Soviet Internet

Posted by Marco Frattola on July 10, 2008
ffii / No Comments

La FFII ha pubblicato questo comunicato stampa nel
quale illustra le derive di stile “sovietico” di una direttiva (già criticata come
possibile strumento di censura e obbligo al monitoraggio del traffico sulla Rete)
sulle telecomunicazioni europee emendata in modo tale da consentire agli stati membri
dell’Unione a definire quali siano le “applicazioni autorizzate per internet”, al punto
che – come afferma Benjamin Henrion di FFII stessa – applicazioni come Skype o Firefox
potrebbero essere dichiarate illegali se non certificate da un’autorità amministrativa


PRESS RELEASE -- [ Europe / Economy / Innovation ]
European Parliament rushes towards Soviet Internet

Brussels, 04 July 2008 — Amendments to the European Telecommunications
directive being rushed through the European Parliament propose a “Soviet
internet” where software publishers and internet service providers watch
traffic and data for Hollywood. Software and services that run on the
internet would have to ask for permission of the regulators.
Some amendments to the European Telecommunications directive allow
administrative authorities in each Member State to define which are the
authorised software applications for the internet. Parts of the
directive should be implemented by the member states through requiring
specific “technical features” in electronic communications networks.
Live-analysis and filtering compose a pre-requisite for a “Soviet style”
censorship environment.

Several committees suggested massive changes to an over complex
Commission proposal. The committee process was hijacked by vested
interests. All amendments of at times questionable quality lack a legal
impact analysis and sufficient examination. Immature propositions risk
to create an administrative burden and stifle internet innovation.
Overloaded and confused by hundreds of amendments the lobby sets MEPs
under pressure to agree on a poor compromise before the summer break.
All amendments need more thoughtful review so that a mature text may be
presented to the plenary and MEPs fully understand what they cast their
vote on in the committee.

Benjamin Henrion, FFII representative in Brussels, rings the alarm bell:
“Tomorrow, popular software applications like Skype or even Firefox
might be declared illegal in Europe if they are not certified by an
administrative authority. This is compromising the whole open
development of the internet as we know it today. Once the Soviet Union
required the registration of all typewriters and printing devices with
the authorities.”

Privacy expert Ricardo Cristof Remmert-Fontes comments: “In Germany
Deutsche Telekom is under fierce criticism for alleged spying on
citizens and journalists. In Europe the amendments want to make spying a
natural obligation for communications providers. The planned
infrastructure of live-analysis and filtering can be used for
mass-surveillance and censorship.”

FFII President Alberto Barrionuevo adds: “The agenda to establish a
Chinese internet wall in Europe is set by few ultra-copyright lobbyists.
I don’t agree to justify their intentions to spy us with the protection
of copyright. It sets a precedent for market control: regulating large
parts of internet communication, provider contracts, software
development and thus internet businesses. The proposed environment is
threatening all European businesses which need protection from business
espionage, and be able to use secure virtual private networks (VPNs)
over the internet.”

The FFII therefore asks the Members of the European Parliament to take
more time and reconsider thoughtfully the Telecommunications proposal as
prepared for voting. Over 300 amendments and fundamental concerns on
different issues, such as free speech, censorship, net neutrality and
trade secrets should be reviewed with greater care. The debate on the
European Telecommunications directives requires more reflection, if it
should lead to a reliable and solid legal base.


Background Information


An Article 2 Compromise Amendment (by British conservative Seyd Kamal
MEP) that changes Directive 2002/58/EC Article 14 says on paragraph 2:
“Where provisions of this Directive can be implemented only by
requiring specific technical features in electronic communications
networks, Member States shall inform the Commission in accordance with
the procedure provided for by Directive 98/34/EC of the European
Parliament and of the Council of 22 June 1998 laying down a procedure
for the provision of information in the field of technical standards
and regulations and of rules on information society services.”




* ITRE-IMCO compromise amendments:

* Permanent link to this press release:




Benjamin Henrion
FFII Brussels
+32-2-414 84 03



About the FFII


The FFII is a not-for-profit association active in over fifty countries,
dedicated to the development of information goods for the public
benefit, based on copyright, free competition, and open standards. More
than 850 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted
the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning
exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing.


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