[P2P-F] Fwd: [fcf_discussion] Will EU Parliament Sacrifice our Privacy for Electoral Reasons?

Michel Bauwens michel at p2pfoundation.net
Mon Oct 14 17:18:30 CEST 2013

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: La Quadrature du Net <jz at laquadrature.net>
Date: Mon, Oct 14, 2013 at 4:51 PM
Subject: [fcf_discussion] Will EU Parliament Sacrifice our Privacy for
Electoral Reasons?
To: fcforum_discussion at list.fcforum.net


La Quadrature du Net – For immediate release

Permanent link:

Will EU Parliament Sacrifice our Privacy for Electoral Reasons?

*** Paris, 14 October 2013 – A crucial vote for EU Citizens fundamental
right to privacy will take place on October 21st, in the “Civil Liberties”
committee (LIBE) of the European Parliament. The future of the EU
Regulation on the protection of individuals to the processing of their
personal data will be decided by a vote on “compromise amendments” [1]. The
rapporteur seems willing to request a mandate to enter closed-doors
negotiations to severely cut short any chance of public debate. La
Quadrature du Net calls on all citizens to contact [2] Members of the
European Parliament to urge them to refuse this obscure hijacking of the
democratic debate. ***

The rapporteur Jan Philipp Albrecht (Germany - Greens/EFA) may be about to
request from the members of “Civil Liberties” committee (LIBE) a mandate
for interinstitutional negotiations (trilogue). This mandate is de facto an
official permission for the European Parliament to enter closed-doors
negotiations with the European Commission and Member States, shortening the
debate over the Regulation to only one reading [3]. This is especially
alarming in the context of recent revelations [4] by Edward Snowden,
showing how much citizens' personal data and communications are being
endangered by practices of states and corporations alike.

In pre-electoral context [5], the only objective of the negotiating team
[6] in this manoeuvre seems to be able to boast about this Regulation being
the best achievement ever reached in the field of data protection, even if
that is yet far from the case and could even get worse [7].

As things stand, allowing rapporteur Jan Philipp Albrecht to carry forward
negotiations to compromise on a final text comes down to allowing the
European Parliament and Member States to rewrite the Regulation without any
actual public scrutiny (especially as the first four committees that have
given their opinion on the text did so before Snowden's revelations). In
doing so, Members of the European Parliament would avoid the heat of having
this huge and controversial dossier still open during the electoral
campaign and elections of 2014, but at the unacceptable price of completely
shutting down the necessary public debate, therefore the general interest
and defense of European citizens.

By refusing to grant such a mandate for closed-door negotiations, Members
of the European Parliament would retain an opportunity to amend the text
before the 1st reading vote in Plenary, and to make the text even better in
2nd reading. Betting now that compromise amendments will be acceptable,
would ignore the very high risk that a last minute event turns the
Regulation into exactly what giant corporations want: an open-bar to
collect all of EU citizens data, without any constraint.

“Such an attempt to sacrifice a transparent debate to make the Regulation
more effective at protecting our privacy for electoral purposes is a
dishonor to democracy! Citizens need effective legal tools to regain
control over their personal data in the face of the predatory behaviors of
giant companies whose business models are based on collecting everyone's
data, favouring the rise of global surveillance. Such legal empowerment
cannot be achieved without a proper public debate.” concluded Jérémie
Zimmermann, spokesperson for citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.

* References *

1. "Compromise amendments" stand for a package of amendments negotiated
between political groups, before the official vote of the draft report in
the committee responsible. The aim is to cover and replace the amendments
tabled at the given stage of the procedure, in order to compromise on a
common text geared to resolve the existing conflicts. If the negotiating
team reaches an agreement, MEPs – sitting in the responsible committee –
vote only on the compromise amendments, avoiding a long review of those
amendments originally tabled. However if variances between political groups
cannot be completely smoothened, MEPs can decide, at eleventh hours, not to
vote on compromise amendments, but on the original ones.

2. https://piphone.lqdn.fr/

3. The rapporteur will ask the members of the LIBE committee – on the basis
of Rule 70 of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament – for a
mandate to enter in interinstitutional negotiations, taking the form of
tripartite closed-doors meetings between the European Commission, the
Council (ministers from the Member States) and the European Parliament,
generally geared to adopt the act at an early stage of the procedure.


5. Next elections will take place in May 2014

6. Jan Philipp ALBRECHT (Greens/EFA), Sarah LUDFORD (ALDE), Axel VOSS
(EPP), Dimitrios DROUTSAS (S&D), Alexander ALVARO (ALDE), Timothy KIRKHOPE
(ECR), Cornelia ERNST (GUE/NGL)

7. At this point, European citizens do not have any assurance with regards
to the Parliament's position on data protection. The tremendous lobbying
efforts by Internet giants and the resulting 4000 amendments – a record for
the Parliament! – tabled so far, make the global understanding of what the
future text could look like and its potential consequences highly blurry
and tangled.

** 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


P2P Foundation: http://p2pfoundation.net  - http://blog.p2pfoundation.net

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