A highly-respected German website is to be investigated for treason after publishing leaked documents relating to mass Internet surveillance.
The German Internet policy website, Netzpolitik.org, has been put on notice for treason after it published two articles revealing government plans to expand intelligence capabilities for Internet surveillance. The website received the notice yesterday from the German attorney general, following a complaint from the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz – this is the internal intelligence service, the German equivalent of MI5. The matter has sparked a media storm over freedom of the press, in a country where Internet surveillance issues are household knowledge.
We fixed net neutrality - says who?
EU officials are claiming to have ‘fixed’ net neutrality after a late night session to thrash out a deal on telecoms. From what can be ascertained, the deal gets rid of roaming charges on mobile phones, in return for the network operators – fixed and mobile – being allowed to do preferential deals over content inside bandwidth caps – so-called zero-rating. The EU has been wanting to abolish roaming charges for some time, against resistance from the network operators, who would lose revenue. It seems that zero-rating is the political quid pro quo, and if it is so, then we are witnessing a clever piece of smoke and mirrors.
International talks on a secret deal over trade in services threaten to overturn to net neutrality policies currently on the table on both sides of the Atlantic. Instead, back-room negotiators could put in place an international framework that leaves the door open for restrictive behaviour by the telecommunications companies that run the Internet.
On the same day as the Queen’s Speech on 27 May, a private members’ Bill was introduced to Parliament that provides for wide-scale content filtering by network providers and device manufacturers. Whilst the headline objective is to remove ‘adult’ content from the Internet, the Bill opens the door to a much broader interpretation and in that regard, poses serious risks to freedom of expression. If adopted, the proposed regime would be implemented and overseen by private companies, outsourcing the government’s duties to corporate actors. It may never get on the Statute, but it does signal attempts by lobbying communities to pressure the government.
The European Commission announced today radical plans to overhaul copyright. The proposals focus on users’ability to legally access copyrighted content across borders, and they are understood to have upset the entertainment and music industries. This is not surprising since the changes will cut right through their copyright-supported distribution infrastructure.
The main plank for change will be the territoriality of copyright. Territoriality refers to the way that the entertainment industries are organised around national borders for the granting of rights and the distribution and sale of goods. On the Internet, this system is managed by asking intermediaries to block content that is not
Widely leaked since before Xmas. The biggest open secret in Brussels. What are we to make of the new EU plans for the Internet, presented today as the Digital Single Market policy? An analysis exposes a few hidden issues.
Today the European Union announced a wide ranging plan to tackle the Internet. Top of its action list is a phenomenon that is becoming known as
This year is the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the Great Charter that established the right to a fair trial and put an end to arbitrary justice in private hands. What, you may ask, does this have to do with technology policy for the 21st century? It’s a strange twist of fate that this year, in Britain, we face calls for private companies to take on the role of (secret) police-man, judge and censor all wrapped up in one.
After much anticipation, the EU Council of Ministers released its net neutrality mandate last week. The announcement follows some highly political back-room wrangling, which has resulted in a text – seen by Iptegrity - that creates some very murky waters around Internet fast lanes, filtering and specialised services. The Council now goes into the so-called ‘trilogue’ talks with the European Parliament, and the prospect of a political battle looms.
Yesterday’s net neutrality announcement by the FCC was a Red Letter day for Internet freedom in the US. How will the European Union react ?
The United States telecoms regulator, the Federal Communications Commission, yesterday confirmed its policy direction in favour of net neutrality. It has ordered that broadband providers are to come under the common carriage regulation, which means they must neither prevent nor favour traffic, but take all on an equal basis. The FCC’s message is simple and clear: no blocking, no throttling, no fast lanes. The rule applies equally to mobile and fixed network providers. Meanwhile, in the deep, non-enlightened corridors of Brussels, the EU is threatening measures that would embed exactly
Following the astonishing decision last week by the US Federal Communications Commission on protecting the open Internet - no blocking, no fast lanes, no throttling - the European Parliament today begins the political defence of net neutrality on this side of the Atlantic. At around midday today, the Parliament will take a
Opt-outs for self-regulatory filtering and FacebookZero plans? Is this really net neutrality?
The Council of Ministers is to focus on net neutrality and roaming and throw out the remaining provisions in the EU Telecoms Regulation. It’s aiming for an agreement by March, so that it can open negotiations with the European Parliament. Unfortunately for those who may be hoping for a net neutrality law in Europe, the discussions are going the wrong way, with a number of get-outs being proposed to help those governments that want to permit their Internet providers to block, filter or favour.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will put communications data at the top of his list for new laws after the May 7 general election. Assuming he is re-elected, he wants to extend the range of data that would be legally accessible to the police and intelligence services, on a scale thus far unprecedented. His proposals, justified on the basis of an increased terror threat, will also up the ante in terms of the technology companies that will be obligated to comply. The concern is that Mr Cameron’s implied multi-dimensional data retention requirement will also create an apparatus that, without sufficient safeguards and in the wrong hands, will result in a vastly disproportionate, over-arching and unacceptable violation of personal privacy.