October 30, 2009

EU Telecoms Package: The week ahead

Wednesday (Nov 4:th) there will be another round of negosiations on the EU Telecoms Package.

Some seems to expect this to be a speedy affair. Swedens minister of infrastructure Åsa Torstensson (representing the Swedish EU Presidency) and EU Commissioner Vivian Reding have anounced their presense. And thursday morning the leaders of the European Parliaments delegation to the Conciliation Committee on the EU Telecoms Package will hold a press conference to 9 a.m. The boot in our face?

Wednesday afternoon begins with strategy talks in the political groups in the EP. 7 p.m. the EP delegation will meet. 8 p.m. there will be a trialogue meeting (leaders of the EP and Council delegations + the Commission). And at 9 p.m. there will either be a new trialogue or a meeting with the full Consoliation Committee (27 from the EP and 27 from the Council). (This might take a while. Make some sandwiches and put the kettle on.)

I suspect that the European Council expects this whole affair to be wraped up this week. But there is no reason for the parliament to rush things. The consiliation rules give us until the end of the year to handle this matter.

[In Swedish]

October 29, 2009

Shift happens

October 28, 2009

Rumors about the EU Telecoms Package

Reports in international media suggest that the European Parliament have backed down from the famous amendment 138 to the EU Telecoms Package. (The one demanding prior ruling by a court of law if any member state starts disconnecting people from the internet.)

This is not my picture of what is going on. Yes, the EP delegation to the Conciliation Committé on the EU Telecoms package did support a rather messy compromise text on its´ last meeting. It included "prior", but was vague on what kind of judicial instance to use and had other elements that where both promising and sneaky.

(The Swedish Pirate Party, the Greens and the leftist group did not clear this text. First of all, we did not get it in writing and where supposed to decide upon it after a oral review. This is not a serious way of law making. We are also suspicious when it comes to several elements in the text. So we have stated that we expect the delegation to uphold the essence of 138.)

And, as we suspected, this text crashed and burned in the Trialogue meeting with the leaders of the EP delegation and the Council. (E.g. did the Council take "prior" away and at the same time it suggested more reasons for suspending people from the net.) I find this very hard for the EP delegation to swallow.

Now, we are waiting for the Council to elaborate on the preliminary compromise text from the Trialogue, above. But we know that there have been disagreement on this in Coreper (the body that prepares dosiers for the European Council).

But there is, as you can se, no agreement on anything at the moment.

The Council do not accept the EP proposal. The EP delegation will not be able to accept the preliminary Council proposal. There is disagreement in Coreper. And in the EP the Pirates, the Greens and the left sticks to 138 for as long as possible. At least until we get something that is better.

This means that it is far to early to say anything about anything. If something at all have changed, I would say that the level of disagreement has rised.

Wednesday next week the EP delegation will meet again in the afternoon. And in the evening there will be a full Conciliation Committé meeting (EP and Council). This is the first CC meeting. And until then, we have nothing like an agreement. No common ground. And I doubt that we will afterwards.

This far, all we have is disagreement betwen the institutions, in the Council and in the EP delegation.

But it is quite clar that someone is trying to spin this. In a press release the Swedish EU Presidency, earlier this week, described the talks as "open and creative"...

[In Swedish]

October 26, 2009

It´s not just about filesharing...

A note on the European Councils draft compromise proposal from last weeks trialogue about the EU Telecoms Package. It discusses cutting of users from the Internet (and other measures) in these terms...

"...authorising the measures to be taken and to adopt urgent measures in order to assure national security, defence, public security and the prevention, investigation, detection and prosecution of criminal offences."

Interesting. So, this fight is not just about filesharing anymore.

Disconnection from the network (and other "measures") can be applyed to a long series of cases. Remember that legality is different, in different EU countries. And that there are a few strange laws. The EU Framework Decision on Racism e.g. says that one may not deny genocide. (It does not, however, apply to all genocides. Just some.) In France it is especially illegal to challenge official historical records on the Turkish genocide of Armenians. In many countries, gambling sites are prohibited. In some places information about medicine is prohibited. In Lithuania, one can not write positive things about gays. The laws about pornography varies between countries. The rules governing the advertising of alcohol and tobacco are also different. And many things that are on public record in countries like Sweden is illegal to publish in other places.

Feel free to fill in with more examples in the comment field. I just listed a few from the top of my head.

Internet might become seriously regulated. People might be disconnected from the Internet for many different reasons. And what other "measures" the Member States and EU have in plan, one can only imagine.

Add to that the European arrest warrant, which allows for pepole to be extradited to other countries for acts that are not criminal in their home country. So what happens if a Swede start a French blog, questioning the Turkish genocide of Armenians? If a Spaniard starts a gay porn site that turns to a Lithuanian audience?

(A few years ago Swedish online gambling company Unibet's CEO Petter Nylander was arrested in Holland, when he was on his way to England - and called for extradition to France. Among other things he was accused of having sponsored a French bike race, which is in violation of French gambling laws.)

And if the "mesures" mentioned are to be deployed, it also mean that the possibility to be anonymous on the net will have to be removed.

So, it is not just filesharers who should defend amendment 138 to the EU Telecoms Package - stating that governments can not decide to cut people of from the Internet (or other similar measures) without a prior ruling by judicial authority.

Not unexpected, in the European Councils draft compromise proposal, quoted above, the word "prior" is deleted...

[In Swedish]

October 24, 2009

Telecoms Package: Council divided?

Yesterday, friday, there was an Coreper-meeting in the EU. (Coreper is the body that prepares dosiers for the European Council.) One of the points on the agenda was the EU Telecoms Package.

I have first hand information that the meeting was much longer than planned. According to my source, it was the Telecomes Package that caused a lengthy debate. This suggests disagreement in the Council on this issue.

This fits well with information that I have recieved earlier. The word is that UK is now the driving force for member states "right" to cut people off from the Internet. They even seems to be more eager on this than the French.

To be continued.

[In Swedish]

The EU Telecoms Package

Meeting on the Telecoms Package, EP Strasbourg.
Photo: Christian Engström, MEP.

My MEP, Christian Engström of the Swedish Pirate Party, is one of the members of The European Parliaments delegation to the Conciliation Committé on the EU:s Telecoms Package.

This means that I am in the meetings on this dosier. I can tell you that it is an interesting and somewhat disturbing experience.

Read some of Christians blogposts on what have occured: Chaotic delegation meeting on the telecoms package | An insult to the Parliament | The Hadopi test for the Telecoms Package

I also recomend you to read Monica Hoortens blog. She has a scientists way of looking at this process. Read her blog posts and her paper "The Telecoms Package - a licence to chill".

I´ll try to keep you updated as the process develops...

Back in Business

This blog has been sadly neglectd by me for some time.

But now it will be up and running again.

From this sommer I work with the Swedish Pirate Party in the European Parliament. And as I have lots of information about freedom on the Internet, EU Big Brotherism etc. that is interesting for an international audience – I will now run this blog alongside my Swedish one.

Welcome back!