond counterterrorism but is being sold in the context of the trauma of a terrorist attack and justifies extraordinary means and procedures,” Douzet said. “The way it is being sold is very comparable.”
France’s intelligence services will gain sweeping powers after the country’s legislators backed a controversial bill legalising phone tapping and email interception, four months after the Islamist attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in which 12 people died. The bill, passed by 438 votes to 86 in the National Assembly with 42 abstentions, was opposed by many lawyers, judges and human rights activists who denounced the law as intrusive and lacking sufficient checks and balances. They have dubbed it France’s version of the US Patriot Act, passed after the September 11 2001 attacks on the US. […]
The bill allows French agents to plug “black boxes” directly into networks and servers owned by telecom and internet operators to monitor digital traffic and, in the case of suspected terrorists, monitor their behaviour with the help of algorithms that analyse suspects’ metadata. Opponents of the proposals have pointed to abuses disclosed by Edward Snowden and questioned their effectiveness in solving jihadism cases. All those responsible for the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, they point out, were known and tracked by intelligence services before the attack. […]
“The government is telling us they won’t store the data and that it will remain anonymous, but how do we know that?,” said Philippe Aigrain, a computer scientist and a member of the parliamentary commission on digital matters. Whistleblowers will face criminal charges, Mr Aigrain added. […]
French MPs are due to approve a bill reforming French intelligence law to counter terrorist threats. But critics warn that the draft law is a license to spy on citizens' private lives. Erin Conroy reports from Paris. [...]
The bill proposing a new set of intelligence-gathering measures would be the first update to France's current surveillance laws which date back to 1991, long before mobile phones and the Internet became mainstream. But experts say the government is going too far in spying on French citizens. [...]
Félix Tréguer, a founding member of Paris-based advocacy group La Quadrature du Net, says the language of the bill is simply too broad and does not define the motives under which intelligence authorities would be able to gain access to someone's information. He is also alarmed by the provisions for long data-retention periods.
"All of the legal challenges, checks and balances are veiled in secrecy, and in terms of avoiding abuse, it's going to be difficult," he says.
"There are several provisions in the bill which allow intelligence agencies to engage in hacking computers, servers or any computer equipment to have access to data and to copy that data, and this is a very concerning piece of it," he adds. "The kind of infringement of privacy by accessing someone's computer and copying data through Trojan horse-type viruses is very concerning." [...]
[Thewhir] Legal Changes Give French Police Power to Take Down Porn, Terrorism Sites without Court Order
French police can order Internet service providers to take down websites without a court order on child pornography or terrorism accusations as of Tuesday. The legal changes follow a statement late last week by President Francois Hollande that companies hosting extremist messages are “accomplices.” […]
DNS blocking can be easily circumvented, however, says Felix Tréguer of French internet advocacy group La Quadrature du Net. The group is also concerned about legal content being blocked.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation shares concerns about the new system. “In light of the recent arrests that have followed the Charlie Hebdo attacks — many of which are clearly overboard — I would say that France’s government needs to seriously think about whether this law will stop terrorists, or merely chill speech,” Jillian York of the EFF told The Verge in an email. […]
WASHINGTON — The arrests came quickly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. There was the Muslim man suspected of making anti-American statements. The Middle Eastern grocer, whose shop, a tipster said, had more clerks than it needed. Soon hundreds of men, mostly Muslims, were in American jails on immigration charges, suspected of being involved in the attacks.
They were not.
After shootings last week at a satirical newspaper and a kosher market in Paris, France finds itself grappling anew with a question the United States is still confronting: how to fight terrorism while protecting civil liberties. The answer is acute in a country that is sharply critical of American counterterrorism policies, which many see as a fearful overreaction to 9/11. Already in Europe, counterterrorism officials have arrested dozens of people, and France is mulling tough new antiterrorism laws. [...]
The details of any new French law are unclear, but discussion has focused on increased Internet surveillance and new authority to remove content. Adrienne Charmet-Alix, the coordinator of La Quadrature du Net, a group that advocates Internet freedom, urged caution. Everyone, she said, “must keep a cool head.” [...]
[WashingtonPost] Hollande Vows To Protect All Religions In France, But Warns Open Society Untouchable
PARIS — French President Francois Hollande reached out to France’s nervous religious minorities Thursday, vowing that any acts directed at Jews or Muslims would be “severely punished” but also insisting the country’s democratic traditions cannot be eroded. […]
“We can definitely talk about hypocrisy here,” said Adrienne Charmet, campaign coordinator for La Quadrature du Net, a Paris-based Internet rights group. “In the past days, we have seen a lot of people condemned for putting out words, no matter how condemnable those words, and receiving sentences that seem quite exaggerated.” […]
Former EU digital tzar Neelie Kroes’ net neutrality plans for the Continent may be chucked out by national governments. […]
EDRi head Joe McNamee says the draft waters down proposed protections, claiming that “without meaningful and enforceable net neutrality provisions” the law would achieve exactly the opposite of an open internet. […]
Advocacy group La Quadrature du Net (QdN) described the revised draft as a “betrayal” and a “slap in the face” to everyone who fought to preserve the open internet. “EU governments are giving in to the shameless lobbying of dominant telecom operators,” said Félix Tréguer, co-founder of QdN. […]
The French Parliament this week formally adopted a new anti-terrorism law, part of which aims to stop terrorists using the internet to attract recruits and plot attacks. It will allow the authorities to block websites that “condone terrorism” and will create a new offence of “individual terrorist enterprise”. One key objective is to stop the “preparation” of attacks via the web. The government, which has rushed these measures through, says they are needed to combat the growing use of the internet and social media by terror groups and in particular to tackle the threat of so-called “lone wolf” terrorists operating in France and elsewhere. But civil liberties groups, judges and the state body that oversees the impact of digital technology have condemned the law as an attack on freedom, ineffective and unworkable. Jérôme Hourdeaux details the new measures. […]
The internet freedom campaign group Quadrature du net has meanwhile attacked the law as “harmful ... dangerous ... and intrusive”. The group's co-founder Philippe Aigrain said: “Democratic states harming fundamental rights by adopting ineffective measures in the name of fighting the glorification of terrorism is exactly what the terror groups are looking for.” […]
However, in a joint MP-Senate committee examining the text, parliamentarians added a new element that could also turn an internet user into a potential terrorist, namely “the fact of producing, transporting, distributing by whatever means and by whatever medium” a message inciting terrorism and which might be “susceptible of being seen or received by a minor”. This measure directly targets social networks and the practice of re-tweeting on Twitter or sharing items on Facebook. […]
[...] the [EU]’s top policy makers [are set to give] investment and costlier [telecom] services higher priorities than affordability and antitrust worries.
The details of their plans are expected take shape now that a new European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, began its five-year term on Saturday.
The commission’s new digital chiefs recently expressed support for plans that would loosen the region’s strict rules on telecom mergers.
