[P2P-F] Fwd: [opennetcoalition] Crucial Moment Ahead for Net Neutrality at the EU Parliament

Michel Bauwens michel at p2pfoundation.net
Fri Dec 13 09:48:57 CET 2013

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: La Quadrature du Net <jz at laquadrature.net>
Date: Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 6:28 PM
Subject: [opennetcoalition] Crucial Moment Ahead for Net Neutrality at the
EU Parliament
To: opennetcoalition at laquadrature.net


La Quadrature du Net

Permanent link:

Crucial Moment Ahead for Net Neutrality at the EU Parliament

On September 11th, the European Commission adopted [1] an important
legislative package geared to achieve the European Single Market of
telecommunication and build thereby a connected continent.

Since this summer La Quadrature du Net and others have tried to raise
attention [2] to the threats contained in the proposal of the European
Commission, especially concerning the protection of the Net neutrality
principle, which the legislative proposal claims to defend in a deceiving
manner [3].

This dossier is now on the table of the European Parliament [4], which is
forced to work and make decisions under the pressure of a very tight
calendar [5], conditioned by the upcoming elections and the political need
– for each MEP involved in the process – to conclude their mandate with, at
least, an intermediary legislative act. Unluckily, this scenario is not
favourable to an in-depth, analytical and widespread debate on the
different and relevant aspects of the proposal, which is quite technical in

Such a haste carries a high risk of disregard for the position of civil
society organizations [6], whose contribution would be absolutely crucial
to reach a decision based not purely on economic interests, but also on the
defense of the freedom and rights of European citizens.

Pilar del Castillo Vera (EPP - Spain), Chair of the European Internet
Foundation[7] is the rapporteur appointed within the European Parliament on
that file. Her draft report [8] was considered during an extraordinary
meeting of the “Industry” (ITRE) Committee, held in Strasbourg on December
9th. Unluckily, the choice of the French seat, instead of the Belgian one,
to hold this important step of the procedure [9], resulted de facto in a
not-fully-transparent debate: no video has been distributed on the European
Parliament website, which is apparently due to the absence of dedicated
equipments in Strasbourg seat [10].

In addition to the non-trivial dysfunctions observed in the process, we've
already pointed out [11] how the del Castillo's draft report disregards all
the concerns voiced by civil society since last summer. The rapporteur's
refusal to amend sensitive provisions – such as the definition of
“specialised services” – would result de facto in inflicting a mortal blow
to the Net neutrality principle.

Until next Tuesday, on December 17th, MEPs have the opportunity to table
amendments on the proposal of the European Commission and guarantee that EU
citizens will be able to exert their freedom of expression and information
on the Net. As a citizen platform, La Quadrature du Net provides the
PiPhone [12], a web tool allowing to call Members of the ITRE Committee
free of charge, to urge them to include in the final report an
uncompromising vision of Net neutrality.

We feel confident that, with the active support of the shadow rapporteurs,
the proposal of the European Commission could be fixed in its critical
points. In particular, we welcome Mrs Trautmann's (S&D - France) recent
declarations at the annual conference of the European Competitive
Telecommunication Association, which took place in Brussels on December
3rd. She said she wants to improve the definition of specialised services
and obligate the Internet access providers to develop their activities
within their networks.

There is good opportunity for this to become the position of the European
Parliament. If not, the Net neutrality principle will be undermined and the
morphology of our communications and the nature of the information we will
be able to access and impart would radically change.

Protecting and defending the Net neutrality principle means thereby
allowing the Internet to actively contribute to the functioning of modern
democracies and protect citizens against any sorts of discrimination and
abuse. If the foundations of that principle are – even barely –
compromised, private stakeholders will hamper the normal and natural
functioning of the Internet commons – whose rules would be decided by
commercial and business logics.

By Miriam Artino, in charge of legal and political analysis for La
Quadrature du Net

* References *



3. The proposal for a Regulation on the Telecom Package pretends to defend
the Net neutrality principle by stating in its article 23.5 that “providers
of Internet access services shall not restrict the freedoms [of
communication] by blocking, slowing down, degrading or discriminating
against specific content, applications or services”, but breaches this
principle right before introducing it, allowing in its article 23.2 the
provision of “specialised service […] with an enhanced quality of service"
– that is to say services offering prioritization.



6. In the public hearing on the Commission’s proposal organised within the
“Industry” (ITRE) committee on November 28th, no representative of the
civil society was among contributors:

7. The European Internet Foundation brings together MEPs of various parties
and experts representing often industry and technology interests:


9. In the European decision-making process, the consideration of a report
is a key moment, allowing citizens to understand what is the nature of the
different positions an MEP will take on the file.

10. This is the explanation the services of the European Parliament gave us
when we called for more information on the reason why we were not able to
access the debate online.


12. https://piphone.lqdn.fr/campaign/call2/NetNeutrality-ITRE-nov_13

** About La Quadrature du Net **

La Quadrature du Net is an advocacy group that defends the rights and
freedoms of citizens on the Internet. More specifically, it advocates for
the adaptation of French and European legislations to respect the founding
principles of the Internet, most notably the free circulation of knowledge.

In addition to its advocacy work, the group also aims to foster a better
understanding of legislative processes among citizens. Through specific and
pertinent information and tools, La Quadrature du Net hopes to encourage
citizens' participation in the public debate on rights and freedoms in the
digital age.

La Quadrature du Net is supported by French, European and international
NGOs including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Open Society
Institute and Privacy International.

List of supporting organisations:

** Press contact and press room **

Jérémie Zimmermann, jz at laquadrature.net, +33 (0)615 940 675


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