Things seem to be going from bad to worse with the EU's Telecoms Package.
Now, not only do we have to contend with French attempts to push through its “three strikes and you're out” approach again, which the European Parliament threw out, but there are several other amendments that are being proposed that will effectively gut the Internet in Europe.
One of the most controversial issues is that of the three-strikes strongly and continuously pushed by France in the EU Council. Although most of the dispositions introducing the graduate response system were rejected in first reading of the Telecom Package, there are still some alarming ones persisting.
France is trying hard to get rid of Amendment 138 which seeks to protect users’ rights against the three-strikes sanctions and which, until now, has stopped the EU from applying the three-strikes policy. Also, some new amendments reintroduce the notion of lawful content, which will impose the obligation on ISPs to monitor content going through their networks.
The UK government is pushing for the “wikipedia amendments” (so-called because one of them has been created by cutting and pasting a text out of the wikipedia) in order to allow ISPs to make limited content offers.
The UK amendments eliminate the text that gives users rights to access and distribute content, services and applications, replacing it with a text that says “there should be transparency of conditions under which services are provided, including information on the conditions to and/or use of applications and services, and of any traffic management policies .”
To these, we must now add at least one more, which the indispensable IPtegrity site has spotted:
Six MEPs have taken text supplied by the American telecoms multi-national, AT&T, and pasted it directly into amendments tabled to the Universal Services directive in the Telecoms Package. The six are Syed Kamall , Erika Mann, Edit Herczog , Zita Pleštinská , Andreas Schwab , and Jacques Toubon .
AT&T and its partner Verizon, want the regulators in Europe to keep their hands-off new network technologies which will provide the capability for broadband providers to restrict or limit users access to the Internet. They have got together with a group of other telecoms companies to lobby on this issue. Their demands pose a threat to the neutrality of the network, and at another level, to millions of web businesses in Europe.