“Concentration in the telecom market gives space for business models that limit online freedom,” said Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of La Quadrature de Net, a consumer advocacy group based in Paris. [...]
When it comes to dealing with terrorism US intelligence community feels like it operates with one hand tied behind their back because of whistleblowers like Snowden and Manning, intelligence analyst Glenmore Trenear-Harvey told RT. […]
Benjamin Sonntag, Co-founder La-Quadrature du Net, on whistleblowing: "That is obvious [that the latest US whistleblower’s name hasn’t been released] because there is an inquiry in progress. So they would certainly not say anything until they have some kind of proof or some kind of name or arrest that person. What is true is that we have a lot of information saying that there is certainly a second whistleblower. The main problem is that Mr. Obama is continuing his policy which consists of attacking whistleblowers and not protecting them like it should be." […]
"It looks like [there will be more whistleblowers in time]. Edward Snowden released his data because of Chelsea Manning, the former marine who was accused of leaking the cables and documents on Iraq and Afghan war. Basically Edward Snowden invited other people to leak and to blow the whistle on the abusing power of the NSA and the other administrations." […]
There’s a battle going on, and it’s raging for the future of the Internet. From net neutrality, to the so-called right to be forgotten, to the multi-stakeholder or multilateral approach to Internet Governance, several bodies and institutions are busy at forging the future of what is probably the greatest human invention of recent times. […]
Revelations about the widespread surveillance of electronic communications made by former NSA’s analyst Edward Snowden have pushed some States (like Germany) to promote the idea of building up a European communication network to avoid emails and other data passing through the United States. […]
“There is a risk of balkanization of the Internet, but not for this reason,” Philippe Aigrain, co-founder of the website La Quadrature du Net and member of the French Parliamentary Committee on Law and Rights in the Digital Age, tells me. “The real risk, is that to protect authoritarian regimes or for purposes of copyright enforcement, censorship or the protection of some local economic interests, a growing number of states would try to control data flows entering or exiting them.” […]
A top German official called for Google to be broken up. A French minister pronounced the company a threat to his country’s sovereignty. A European publishing executive likened it to a Wagnerian dragon. [...]
Anger over mass data collection by the American government has only amplified the concerns. Jérémie Zimmerman, a co-founder of the French Internet activist group La Quadrature du Net, said that when people told him now that they worked for Google, he says, “How do you like working for the N.S.A.,” referring to the National Security Agency.
“Many users were lured by the convenience and comfort of the services,” he said, but he added that the revelations by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden revealed that Google was part of a “massive breach of our security, of our data and of our sovereignty.” [...]
A proposed anti-terrorism law in France has freedom of expression advocates concerned. The bill, as our friends at La Quadrature du Net frame it, “institutes a permanent state of emergency on the Internet,” providing for harsher penalties for incitement or “glorification” of terrorism conducted online. Furthermore, the bill (in Article 9) allows for “the possibility for the administrative authority to require Internet service providers to block access to sites inciting or apologizing for terrorism” without distinguishing criteria or an authority to conduct the blocking. […]
A controversial chapter [ISDS] of the agreement currently being negotiated would give multinationals the right to sue the government concerned if new laws lead to lower profits. So if, for example, a new law caused Apple’s profits - or Google’s, or Samsung’s, or Amazon’s, or any of a thousand others - to drop sharply they could take the government to tribunal.
Such an action could have followed such previous events as the EU forcing Microsoft to institute browser choice, or the recent ECJ "right to be forgotten" ruling, [...].
Since last year, groups such as EDRi, La Quadrature du Net and Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue, have been banging a drum to get ISDS thrown out of agreement altogether. However these hopes were dealt a blow on Tuesday when the EU’s Trade Commissioner, Karel de Gucht, told the European Parliament that it’s not a question of if ISDS will be in the agreement, it’s what sort of ISDS Europe and the USA will get. [...]
Jeremie [Zimmermann] from France's La Quadrature du Net sez, "The farcical illusion of 'multistakeholder' discussions around 'Internet governance' must be denounced! For the last 15 years those sterile discussions led nowhere, with no concrete action ever emerging. In the meantime, technology as a whole has been turned into a terrifying machine for surveillance, control and oppression. The very same 'stakeholders' seen in IGFs and such, by their active collaboration with NSA and its public and private partners, massively violated our trust and our privacy." […]
[LaJornada] "Ataque directo a la libertad de expresión", la iniciativa de Peña en telecomunicaciones
Cualquier intento por restringir o limitar el acceso a Internet debe entenderse como un ataque directo a la libertad de expresión, advirtió Jérémie Zimmermann, tras señalar que la iniciativa de regulación secundaria a la Ley de Telecomunicaciones, enviada por el gobierno de Enrique Peña Nieto al Congreso, es absolutamente contraria a la apertura que se buscaba con la reforma en el sector, pues tiende a monopolizar este servicio.
Zimmermann, hacker activista de los derechos digitales y cofundador del proyecto La quadrature du net, condenó esta "regresión" del gobierno mexicano y alertó sobre los efectos que las leyes secundarias, de ser aprobadas en sus términos, tendrían sobre la libertad de expresión, la seguridad y la privacidad digital. [...]
Facebook has removed a page entitled "Soldiers deserve to be raped and murdered" - but not because of its subject matter. [...]
Facebook's Community Standards state that it will remove content where it perceives there to be a "genuine risk of physical harm" and that members may not "credibly threaten others, or organise acts of real-world violence".
However, a spokesman for the social network indicated that the threat had not been specific enough for its complaints team to act on. [...]
By contrast, La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net) - a Paris-based group that campaigns for internet users' rights - said it was concerned that a company with as much influence as Facebook should be left to make such decisions.
"A judge may or may not have considered that this was a direct call to violence, and on that ground may or may not have asked Facebook to remove it - and this is how it should be," said the group's co-founder Jeremie Zimmermann.
"[Instead] Facebook has become a sort of parallel justice with its own rules that we cannot fully understand.
"This is a major problem for whoever believes their speech is protected on Facebook." [...]
Il Parlamento europeo punta su una definizione chiara di net neutrality, secondo cui gli operatori sono obbligati a trattare allo stesso modo tutto il traffico. Passando all'abbattimento di costi per facilitare comunicazioni e affari […]
Per capire la portata della novità, bisogna sapere che il testo della Commissione era stato molto contestato nei mesi scorsi dalle associazioni dei consumatori e dagli attivisti dei diritti di internet (come l'associazione Quadrature du Net) […]
The European Parliament has voted to restrict internet service providers' (ISPs) ability to charge data-hungry services for faster network access. […]
French digital rights campaign group La Quadrature du Net described the vote as being hugely important.
"The EU Parliament made clear that the internet commons should be free of corporate capture, and remain a space where freedom of communication and innovation can thrive," it said.
The BBC also signalled the law could also prove beneficial.
