Are you European? It's urgent, Europe needs you

There is a very important EU vote taking place on July 7th on some amendments to telecommunications legislation that threaten to sneak in a number of catastrophic measures:

European Internet users could be blocked from lawful activities by mandatory spyware, in the interests of their security. The right to use free software for internet access would therefore not be assured anymore. The neutrality of the Internet is also directly attacked, as is the principle that technical intermediaries have no obligation to prior surveillance of contents. Other amendments will de facto enable administrative authorities to obligate ISPs to work with content producers and rights-holders' private police, including the sending of intimidating messages, with no judicial or regulatory oversight.
These measure goes further than the French "graduated response" project, which has been subject to widespread opposition, including by the European Parliament on April 10th. That is undoubtedly why those amendments have turned up on early july, and why those drafting them use subtle rhetoric and crossed-references to make the overall text harder to understand (more than 800 amendements on 5 directives were tabled).

This is really serious: I urge you if you possibly can to write to your MEP. You can do it using the fab WriteToThem service, which makes it as easy as can be. Make sure it gets to them before July 7th (yes, it's tight – that's how sneaky they've been).

If you don't know what to write, here's a great letter you can use as a template.


  1. WriteToThem is fine if you're an UK citizen, if you're not you'll have to copy every address of the EU deputies from the laquadrature wiki.. It takes some time but it's for a good cause, so everyone please do it! Or else the New World Order will be one step closer.

  2. Anonymous1:20 PM

    E a resposta de um dos MPs nao se fez esperar:

    Dear Members,

    As you may be aware, various lobbyist organisations have been contacting EPP Members this week to raise concern about some selected amendments tabled by Malcolm Harbour MEP and Syed Kamall MEP, in advance of the telecoms votes in Strasbourg on Monday.

    They argue (see link for full article - http://www.laquadrature.net/files/note-IMCO-ITRE-quadrature-20080630.pdf) that these amendments will damage the openness of the Internet and reduce the rights of Internet users.

    However, Mr Harbour and Mr Kamall would like to stress that this is absolutely not the case and have provided responses below to the amendments concerned to clarify.

    Mr Harbour and Mr Kamall would like to highlight that their amendments reinforce the openness of the Internet and they have ensured that consumers' rights are respected, with copyright issues being restricted to public service information only.

    If you would like any further information, please feel free to contact us.

    Kind regards


    Justification of amendments tabled by Mr Harbour and Mr Kamall

    As is clear from the text, amendment H1 in fact gives national regulatory authorities and the Commission the power to take appropriate action to prevent degradation and slowing of traffic and against unreasonable restrictions of users' possibilities to access or distribute lawful content or to run lawful applications and services of their choice. Furthermore, recital 14 starts with the words: "It should be the end-users' decision what lawful content they want to be able to send and receive, and which services, applications, hardware and software they want to use for such purposes..." It also notes that "an unrestricted basic internet service" could be required as a response to a perceived problem.

    It is evident that this protection should not extend to any unlawful content or applications. In fact, the question of lawfulness is outside the scope of this legislation and depends on the national laws of each country. It is to be decided by the relevant judicial authorities of each country, not by the ISPs.

    Amendment K1 refers to the free movement of goods and makes it clear that a country can not start requiring manufacturers to incorporate features that would allow detecting or preventing for example copyright infringement, as that would hinder the free movement of the computers and other terminal equipment concerned. Any such requirements would have to be agreed by all member states of the EU. We are not aware of any such proposals.

    We are seeking clarification on K2 (tabled by Syed Kamall) and will issue a response on this shortly.

    Amendment H2 asks national regulatory authorities to promote - not force - cooperation, as appropriate, regarding protection and promotion of lawful content. It is entirely independent of "flexible response" and does not prescribe the outcome of any such cooperation.

    As opposed to the text proposed by the Commission, amendment H3 shifts the burden of explaining the law from the ISPs to the appropriate national authorities. It also broadens the concept so that any type of unlawful activities are covered, not only copyright infringement. Such other activities could be for example child pornography. This public interest information would be prepared by the relevant national authority and then simply distributed by the ISP to all their customers. It involves no monitoring of individual customer usage of the internet.

    None of the amendments have been drafted by any outside lobbying organisation.
    EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament Lindsay GILBERT
    Parliamentary Work - Working Group E - IMCO
    EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament

    ASP 5H246
    Rue Wiertz
    B-1047 Bruxelles

    Phone : +32-2-28 42402
    SDM G04029
    Allée du Printemps
    F-67070 Strasbourg

    Phone : +33-3-881 72750
    e-mail : lindsay.gilbert@europarl.europa.eu
    Visit our website : http://www.epp-ed.eu

  3. Anonymous5:30 PM

    Why does the votation is not on the european parliament site ? Will this really happen?

  4. NunoL: the problem is that we don't want a "basic unrestricted internet access", we're happy with "all the internet has unrestricted access".

    David: Yes, this is real. Here's the outcome (for now): Result of IMCO vote.