Say No to Sarkozy's European Takeover!

Paris, November 20th 2008 − Essential rights and freedoms for Internet users are at stake. On November 27th, The Council of EU may open the door to an pan-european "graduated response" by removing Amendment 138, voted by 88% of the European Parliament from the “Telecoms Package”. Academic studies confirm that the fundamental principles of proportionality and privacy may also be threatened by the ministers of the Member States, along with this blatant denial of everyone's right to a due trial. La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net) publishes an open letter and renews its call for European citizens to write to their government representatives urging them to protect basic freedoms.

La Quadrature du Net's previous analysis was confirmed in a study by top UK cyber-lawyers1. According to this document, foundations of “graduated response”2 are already present in the “Telecoms Package” as voted by the European Parliament on Sept. 24th3 and clearly reinforced in Council's working documents proposed by French presidency4. The only barrier against the propagation of Nicolas Sarkozy's project is now Amendment 1385, which recalls that only the judicial authority can restrict citizen's fundamental rights and freedoms.

These conclusions clearly void the explanations from some government representatives arguing that there is nothing to worry about, copyright enforcement matters are no more in Telecoms Package and that Amendment 138 isn't necessary. The most recent working documents from the Council of EU6 show an obvious will of denying fundamental rights and freedom of internet users recalled by the European Parliament: along with Amendment 138 protecting the right to a due and balanced trial, Amendment 1667 recalling the principle of proportionality may also be removed, as well as crucial protection of privacy measures that were added, according to the recommendations of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS)8.

“No accountable politician would even think about removing such protections of citizens' fundamental rights and freedoms, moreover when recalled by plebiscite by elected Members of European Parliament. The problem at this stage is the ‘political laundering’ where unaccountable ministers of Member States can stealthily achieve such removal behind closed doors.” explained Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, analyst for La Quadrature du Net who just published a detailed explanation of this process of “political laundering”9.

“Citizens must alert their ministers like they did with their MEPs in September. Europe must protect citizen's rights and freedoms, not abolish them to serve corporate interests. With this decision on November 27th, everyone will judge if European Democracy is working.” added Jérémie Zimmeramann, co-founder of La Quadrature.

La Quadrature du Net publishes the letter sent to the French ministers in charge of Telecoms10. The citizen group renews its call for European citizens to draw attention on these issues by writing to their representatives in the EU Council.

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