"The open internet remains a key distribution platform for existing offers like BBC iPlayer and innovative new services," said a spokesman. […]
Like me, you are probably getting slightly tired of the net neutrality saga in Europe. It has dragged on for years now, and it's tempting just to throw up your hands and move on to something else. But boring as it may be, net neutrality really matters: it defines the essence of the Internet, and if we lose true net neutrality, we lose the Internet that we have known for the past two decades. Significantly, net neutrality has just been guaranteed in Brazil through the passing of what is known as the Marco Civil; it would be unforgivable if Europe failed to do the same.
For that reason, I would urge you to contact your MEPs one last time on this subject. What should be the final vote will take place on Thursday, 3 April. That follows the unsatisfactory vote in the ITRE committee that took place recently, where a compromised version of the text was narrowly approved. However, MEPs fighting for true net neutrality have not given up, and have come up with new amendments that will address the failings of the proposed text. […]
El Congreso brasileño aprueba el Marco Civil de Internet, una iniciativa de la sociedad civil que garantiza la neutralidad de la red y el derecho a la privacidad de las comunicaciones, entre otras cosas.
El documento será usado en el vital encuentro internacional Net Mundial de São Paulo, a finales de abril, para intentar construir una Carta Magna que regule Internet globalmente. [...]
A falta de que el Senado brasileño ratifique la ley, el Marco Civil se ha convertido en el documento más vanguardista sobre derechos y gobernanza de Internet. En su artículo número 9 la neutralidad de la red, tan deseada por las organizaciones que luchan por los derechos digitales, queda garantizado: "El responsable por la transmisión, conmutación o roteamiento tiene el deber de tratar de la misma forma cualquier paquete de datos, sin distinción por contenido, origen y destino, servicio, terminal o aplicación". [...]
A parte de su contenido, la gran peculiaridad del Marco Civil de Internet es que ha sido un proceso cocinado en red por la sociedad civil. La idea original surgió a partir de un artículo de Ronaldo Lemos , publicado en mayo de 2007 . El Ministerio de Justiça, el Ministerio de Cultura (MINC) y la Fundação Getúlio Vargas lanzaron en octubre de 2009 un proceso colaborativo al que se fueron incorporando diferentes activistas y organizaciones. [...]
[…] The online habits of customers like Mr. Herbert, and their ability to pay, are the focus of digital policy legislation on which lawmakers from the European Union’s 28 member countries plan to vote Thursday in Brussels. A key part of the legislation is so-called net neutrality. The rules are meant to ensure equitable access to Internet’s pipelines for services like streaming music, on-demand television and cloud computing. […]
Consumer advocacy groups, meanwhile, say their main concern is that the new rules would make Internet access unaffordable for many Europeans. And they warn that the network economics could end up favoring American juggernauts like Google, Netflix or Amazon, to the detriment of providers of European content and services.
The vote “will either mark an unprecedented advance toward the protection of our fundamental rights, or mark the final days of the open Internet as we know it,” said Félix Tréguer, co-founder of the La Quadrature du Net, an advocacy group in Paris. […]
A draft law on net neutrality passed an European Parliament committee Tuesday 30 to 12, with 14 members abstaining. Although the draft law purports to protect net neutrality, it contains vague language that would allow ISPs to charge websites more for higher quality of service, provided it does not degrade other online services. [...]
The advocacy organization La Quadrature du Net has called the provisions above [in the regulation] “major loopholes.”
La Quadrature du Net co-founder, Félix Tréguer said:
What is at stake in this regulation is no less than the fate of the Internet commons. Are we going to let big telecom operators and Internet giants dictate the terms of the digital economy or will lawmakers adopt strong binding principles making sure that the Internet remains a decentralized platform for freedom of communication and innovation, where citizens and new entrants can challenge entrenched players? This is the crucial question that will soon be addressed through the upcoming plenary vote, and one that citizens should ask to their elected representative in Brussels ahead of the upcoming EU elections.
The European Parliament’s industry committee has passed Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes’s big telecoms legislation package, including a contentious section covering net neutrality.
The legislation is ostensibly supposed to entrench the principles of net neutrality in European law for the first time, guaranteeing that broadband and mobile providers treat all internet services equally. [...]
According to Miriam Artino, legal and policy analyst at digital rights group La Quadrature du Net, the Tuesday vote was “a sign of the massive lobbying influence of big telecom operators over the European legislative process,” but all is not lost:
“The regulation’s big loopholes will have to be corrected when the European Parliament casts its final vote in a few weeks. The many MEPs who have proposed constructive amendments at the committee stage now have an opportunity to table new amendments across party lines so as to ensure that the general interest prevails over the short-term commercial interests of the telecom industry.”
The [European Parliament's industry] committee voted [...] to approve the Telecoms Single Market package, which includes an end to roaming charges from December 2015 and new rules for ISPs. While it explicitly bans blocking and throttling of Internet traffic, it leaves the door open for "specialized services."
"Today's vote is a sign of the massive lobbying influence of big telecom operators over the European legislative process. The regulation's big loopholes will have to be corrected when the European Parliament casts its final vote in a few weeks," said Miriam Artino, legal and policy analyst at La Quadrature du Net.
The debate over net neutrality in Europe is heating up after the European Parliament's industry committee on Tuesday approved a controversial legislation package some say could threaten Internet use in Europe. [...]
The legislation has faced criticism since its proposal last year, primarily regarding alleged loopholes some Internet activists say could block content, increase the price of Internet services, and give preferential treatment to large corporations over tech start-ups. Despite these criticisms, EU officials and parliamentary leaders say the legislation safeguards open Internet principles.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have voted for stricter rules against internet providers blocking or slowing internet services provided by competitors [...]
The vote was not without controversy, given that the net neutrality element contains a glaring caveat, with wording that says that "specialised services" can be exempted from the principle. Some services such as IPTV and "business-critical data intensive cloud applications" do work better when they are given dedicated bandwidth -- provided that doesn't interfere with the internet speeds offered to customers -- but the wording isn't clear enough. The worry is that ISPs could end up doing deals with some content providers such as Netflix in order that their content is prioritised over other services -- something that has already happened in the US. This has led digital rights activists such as La Quadrature du Net to criticise the decision.
Does the Internet belong to corporations or to citizens? Who runs it? Who owns it? Who decides what’s on it? Is it going to turn into a TV with a Facebook extra? All of this is at stake. It’s a vote being forced by the telecoms industry, to spike any chance of Europe getting a net neutrality law after the Euro-elections. If this vote is lost, what can be done to save the Internet? [...]
The situation in the European Parliament is that the rapporteur, Mrs Pilar Del Castillo, is pushing amendments that support the prioritisation, bandwidth cap manoeuvring and specialised services that the telecoms industry wants - an agenda that stands to be disastrous for the open Internet. MEPs Catherine Trautmann and Marietje Schaake are countering with amendments that among other things, give explicit support for net neutrality. La Quadrature du Net have set out a summary and also published an annotated voting list . [...]
