Squaring the Net : the debate is open.

Permanent link: http://www.laquadrature.net/the-debate-is-open

Paris, March 26, 2008. While the Olivennes bill [0] aimed at building the "graduated response" must be voted before the summer in France, a group of citizens launched "Squaring the Net" to alert on this and other equally disturbing governmental projects, and to make alternative proposals.

Since the beginning of the year, the french government has announced various projects relating to Internet:

* Olivennes bill aimed at building "graduated response" [1] allowing an administrative authority to cut down internet access that has been repeatedly used for downloading music or video without authorization; ;
* The proposed extension of the powers of the CSA (french media authority) to Internet [2];
* Draft proposal for an administrative marking of websites [3];
* Blurry plan to combat cybercrime [4];
* Draft decree extending the retention of connection data [5].

The government has indicated that it wanted several of them, including the Olivennes bill, to be adopted before the French presidency of the European Union (July 1st), and that these measures are widespread at the euroepan level in the wake.

"Widespread monitoring of Internet, including by private actors, mandatory over-referencing of 'accredited sites' by the search engines, administrative supervision of content hosters and publishers, content filtering and internet access disconnection without trial ... These projects draw a declining democracy, a political control of the internet, a Big Brother society. By no means a model for Europe." Said Christophe Espern, founder of the initiative.

Emergency measures planned to fight terrorism could be extended over time and to other areas, in an effort to preserve outdated models, without a real democratic, open and transverse debate. Such a debate is essential regarding the ethical, social and economic issues caused by the "digital revolution".

Citizens who believe that there are other answers to this challenge therefore decided to launch an initiative to inform the public and the government, and open the debate. They chose the name "Squaring the Net" because they believe that, for years, the lawmaker is trying to solve a problem similar to squaring the circle [6].

The site http://www.squaringthenet.net relays information on the projects and future actions of the initiative. Synthetic information kits are online, they will be updated throughout time. Other analysis, op-eds and proposals will follow. Users can stay informed by subscribing to the mailing list and participating more directly to the initiative. [7]

References :

[0] The Olivennes bill is named after Denis Olivennes, CEO of FNAC (one of the biggest CD, DVD and online music retailer in France), commissioned by Nicolas Sarkozy to find solutions to fight unauthorized downloading.

[1] EFF about the "three strikes"


Focus on Olivennes draft (french)


[2] Media authority control over the net (french)


[3] Administrative marking of websites (french)


[4] Cybercrime plan (french)


[5] Log retention focus (french)


[6] Why the name "Squaring the Net" ?


[7] How to Participate? (french)