Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Europe Under Internet Censorship Threat: New EU Telecom Package Challenges Basic Internet Freedoms

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If you are an Internet user and are concerned about future control and regulation of your ability to freely access your preferred content and services online, no matter where you live it is now the time for you to stop and understand what the European Parliament is about to pass in the coming days unless you and I do something about it.

Photo credit: graffoto

On May 5th in fact, the EU Parliament will vote a package of new regulations (the so-called "Telecom Package") which may free European Internet providers to decide which content, services and applications European users can access and use.

The Telecom Package will force users to choose among pre-packaged options of accessibility. Internet providers will tell you WHERE to go and WHAT to use online, dismantling instantly the essence of the Web as you know it today.

In this article you can find out details about the Telecom Package being reviewed, what its consequences could be, and what action you can take now to prevent this from happening.

If you care about the Internet and about the amazing opportunity that offers to each one of us, I warmly invite you to read closely this report and to evaluate by yourself how to best act to stop this Telecom Package from becoming official law.


Voting In EU Parliament 5th Of May 2009


by Blackout Europe Team

Internet access is not conditional.

Everyone who owns a website has an interest in defending the free use of Internet... so has everyone who uses Google or Skype... everyone who expresses their opinions freely, does research of any kind, whether for personal health problems or academic study ... everyone who shops online...who dates online...socializes online... listens to video...


1. What They Want to Enforce. The Telecoms Package


The internet as we know it is at risk because of proposed new EU rules (the Telecoms package) are being discussed now at 2nd reading in the Parliament stage.

Under the proposed new rules, broadband providers will be legally able to limit the number of websites you can look at, and to tell you whether or not you are allowed to use particular services. It will be dressed up as 'new consumer options' which people can choose from.

People will be offered TV-like packages - with a limited number of options for you to access.

It means that the Internet will be packaged up and your ability to access and to put up content could be severely restricted. It will create boxes of Internet accessibility, which don't fit with the way we use it today.

This is because internet is now permitting exchanges between persons which cannot be controlled or "facilitated" by any middlemen (the state or a corporation). This possibility improves citizen's life but force the industry to lose power and control.

Access providers have now learned that controlling access they can control the information society development.That is why they are pushing to act those changes.

The excuse is to promote competition, offering choices to users which fit better their behavior on the Internet and, by collaborating with sectors interested in the promotion of lawful content (aka the entertainment industry), to control the flow of music, films and entertainment content against the alleged piracy by downloading for free, using P2P file-sharing. However, the real victims of this plan will be all Internet users and the democratic and independent access to information, culture goods...


2. Consequences for All of Us

Think about how you use the Internet! What would it mean to you if free access to the Internet was taken away?

These days, the Internet is about life and freedom. It's about shopping, booking theater tickets... holidays, learning, job-seeking, banking, and trade. It's also about the fun things - dating, chatting, invitations, music, entertainment, joking and even a Second Life. It is a tool to express ourselves, to collaborate, innovate, share, stimulate new business ideas, reach new markets - thrive without middlemen...

Listen to one of the fathers of the World Wide Web talking about network discrimination and how it could affect to the openness of the Internet.

He talks about the USA... but in Europe the same can happen if the Telecoms Package passes as it is now.

Just think - what's your web address? Unless people have that address in their "package" of regular websites - they won't be able to find you. That means they can't buy, or book, or register, or even view you online. Your business won't be able to find niche suppliers of goods - and compare prices. If you get any money at all from advertising on your site, it will diminish.

Yes, Amazon and a select few will be OK, they will be the included in the package. But your advertising on Google or any other website, will be increasingly worthless.

Skype could be blocked. (As it is in Germany in the use from iPhone, already). Small businesses could literally disappear, especially specialist, niche or artisan businesses.

If we don't do something now - we could lose free and open use of the internet. Our freedom (of choice in information, market, culture, pleasure) will be curtailed.


3. The Value of Our Opinions and Our Votes


Tell the European Parliament to vote against conditional access to the Internet!

Remind them that they need your vote in June and that the Internet still give us the tools to be watching and judging what they are doing!

You must know you are not alone: hundreds of organizations are working on that and thousands of people have already contacted their parliamentarians about that.

In scambioetico website you can also find some letters responding.


4. What Our Politicians Want to Pass


The EU proposals hold an enormous risk for our future. They are about to become Law - and will be virtually impossible to reverse.

People (even the members of the European Parliament who are voting on it) don't really seem to understand the full implications and the legal changes are wrapped up in something called "Telecoms Package" which lulls people into thinking it is just about industry. However, in reality, hiding from public view, the amendments are about the way the Internet will operate in future.

Text about your rights to access and distribute content, services and applications, is being crossed out. And the text that is being brought in, says that broadband providers must inform you of any limitations, or restrictions to your access.

Alternative versions use the word 'conditions' - and it is seriously being proposed that you will be told the conditions of use of Internet services. This is made to sound good - it is dressed up as 'transparency' - except that of course it means that the broadband provider will have the legal right to limit your access or to impose conditions, otherwise why would they need to tell you?

If the Telecoms Package as it reads now is voted in, the changes will not be reversible.


5. How We Will Respond


We all have a stake in the Internet! You need to act now to save it!

  • Ask to your leaders and representatives' in the European Parliament to support a free and open Internet, where restrictions and limitations are only decided by a judicial ruling and monitoring is forbidden.
  • Demand that Internet access providers will be required to offer a service open and without discriminations.
  • Promoting growth and competition of the European economy should not be detrimental for citizen's rights and the democratic participation.
  • A fair welfare will not be reached if Internet does not stand free and open.


6. How to Do It (Tools)


Find a technical explanation by Monica Horten, article by article, so you can check with your own eyes what it is going on.

The open coalition has also sent a number of letters to the European Parliamentarians (MEPs) with an explanation of the controversial articles.

As suggested by La Quadrature, you can:

  1. Email, write to or phone your MEP - Follow the link to their website. to get the details.

    • You can use this letter as a model if you want
    • You are welcome to personalise the letter and include information that will make MEPs sit up, take note and take appropriate action. (Please do not be aggressive as they will not listen to you).

  2. In this link you will be able to send these recommendations directly to all the Parliamentarians, (hacktivistas) Believe, they will really receive it and they will really feel the pressure.

  3. Join this Facebook group

  4. Send this page to everyone you know so that they can take action

  5. Syndicate this page so that you keep been informed: disinformation is what they count on, we must be aware


Related Resources:

Originally written by the Blackout Europe Team and first published on April 20th, 2009 as "URGENT - VOTING IN EU PARLIAMENT 5th of MAY 2009".

Photo credits:
Voting In EU Parliament 5th Of May 2009 - mipan
What They Want to Enforce. The Telecoms Package - Ruslan Gilmanshin
The Value of Our Opinions and Our Votes - James Steidl
What Our Politicians Want to Pass - kmitu
How We Will Respond - Konstantinos Kokkinis
How to Do It (Tools) - Yanik Chauvin

Blackout Europe Team -
Reference: Blackout Europe [ Read more ]
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posted by Daniele Bazzano on Wednesday, April 29 2009, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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