La Quadrature du Net are urging concerned citizens who would like the European Parliament to protect the open Internet, to contact their MEP. In particular, anyone doing this should express support for the S&D/Greens amendement tabled by Catherine Trautmann. La Quadrature du Net have created a special website savetheinternet.eu with all the information on it. [...]
Lightning conference that Emily and Baba gave at the 30C3, the 30th Chaos Communication Congress of the German CCC, in Hamburg on 28 December 2013.
Hacking (with) care is a versatile, collaborative initiative which purpose is to bring balance, embodiment, body & soul awareness and care to the hackers' communities, living by the shared ethics of goodness for all, joyful creativity, freedom and sharing of knowledge.
Hacking (with) care explores questions relative to hackers' psychological and physical well-being and health, and looks at how a sense of freedom in the technological realms can relate to a sense of freedom in one's life. We seek to encourage vitality and (data)love potentialities to blossom both on and away from keyboards. We also feel we want to return the favor to those who, often behind their computers, care for all of us by engaging everyday in straining battles for freedom.
See also: http://hackingwithcare.in/
Emily:Hello. So, I am Emily and this is Baba and we are Hacking With Care. Hacking with care is a project, a collective project to care for hackers-who-care, and help them care for themselves and others. Before we go any further, we are going to stretch our tongue and face so that speaking will be easier and I suggest that you do the same with us. So, imagine a big lion, and stick the tongue out really far, open your eyes very wide, and lets go, three, two, one... alright so anytime that you have tensions in the jaws you can do that. It's really nice for teeth-grinders, people who grind their teeth at night. And it's really good before giving a talk. And so now Baba is ready to talk.
Baba: Hackers by definition have no limits. Their only limitation is, yet, the body. In order to survive, one has to take care of his body and organs. I must say at this point that we do not endorse the post-human clique theory. It's mostly the opposite: Very ancient techniques can provide solution to very new problems that hackers encounter. Yoga, or traditional Chinese medecine, are solutions to usual problems, to everyday problems. By training, by doing a training routine, ten minutes every day, one can feel one's own body. Like computers we can start the day by a boot sequence. You don't need to be a super hero to stretch yourself. Stretching is natural.
Emily:The way that we see massage and techniques like yoga, we see them as very successful examples of peer-to-peer. You know some go back thousands of years and so it's also an example of arts that are, free, still free, for, in the most part, free knowledge, very open protocols, so in that way we identify also with hackers' ethics and this is the way that we practice. We want to support regeneration of resistance, that vital forces of people who engage in defense and creation of freedoms, feel good and don't burn out doing so, so we want to share what we know about that. I wanted to tell you also, that once before giving a massage to someone, I asked him where he was feeling pain in his body, and he answered that the world was a chronic pain. In many aspects it is true, so we want, with this project, to help you, that this pain doesn't embed in your body and so that you, so we all do what we have to do for the common good without breaking.
Baba:We want to show you rapidly some basic exercises that hackers can do. First of all, yoga of the eyes, because we're always looking in front of a screen, so the yoga of the eyes is like this and we train our eyes like this. The second one is for the muscles of the arms. We can do two corners like this and it helps to strech the...
Emily: ...tendons so you don't get tendonitis from clicking all day. Another one is for the fingers.
Baba:We are making a survey and we would like to invite you to contribute to the survey. If you know some tricks, to help you every day, we would like to compile this and make a...
Emily: ...we want to build a well being hack box, so we have a survey on our blog if you want to contribute with your own tricks.
Baba: ...and we would like to invite you to the fourth level to the Tea House and La Quadrature where you can have a massage and some tea.
[...] In [Nothing to hide], we see Jeremie [Zimmermann] and a French singer performing a song together. The song is built around a frequently heard attempt to justify massive surveillance, “if you have nothing to hide, there is nothing you should worry about” - simultaneously demonstrating that the opposite is true.
While I was at first amused by this new eccentricity from my compatriot, I had to admit that the digital freedoms theme is still sadly lacking in the musical landscape. Such an initiative can thus only be applauded as an excellent step forward in terms of education. [...]
What he refers to here is at the heart of the meshed society's balance; the relationship between privacy and creativity. [...] The negative impact of massive surveillance on both innovation and user trust is of crucial concern. [...]
[...] Members of the [European] parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy ( ITRE) will vote on a net neutrality proposal on Monday [today]. [...]
Groups in favor of net neutrality formed an online campaign - Save the Internet - calling on Europeans to contact their EU parliamentarians to enshrine net neutrality in law. [...]
"What we are discussing with the net neutrality debate is the fate of the Internet and the important legal principles that will shape the future of its architecture," said Felix Treguer, a co-founder of La Quadrature du Net, a Paris-based Internet advocacy group that is a part of the Save the Internet campaign. [...]
La Quadrature du Net's Treguer said allowing telecom operators to make deals prioritizing content from big providers, such as Google, Facebook or Amazon, would fundamentally change the Internet by providing faster access to some services and slower access to others.
"What is at stake is making sure that the open platform for innovation for competition for freedom of communication, for freedom of choice for Internet users is preserved," he said. [...]
Once again, we need to save net neutrality. This time, there is a crucial vote in the European Parliament's industry committee (ITRE) next Monday. La Quadrature du Net, which has been following this area more closely than anyone, has a good summary of what is happening […]
As you can see, the central problem is still that of "specialised services" that would be given priority over other Internet traffic. Such "specialised services" are a way for telecoms companies to charge premium prices, but that necessarily implies that non-premium services are degraded in comparison (otherwise why would anyone pay more?) That, by definition, kills Net neutrality.
The good news is that we can concentrate on getting one key point across: that specialised services of this kind must not be allowed. Here's the best way we can do that according to La Quadrature:
European citizens must tell the members of the Industry committee that the only deserving approach is to reject Mrs. Pilar del Castillo Vera's so-called ''compromise amendments'' and that they should adopt the same amendments to articles 2(15) and 23 as in the LIBE committee. To preserve the Internet's contribution to innovation and freedom of communication, European law should clearly ban telecom operators from marketing specialised services that are functionally equivalent to online services delivered on the Internet, thereby bypassing Net neutrality. […]
Angela Merkel’s proposal to create a pan-European communications network is really a political stance and not something that will protect European citizens’ communications, Benjamin Sonntag, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net, told RT.
Benjamin Sonntag: […] So basically, if you look at the communication today between the European countries, they are already going between them and not through America. It’s almost a nonsense to ask for pan-European network. It’s already the case. […]
The only solution we can see, La Quadrature, to protect the communications of the European citizens will be to ask for less collaboration with NSA from their own services and ask their services to protect our citizens and to protect the companies in Europe from this mass surveillance. […]
[Fracturing the internet] could be done, it would need a great expanse of really impressive [anti-Constitutional] laws in every European country to be able to do that, and it will be certainly not happen unless the people are forced to understand the usual bulls**t about the fight against terrorism or whatsoever. Unless they do that, it will be clearly impossible in Europe because we have a lot of decentralized operators mainly.
