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UK EU withdrawal agreement announcement March 2018

A European satellite project unexpectedly finds itself at the uncomfortable end of the divorce wrangles  between  Britain and the EU. It illustrates the  direct and tangible  consequences of the government’s solid red lines, which put contracts and industry growth at  risk.  What is really at stake?  This article draws on evidence given by the space industry to the  House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union, and examines the Co-operation Agreements of Norway and Switzerland on Satellite Navigation Programmes. It views them through the prism of  the draft UK-EU  Withdrawal Agreement.

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Michel Barnier presents the EU Withdrawal Agreement Brussels 28.02.18

<<On the publication of the draft of the entire EU Withdrawal Agreement, this article investigates  the Transition chapter and how far Britain’s influence could be  written out from the  very start. The analysis is based on the text published by the EU, and the British negotiators text which has been circulating online.>>

Will Britain become isolated and not influential, to paraphrase Sir John Major's words from his speech today?  There is one aspect of Britain’s proposed Transition out of the European Union that risks being overlooked. Britain – its  government, businesses and individuals such as academics, NGOs and researchers   -  could be excluded from EU decision-making bodies, agencies  and expert groups from 29 March 2019 during the Transition period. As others have already said, Britain risks becoming a rule-taker, but this goes further. It means Britain stands to lose influence not only in  law making and central banking, but regulatory and standards bodies, scientific and security agencies, and a plethora of smaller  groups that input to policy-making.

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Theresa May with Jean-Claude Juncker at Brussels press conference after Brexit negotiations in 2017

Brexit means that Britain risks losing access to two vital EU satellite programmes. They deliver key communications technologies to power  Mrs May’s vision for a 4th  industrial revolution. It’s a failure to join the policy dots.  Has the government lost the signal?

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European Parliament Brexit Resolution Roll call vote on 13 December 2017

The European Parliament is not at the negotiating table, yet it does have ways of leveraging influence over  the Brexit negotiations. Why does its position matter? Especially now that the British  Parliament has narrowly won the right to vote on the final  Brexit deal.

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European Parliament event 2012

10 years ago in 2007, I started this blog, Iptegrity.com.  Over that time, I’ve had a ring-side seat on policy debates about the way the Internet should be governed, and the battles over controlling content and surveillance. Here I reflect on those 10 years.

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 Estonian Presidency (EU) building 2017

The latest 'compromise' from the Estonian Presidency on the EU Copyright Directive,  cuts right across a  fundamental balance in EU law. It seeks to embed  hosting intermediaries into copyright law and to impose  an onerous and heavy-handed form of prior restraint on Internet users.  Moreover,  in 10 years’ of working on EU policy,  I have rarely  seen legal drafting as  repetitive,  wordy and muddled as this. The problematic text is

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I presented this speech entitled 'Data is the new currency' at the ThingMonk conference, Shoreditch, London on 13 September 2017. In the speech, I discuss the implications for the GDPR and for Brexit.

Did you know that by 2020, the European data economy is predicted to be worth some €643 billion?  Many companies, yourselves included, are able to monetise the data trails that we all leave online, and you will know how personal data is now important in all kinds of ways from healthcare, to smart cities, to energy management and the Internet of things.  This is what is meant by data is

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Michel Barnier and David Davis 12.10.2017

Parma ham, Cognac and Roquefort cheese could become caught up in  a political side-show  in the Brexit talks following a European Commission  position paper on intellectual property rights (IPR). The issue relates to Geographical Indications, which are specific  rights pertaining to these and other food and wine products, and a demand from the EU for new British legislation.  The timing  of the demand  -  in a  position paper on IP rights -  is curious, and it has exposed an unexpected sensitivity in the Brexit negotiations.  Why you might ask, does this matter at all?

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An esoteric intellectual property right granted to a small pastry product leads us to the epicentre of the geopolitics of Brexit.

Britain’s international trade Minister Liam Fox let slip last week in a BBC Radio interview  that his US trade talks will include intellectual property rights (IPR).  The inclusion of IPR is not a surprise to seasoned watchers of the international trade agenda, but the implications for British businesses might be. Brexit means  that some IP rights  will fall away, such as geographical indicators which protect local British products like the Cornish pasty. There will be political choices for the British government. Those choices will be shaped by the wider geo-political forces between the EU and the US.  

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How far  does the French-British action plan against terrorism on the Internet impose new liabilities on Internet companies? Where does an upload filter become prior censorship?

When Theresa May met the French President Emmanuel Macron  in June this year they agreed a joint proposal to suppress terrorist content content on the Internet. They vowed to work together to block content, freeze user accounts and get access to encrypted content. This would involve stay down measures and access  to personal data behind IP addresses. The plan  has received little coverage, no doubt overshadowed by much bigger geo-political agendas. In this post, I consider how the Franco-British Action Plan puts pressure on Internet intermediaries and raises questions  for human rights online.

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The strange case of the right to IP which will cease in the UK post-Brexit.
The Great Repeal Bill - now known by its new title of the European Union (EU) Withdrawal Bill – will take away a right to intellectual property (IP) granted under EU law. Here's why:

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The irony of Britain leaving the European Union is that that other side is driving.

The British have been forced  to accept that trade negotiations will not run in parallel with the 'divorce' talks, that the negotiators wll meet 4-weekly, that the default setting is 'transparency'.  How is the EU is able to impose terms, when this should be a joint negotiation? It is a manifestation of power play in an imbalanced relationship.  This article investigates the power relations of Brexit and suggests that the EU is able to wield 'structural power' in order to shape choices for the British.

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In seeking a response to terrorism, how can we protect our democratic values online as well as offline? Theresa May says there should be no safe spaces for online extremism, but attacking online platforms, and laying the blame entirely at their feet, is at best unhelpful and fundamentally problematic. How should we, as a society, ensure safeguards against the unintended consequences of such measures?

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Copyright enforcement remains an ongoing policy issue, with the current processing of the new Copyright Directive in the European Parliament.

This article is the text of my speech at the Council of Europe "Freedom of Expression Online"  conference in Nicosia, Cyprus on 28 April 2017.  The speech is entitled Balancing freedom of expression online: insights from copyright cases. I address Member State and ECJ caselaw, taking copyright enforcement cases, mainly from the UK, as examples. The cases concern the blocking or filtering of content, and balancing the conflicting rights of copyright versus freedom of expression. 

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The notification of Britain's intention to withdraw from  the European Union is the start of a process that takes policy-makers into new and unknown territory.  For the British government and the legislature, it will be a tricky if not perilous path with an unpredictable outcome. Theresa May says she wants a 'global Britain'.  Many others fear that fear that Britain is heading over a cliff.


This article analyses three key timings for that process.

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States v the 'Net? 

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Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

In 2012, I presented my PhD research in the European Parliament.

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Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. She is  a trainer & consultant on Internet governance policy, published author& Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science. She served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee on  Internet freedom. She has worked on CoE, EU and UNDP funded projects in eastern Europe and beyond.  She was shortlisted for The Guardian Open Internet Poll 2012. Iptegrity  offers expert insights into Internet policy (and now Brexit). Iptegrity has a core readership in the Brussels policy community, and has been cited in the media. Please acknowledge Iptegrity when you cite or link.  For more, see IP politics with integrity

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