Internet giant Google has been forced to display a message on the homepage of its French website saying it has been fined for not meeting France's data protection standards. [...]
The punishment is more harmful to Google's reputation than to its finances, Jérémie Zimmermann the co-founder of online citizens' advocacy group La Quadrature du Net told RFI.
European IT security experts are divided on the success of cyber security, it emerged at the 6th International Forum on Cyber Security in Lille, France. [...]
According to [Jérémie] Zimmermann [co-founder of the Paris-based La Quadrature du Net], one of the main reasons cyber security has failed is that individual users of technology and online services have not been put at the heart of security.
He said trust had been lost because service providers have been abusing user data for their own gain, while governments have invested in mass surveillance and offensive cyber capabilities.
“Revelations that the US National Security Agency (NSA) sabotaged technology by inserting back doors has weakened our relationship with technology,” he said. [...]
Zimmermann used the opportunity to call for free and open technology as the only way forward. “Citizens must take over control of technology, rather than being controlled by it,” he said.
Officials of foreign governments greeted President Barack Obama's overhaul of U.S. spy practices Friday with a mix of skepticism and measured support [...] Critics of U.S. surveillance practices suggested that carve-outs for reasons of national security make the new protections hollow.
Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of European digital-rights group La Quadrature du Net, described the speech as an exercise in "crisis communications."
"I don't think it's possible in one speech to change this U.S. exceptionalism —that if you hold a U.S. passport your rights are protected, and if you don't, you're dust," he said.
La corte d'appello statunitense invalida parte del pacchetto di regole adottato da FCC per la net neutrality. Lo scontro viene vinto da Verizon, per un difetto nella classificazione dei provider USA. [...]
Sul fronte europeo, invece, supportata da varie organizzazioni come EDRi (European Digital Rights), La Quadrature du Net, Access Now, la campagna SaveTheInternet vuole bloccare la bozza legislativa adottata in ambito comunitario per regolamentare l'accesso ai servizi web. Anche nel Vecchio Continente c'è un difetto formale contestato dagli attivisti, dal momento che la Commissione Europea vorrebbe permettere ai vari provider di far pagare per la fornitura di "servizi speciali". Ma quali servizi vi rientrerebbero? Si teme che gli ISP possano inserire servizi competitor (da Skype a WhatsApp) in questa categoria. Per questo motivo, la campagna SaveTheInternet chiede un emendamento - se non il blocco - al testo legislativo, che sarà votato alla commissione ITRE (Industry, Research and Energy) alla fine del prossimo febbraio.
Talks that Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson and cofounder of La Quadrature du Net, gave at the Share Conference, in July 2013.
[…] Civil rights groups EDRi (European Digital Rights), the German Digitale Gesellschaft, the French La Quadrature du Net, the Austrian Initiative für Netzfreiheit as well as the Brussels based Access Now group together launched a campaign called SaveTheInternet.eu aiming to amend or block the regulation. […]
The European Union is currently preparing a net neutrality law. Net neutrality in principle means that all traffic on the internet is treated on an equal basis without regard to the type or origin of the content. However, the European Commission’s net neutrality proposal allows ISPs to charge extra for delivering “specialized services”—and by not defining the term, could allow them apply the label to services such as Skype, YouTube and Whatsapp that compete with their own offerings, and charge customers to access them, the groups warned. […]
The regulation is now up for discussion in the European Parliament. Therefore the groups urged European citizens to start contacting their Members of Parliament (MEPs) to make them aware of the problems in the draft regulation, especially because the legislation is on a very strict timeline.
Die neue Kampagne SaveTheInternet.eu will erreichen, dass das Prinzip der Netzneutralität in der EU gesetzlich verankert wird. Dafür haben sich diverse europäische Bürgerrechtsorganisationen zusammengetan [...] Sie ruft alle Bürger dazu auf, die Abgeordneten im Industrieausschuss des EU-Parlaments dazu aufzufordern, das offene und neutrale Netz zu bewahren. Dieser will den Vorschlag der EU-Kommission an 27. Februar behandeln.
An der Kampagne SaveTheInternet.eu sind neben der Digitalen Gesellschaft unter anderem die französische Organisation La Quadrature du Net, EDRi und accessnow.org aus Belgien sowie die österreichische Initiative für Netzfreiheit beteiligt.
Lightning conference that Benjamin Sonntag, cofounder of La Quadrature du Net, gave at the 30C3, the 30th Chaos communication conference of the German CCC, in Hamburg on 28 December 2013.
See also: http://www.bookscanner.fr/
[EFF] What Do You Want From Copyright? Tell the EU now and Change the Future of Global Innovation Policy
A rare opportunity to change the path of copyright in Europe has emerged, but there's not much time to take advantage of it. The European Commission (EC) has opened up for public comment copyright policy across the European Union for the first time in 15 years. [...]
While this process is a welcome improvement from having no opportunity for public input, La Quadrature du Net notes that the process is still far from perfect.
Jeremie from La Quadrature du Net writes, "France just turned into a surveillance state, adopting a sneaky surveillance framework in article 13 of its Defense Bill (Loi de programmation militaire). It drastically extends the exceptional regime of extra-judicial surveillance against terrorism, for broad motives, including for the purpose of 'preserving scientific and economic interests of France' which could enable total.surveillance of political activists, journalists, corporate watchdogs, etc." […]
France is attracting widespread criticism after introducing a new law which allows the government to gather even more digital information than before.
The country's government has pushed through a new law that extends the scope of telecoms and internet surveillance by the state, even though it has since been heavily criticised by various authorities, including the country's data protection watchdog and the employers' federation.
The new law, which is part of a new military programming law that was passed on Wednesday, allows the country to gather digital information previously limited to intelligence agencies tied to the defence, interior, finance and budget ministries. [...]
Furthermore, Phillipe Aigrain, co-founder of non-profit organisation La Quadrature du Net, which looks at internet privacy, said that the law is “total abuse of citizen's privacy”.
“In the context of Snowden's revelations on massive and generalised citizen surveillance, it is shocking to see the French Parliament adopt a text that enshrines the state of emergency and allows total abuse of citizen's privacy,” said Aigrain in a blog post. He added, “Representatives must hear the call of civil society and activate recourse to the Constitutional Council”. [...]
After blasting the US in the wake of the NSA spying revelations, the last thing you would expect France to do is rush through a reform that opens the way for widespread surveillance of its citizens. A French digital rights group tells The Local why we should all be alarmed. [...]
Jérémie Zimmermann, one of the founders of French digital rights group La Quadrature du Net tells the Local why we should all be worried by this law.
"This is an extremely disturbing development that, without doubt, affects all of us. You cannot have democracy with this kind of surveillance and without individual privacy. [...]"
This article by the Associated Press about the French "law making its way through parliament [that] would give French intelligence services access to telephone and Internet usage data that would let them locate and follow a target of a terrorism investigation in real time. The law also expands the number of agents allowed to access this information to include those from the finance and budget ministries."
"In addition, the law would give agents access not just to meta data about users from website hosts but allow them to seize content stored on websites and in clouds. In at least some cases, agents could request information not just to combat terrorism but also to fight industrial espionage."
"Considering the recently uncovered evidence of massive and generalized spying on citizens, the maneuvers of the president and of the government deceive no one," said Philippe Aigrain, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net, a lobby that urges governments to protect personal data and Internet freedom. "This bill sets up a generalized surveillance regime and risks to destroy once and for all the limited trust between citizens and agencies responsible for security."
Jeremie from La Quadrature du Net writes, "Yesterday the 2014-2019 defense bill passed first reading in the French National Assembly. It marks a strong shift towards total online surveillance. If passed, the bill will not only allow live monitoring of everyone's personal and private data but also do so without judicial oversight, as the surveillance will be enabled through administrative request. The bill also turns permanent measures that were only temporary."
[…] On 15 November the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Peter Hustinx published his Opinion on Neelie Kroes', vice-president of the European Commission and in charge of the Digital Agenda, proposals for harmonizing electronic communications services across Europe. He welcomed the inclusion of a net neutrality principle, but warned that the actual text is devoid of substance because of the almost unlimited right of providers to manage internet traffic. […]
Under Kroes' proposals, and in order to manage their networks, providers will be able to monitor users' internet usage "ranging," explains the European Digital Rights Group (EDRI), "from visits of websites to the receiving of e-mails"; and even, it adds, legitimize "the slowing down of bit rates or the restriction of access to allegedly illegal services and content." Not only is this the clear opposite of net neutrality, says EDRI, it would further be a breach of both the Human Rights Declaration and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. […]
Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for La Quadrature, is more blunt. “If the EU Parliament lets Neelie Kroes' text go through without amending its Net neutrality provisions, the only beneficiaries will be the dominant telecom operators, at the expense of freedom of communication online and innovation in the digital economy. From now and until the final vote in plenary sitting, a few months before the European elections, citizens must contact Members of the ITRE committee and all concerned Members of the European Parliament and urge them to guarantee a true and unconditional Net neutrality, only way to guarantee our freedom of communication online.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sent a letter to the National Security Agency (NSA) Director Keith Alexander and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman asking whether the NSA was spying on the communications of organisations and individuals working for the public interest in U.S. trade policy.
"Since negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) [...] and the [...] Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership [...], are held in secret, it's even more unsettling that our private communications may have been intercepted and handed over to an executive agency that has been enthusiastic about allowing corporations to dictate its core policy agenda. We and our colleagues co-operate internationally to fight against opaque policy-making processes to ensure that all Internet users' rights are respected and upheld in these powerful bodies of international law."
The "Digital rights organization, La Quadrature du Net, published a leaked document this summer that gave us a glimpse of negotiators' plan to regulate the Internet and undermine users' right to privacy. It revealed how EU delegates intended to set new rules around liability for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and the transfer and processing of users’ personal online data. There is no reason why such policies effecting users' right to privacy should be decided these secretive venues, which is why La Quadrature du Net has called for documents related to the TTIP negotiations be released to the public immediately."
Microsoft, Google and Facebook managers denied giving the NSA or any government in the world direct or unfettered access to their servers, at the ninth NSA inquiry hearing on the mass surveillance of EU citizens held at Parliament on Monday. [...]
As concerns over the Internet security are at their highest, in an interview to Voice of Russia, Jeremie Zimmermann,founder and spokesperson for La Quadrature du Net, a citizen advocacy group defending fundamental freedoms online, talked about how tech companies handle personal data and how they cooperate with surveillance schemes. [...]
The sad truth is that we cannot trust those US companies anymore and that we cannot trust closedown software and hardware to protect our freedoms and our communications online. Only free [libre] software that users can understand, that users can share, that users can modify – only free [libre] software gives us the potentiality to be able to control the machine and, therefore, restore trust and gain control over our personal communications back. This is the major democratic issue.
"As concerns over the Internet security are at their highest, in an interview to Voice of Russia, Jeremie Zimmermann, founder and spokesperson for La Quadrature du Net, a citizen advocacy group defending fundamental freedoms online, talked about how tech companies handle personal data and how they cooperate with surveillance schemes."
In response to a question on whether efforts by Tech companies to be more transparent about their data sharing habits, he said:
"This is crisis management communication [by Tech companies – Microsoft, Google, Facebook] mostly, because their customers are losing trust in their products. [...]
The reality is that we cannot trust them anymore, because a whole bunch of US laws forces them into cooperating with mass surveillance and forces them in the way where they can never reveal the truth about it."
It seems that every day brings new claims and counter-claims about who's spying on whom. Governments are trying to limit the damage, but that damage is not limited to governments, expert Jeremie Zimmermann told DW. [...]
If you know you're being surveilled all the time you won't speak the same way, you won't say what you know about your boss, you won't say what you think about your government because you fear this may be used against you. The same way you might not go to the meeting of a new political party because you know you could be blackmailed or blacklisted. The same way you won't call your doctor for an abortion or won't read information about HIV or some disease. Privacy is the key to enable all the fundamental freedoms that are themselves at the heart of democratic societies. [...]
We must have a public debate about the role of intelligence and we must create policies that would allow either selected members of the legislative or executive to control these institutions and find a way to get accountability for what they do. It is understood that a secret service must have secrets, but maybe after some time these secrets could be lifted and people who broke the law could be sued. I think that policies can be devised here to take back control of these institutions. They are not bound to be completely out of control here. [...]
So my dear hope is that people will understand the true nature of technology and how important this is as a crucial question: Will we control the machines or will the machines [control] us?
Brazil is urging a plan to introduce local data storage for Internet giants like Facebook and Google in order to keep the information they get from Brazilian users safe –as part of a complex of measures to oppose US spying. [...]
Jeremie Zimmermann, co-founder of the French digital rights advocacy group La Quadrature du Net, told RT such a project is about taking back control of both vital digital infrastructure and fundamental freedoms. [...]
Zimmermann said more control of communication infrastructure is an assertion of “a kind of digital sovereignty that countries should be free to apply” for the common good. [...]
Even with Europe in an uproar over intrusive United States surveillance, its leaders are looking for ways to slow down legislation aimed at preventing violations of privacy at home. [...]
“Everyone is very eager to protect privacy in their public statements,” said Miriam Artino, a policy analyst at La Quadrature du Net, a French organization that promotes digital rights and liberties. “But we can see that government leaders are not very enthusiastic and are looking for ways to delay the process.” [...]
Yet the legislation has been under consideration for two years and, caught by the crosswinds of rival national interests and corporate lobbying, the process has shown how hard it is for Europe to agree on protecting privacy, something nearly everyone supports in principle. [...]
A question from Tom via Twitter: “Do you think our privacy and more generally our fundamental rights as EU citizens are at risk with growing mass surveillance by the US and other governments?”
Answer from Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson and co-founder of Quadrature du Net, a non-profit association defending the rights and freedoms of citizens on the Internet :
Part of the answer, in order to try to protect our privacy, obviously implies policies and the establishment of legislation protecting citizens. But that is not all. We also need to ask the question of what relationship we have with technology today.
Who has physical access to our data and to our personal communications? This is a fundamental question. Because of this freedom, of this fundamental right to privacy protection arise other freedoms. For example, if you know you are being watched constantly, you are not going to express the same way, you can not tell what you know about your boss or your government, you will self-censor.
One of the most important pieces of legislation wending its way through the European Parliament concerns data protection. Because of its potential impact on major US companies like Google and Facebook, this has become one of the most fought-over proposals in the history of the EU, with lobbyists apparently writing large chunks of suggested amendments more favorable to online services. And all of that was before Snowden’s revelations about NSA spying in the EU made data protection an even more politically-sensitive area. [...]
Perhaps the biggest loophole concerns the concept of ” legitimate interest” (pdf), which allows a company to use personal data provided it meets “the reasonable expectations of the data subject based on his or her relationship with the [company]“. Of course, that is so vague as to be utterly useless — what does “reasonable expectations” mean in this context? As the draft legislation stands, companies are essentially being given a free pass to do pretty much whatever like with the personal data they gather, despite all the other supposed safeguards. And there’s another serious issue, as noted by La Quadrature du Net:
The Members of the LIBE Committee also made the very disturbing choice of accept the secret tripartite negotiations requested by the rapporteur Jan Philipp Albrecht. The text will now be modified behind closed doors, between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council (ministers from the Member States). The latter could use untransparent negotiations to annihilate all the positive provisions of this Regulation, leading to a weak and dangerous final version of this legislation. [...]
One of the most important pieces of legislation wending its way through the European Parliament concerns data protection. Because of its potential impact on major US companies like Google and Facebook, this has become one of the most fought-over proposals in the history of the EU, with lobbyists apparently writing large chunks of suggested amendments more favorable to online services. [...]
Where before the concerted lobbying campaign seemed to have managed to water down the proposals, now the Snowden Effect was in evidence, as the committee beefed up privacy protection for the public. [...]
Perhaps the biggest loophole concerns the concept of " legitimate interest" (pdf), which allows a company to use personal data provided it meets "the reasonable expectations of the data subject based on his or her relationship with the [company]". [...] And there's another serious issue, as noted by La Quadrature du Net:
The Members of the LIBE Committee also made the very disturbing choice of accept the secret tripartite negotiations requested by the rapporteur Jan Philipp Albrecht. The text will now be modified behind closed doors, between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council (ministers from the Member States). The latter could use untransparent negotiations to annihilate all the positive provisions of this Regulation, leading to a weak and dangerous final version of this legislation. [...]
[WashingtonInternetDaily] Proposed New Data Protection Rules Said Bad for Internet Business, Potentially Good for Users
A compromise package for reform of Europe's data protection rules set for a vote this week in the European Parliament Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee could either boost safeguards for online users or threaten the very existence of some Internet business models, stakeholders said. […]
The compromise package to be adopted contains many good parts, beefed up from the EC's initial proposal, along with “vast and dangerous loopholes,” said La Quadrature du Net spokesman Jérémie Zimmermann. He also slammed the “outrageously vague notion” of “general interest” as an exception to regulation and the provision on profiling, saying such loopholes could make the entire measure ineffective.
After the vote, there will be chances for the European Parliament to fix the text, but also to neutralize it during negotiations with EU governments during the “trilogues” aimed at reaching agreement among the EU institutions before the elections, Zimmermann told us. “It is the beginning of such an arm wrestle,” he said. “We'll see if the Parliament can effectively stand for the protection of citizens, [especially] in the context of massive violation of their fundamental freedoms” by U.S. companies and intelligence agencies, he said. La Quadrature Monday urged LIBE rapporteur Albrecht not to seek a negotiating mandate for first-reading agreement via trilogue, saying it will mean that talks take place behind closed doors, with no chance for open debate.
Critics have said new European data-protection laws have loopholes that could render the legislation useless. The rules are the first attempt to create strong data-protection laws for Europe's 500 million citizens. They include a clause to strengthen online privacy in the wake of whistleblower Edward Snowden's allegations about US spying. […]
But French consumer group La Quadrature du Net was disappointed with the draft law. "There are some big loopholes that could void the effectiveness of the whole legislation," said Jeremie Zimmermann, from the organisation. He said vague wording such as "legitimate interest" could allow businesses to "exonerate themselves from the legislation". "A business could say that it is a legitimate interest to collect data in order to provide a better service for consumers or to enable it to make money," he said.
He was also surprised that the rules around data profiling were not tougher. "Machines that crunch data are used to make important decisions such as who can get a job, who can get a loan, who can get insurance," he said. "This legislation allows firms to continue to collect and process more data and profile individuals." […]
Now begins a long process during which the approved legislation will be debated among between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council.
The European Parliament’s civil liberties committee voted Monday night to allow profiling of “pseudonymous” data, but digital rights groups say that safeguards to protect data are not sufficient.
The committee vote was on the latest amendments to the proposed E.U. Data Protection Regulation, which was put forward by Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding in 2012 and has provoked some of the heaviest lobbying seen in Brussels in years. The text voted on Monday had been through almost 4,000 amendments.
“The combination of Articles 6 and 20 amounts to a badly drafted license to profile without consent,” warned EDRi director Joe McNamee. […]
This “legitimate interest” exception appears in Article 6, which reads: “Processing of personal data shall be lawful if processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller, and which meet the reasonable expectations of the data subject based on his or her relationship with the controller.” This could turn ‘legitimate interest’ into the main legal basis for processing,” said Jeremie Zimmermann of La Quadrature du Net in a statement.
“A lot of other compromise amendments reached by members of the different political groups are actually good. For instance, those providing that consent must be explicit, that data must be fairly processed or that citizens must keep them under their control; but these good compromise amendments could be almost useless if the compromise amendments made on Article 6 and 20 are adopted,” Zimmermann added. […]
After 18 months of intense negotiations, MEPs spearheading the European Data Protection regulation have reached a compromise.
The heavily lobbied draft bill, which included a record-breaking 4,000 amendments, is now set for a committee orientation vote in the next plenary session in Strasbourg. […]
The document will bypass plenary debate and vote in order to kick start inter-institutional negotiations to reach a more timely agreement.
But Paris-based Internet campaign group La Quadrature du Net described the parliament’s tactic as an “obscure hijacking of the democratic debate” because of the closed-door nature of such meetings.
“The only objective of the negotiating team in this manoeuvre seems to be able to boast about this regulation being the best achievement ever reached in the field of data protection, even if that is yet far from the case and could even get worse,” noted the group in a statement. […]
NINETEEN CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS have banded together to press the European Parliament into a privacy protection vote on Monday at the "Civil Liberties" committee (LIBE). […]
Earlier this week the French group La Quadrature du Net urged supporters to contact their members of the LIBE committee and rapporteur Jan Philipp Albrecht with their concerns about the erosion of privacy laws and personal privacy in France.
"Citizens need effective legal tools to regain control over their personal data in the face of the predatory behaviors of giant companies whose business models are based on collecting everyone's data, favouring the rise of global surveillance." said Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for La Quadrature du Net. "Such legal empowerment cannot be achieved without a proper public debate".
European Union citizens have no protection from NSA activities whatsoever, net activist Jérémie Zimmermann told DW - and he is backed up by a new report presented to the EU parliament.
An independent report on the US National Security Agency's activities and their impact on the fundamental rights of European Union citizens was presented to the bloc's parliament on Tuesday (24.09.2013). Its author Caspar Bowden provided an overview of the legal loopholes and controversies that dog the NSA's programs, before offering a number of recommendations on what the EU could do about them - including placing warnings on US websites that personal data may be collected. Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson and co-founder of the Paris-based citizens' rights group La Quadrature du Net, discussed them with DW. [...]
« [The] study pretty much covers everything we advocate: first of all revoking the safe harbor – the safe harbor allows US companies to disregard EU law, provided that they respect a set of commitments, and it specifies that whenever one of these commitments is broken, the safe harbor can be revoked. With PRISM, all the requirements of the safe harbor have been broken at once, therefore it would be 100 percent legitimate for the EU to revoke it and start new negotiations with the US, with the upper hand. And nobody in the EU talks about it. »
« Number two, the EU could push an industrial policy that would encourage alternatives to companies that participate in state surveillance - which means free software, decentralized services, and end-to-end encryption technology, that would put control of personal data back into the hands of users. Technologies that liberate, rather than technologies that control. There is an avenue for public policies, and a market that is wide open for such technologies. And if we want to compete with the US, this is obviously the path to take. [...] »
The fight around net neutrality is far from over. In fact EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes’ recent presentation of her version of “net neutrality” in a draft regulation on a “connected continent“ resulted in an outcry on behalf of digital rights organisations. If passed unchanged, the new legal instrument would explicitly allow for deals between content providers and network operators about preferential treatment. […]
Digital rights groups cried foul at the eve of the publication already. Neelie Kroes was “consciously betraying EU citizens by giving in to the powerful telecom lobbies,” declared Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder and spokesperson of the citizen organisation La Quadrature du Net. Zimmerman also warned against rushing such measures before the upcoming elections. […]
The European Commission has put forward its set of proposals for the first step to reform the European telecoms market. Among the proposals, the long-awaited and much-debated scrapping of roaming fees makes an appearance, with a raft of changes proposed for July 2014. [...]
Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net, said: "Mrs Kroes' draft is flawed by design to allow commercial breaches of net neutrality, through forms of discrimination which undermine our freedom of communication and are anti-competitive by nature. " [...]
For the past years, EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes, who started by advocating for net neutrality, has constantly given in to the pressure of large telecom companies, changing her direction from protecting net neutrality to threatening it. The current draft Regulation made public on 11 September 2013 just confirms this direction.
La Quadrature du Net and several advocacy groups have accused Kroes of killing net neutrality through the Commission's draft proposal on the reform of the EU telecom market, under the disguise of defending it. […]
“The Commission would be giving telecoms freedom to enter into business deals with big content providers such as Google or Facebook to prioritize their data flows over the Internet. Such a corporate power-grab would relegate the rest of citizens and new-entrant innovators to a slower Internet with disastrous effects for freedom and innovation online,” said Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesman for La Quadrature du Net. […]
"Mrs Kroes' draft is flawed by design to allow commercial breaches of Net neutrality, through forms of discrimination which undermine our freedom of communication and are anti-competitive by nature. Rushing such measures, a few months before upcoming elections, is outrageous and shows the profoundly disturbing disconnection between the Commission and citizens." explains Jérémie Zimmermann. […]
Berlin — The European Commission on Wednesday (11 September) put forward plans to ban charges for incoming calls when abroad, but allowing internet providers to charge more for high-quality connections. […]
Kroes says her proposal - which was heavily lobbied by telecoms and internet providers - defends the principle of an open internet for all and specifically bans throttling the connection, or even severing it, for customers who do not subscribe to a premium service. […]
For his part, Jeremie Zimmermann from La Quadrature du Net, a French NGO promoting internet freedom, called Kroes' bluff on net neutrality.
"Allowing prioritisation of traffic voids any net neutrality provision which bans throttling or blocking of communications, as in practice these deals for discriminating communications, only accessible to massive actors such as Google, will amount to de-prioritising everything else," Zimmermann told this website. […]
A new draft law on net neutrality and mobile roaming in Europe has caused conflict between European Union commissioners.
[…] A leaked document from the justice department shows that Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding is highly critical of the proposal. […]
Kroes has repeatedly said that the new law would guarantee net neutrality and an end to blocking or throttling of competing services. However digital rights activists have published leaked drafts of the law that they say shows the opposite. “The sheer number of leaked drafts and documents, including from Kroes’ own service, reflects how unhappy some inside the Commission are with the proposals,” said EDRi spokesman Joe McNamee. […]
Last week Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesman for digital advocacy group La Quadrature du Net (QdN), accused Kroes of abandoning her promise to protect net neutrality.
The latest leaked draft of the law states: “End-users shall be free to agree to enter into agreements on data volumes, and speeds and general quality characteristics with providers of electronic communications.” According to Zimmermann, this is simply another way of saying traffic may be prioritized. […]
The EU's telecoms chief may have to redraw part of her plan to boost broadband speeds and forge a cross-continent market, because of opposition to parts critics say could give big operators unfair advantages, a senior EU Commission official said. […]
But as many as nine commissioners have already objected to the plans, particularly parts which could allow telecoms companies to charge content providers and consumers extra for using certain Internet services, the official told Reuters on Monday. […]
"The biggest concern of numerous commissioners is the issue of Net neutrality. Because what Kroes' proposal is doing is restricting and creating exceptions to Net neutrality, the official said. Eight to nine commissioners have expressed serious doubts. […]"
"This is inherently anti-competitive; only companies as big as Google have that wingspan," said Jeremie Zimmermann, co-founder of Paris-based advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.
A digital advocacy group has accused Europe's Digital Agenda Commissioner of caving in to pressure from telcos and abandoning her promise to protect net neutrality. […]
"End-users shall be free to agree to enter into agreements on data volumes, and speeds and general quality characteristics with providers of electronic communications," continues article 19. According to Zimmermann, this is the "smoking gun" and Assured Service Quality (ASQ) is simply another way of saying traffic prioritization.
"The Commission would be giving telecoms freedom to enter into business deals with big content providers such as Google or Facebook to prioritize their data flows over the Internet. Such a corporate power-grab would relegate the rest of citizens and new-entrant innovators to a slower Internet with disastrous effects for freedom and innovation online," said Zimmermann. […]