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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The Closing of the Net   (Polity Press 2016)

"takes the pulse of the open web" Journal of IP Law & Practice

What is meant by The Closing of the Net?  The notion reflects calls by various political interests for the Internet platforms like Facebook or Twitter  to 'do something' about  content that

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I was delighted to be invited back to Ukraine to present for a second year in a row as a Council of Europe expert at the Internet Governance Forum on 14 October 2016 (programme  only in Ukrainian - my name appears as Моніка Хортен ).

 

The title of my presentation was Human rights and security on-line: European standards and practices for ensuring a balance. My speech discussed the balance between security and the rights and freedoms of individuals.  This is a dilemma that goes way back into history. It is in the nature of security, that those who have the power to protect, also have the ability to threaten. This is why, in democratic societies, we also insist on safeguards against abuses of power.

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I presented my paper "Content responsibility: The looming cloud of Uncertainty for Internet Intermediaries" at CDT's Brussel's event:  "Intermediary Liability & Content Responsibility: A Cloud of Uncertainty for Internet Intermediaries"   on  6 September 2016.

Other panelists were MEP Julia Reda,  MEP Julia Reda, Joe McNamee of European Digital Rights (EDRI), and Alex de Joode of Nederland ICT.

 Download the paper  here.

The paper was commissioned  by CDT.

EU Copyright directive draft 2016




In what can only be called a policy bombshell, proposed new EU copyright rules will force social media sites to police content. A leaked version of a proposed new copyright directive seeks to impose draconian monitoring obligations any sites that support content uploaded by  users. If the leaked draft to be believed, content platforms will have to install content scanning systems to monitor and remove copyrighted material. In addition, they will have to  report back to rightsholders.

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Iptegrity deeply regrets the British decision to leave the European Union. I feel that - far from being Indpendence Day or a liberating moment- this decision is a bad sign for democracy in Britain.

The referendum campaign was dominated by propagandist,  manipulative  and bullying commentary from powerful media owners, who sought to silence their critics, and they succeeded in  muffling  the voices of those who believed Britain would have been better to stay in Europe.  We do not know how

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A new political battle over the Internet has just commenced in Brussels. The battle field is a set of proposals from the European Commission about content platforms – for which, you should understand to be Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, eBay etc. These companies are at the centre of a conflict that is raging politically about what role they should play, if any, in regulating content. And if they do have a role, how should they carry it out?

The Communication on Online Platforms and the Digital Single Market – opportunities and challenges for Europe sets out

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Proposed joint EU-US rules for the telecommunications industry pose a threat to net neutrality and to citizens' rights in general. Drafts leaked earlier this week of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Parnership (TTIP ) telecoms chapter,   indicate that  powers of regulators such as Ofcom could be neutered, and any action that a regulator might take could be challenged by industry. This is a serious matter for Europe, where US telecoms companies have been lobbying for a re-structuring of the European telecoms industry, and it extends the corporate threat from TTIP that has been highlighted in other sectors.

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The European Union has warned the United States not to make last-minute demands for measures on intellectual property rights, as the two attempt to conclude the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Parnership (TTIP ). In particular, the EU has stressed that some US demands would 'have a limited chance of being accepted'.

The position on  IPR in TTIP has come to light in the documents leaked to Greenpeace, and revealed to the German media on Tuesday this week.

Within the documents made public by Greenpeace was

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The European Parliament  today adopted a data protection package  that is being described as 'historic' and monumental'.  The new EU measures  update data protection rules for the era of the Internet and social media, including the use of data by  police  and law enforcement. The hot buttons have been the transfer of data outside the EU – especially to the United States -  and how the large digital corporations may exploit data for commercial purposes. For whose benefit is this law and how should we regard it?

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The European Commission is consulting on the enforcement of intellectual property rights and copyright. Hold tight for more debate on website blocking, domain seizure, filtering, account termination .... and a new attack on 'mere conduit'.

With the 16 April deadline looming for responses to the European Commission's consultation on enforcement of intellectual property rights, the question of content blocking is rearing its head once again. The online world is clearly the target, even though the scope of the existing law is much wider. Reading between the lines, the influence of the main stakeholder interests such as the music and film industries, and luxury goods manufacturers, can be seen. Given that this is a heavily polarised and toxic issue, is the European Commission going about this in the right way?

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The Home Secretary says it is world leading. Not all people agree with that. Some think it is leading the world over a cliff”.  Not my words but those of David Anderson Q.C. speaking yesterday at a symposium on the Investigatory Powers Bill hosted by 25 Bedford Row barristers chambers.

The  Investigatory Powers Bill comes up for scrutiny  in Parliament tomorrow, as the British government tries to push it through before the end of the year. This is the controversial new law  that will govern electronic surveillance. But legal experts, who are not usually given to emotive language, say the Bill is bad  law,  and nothing more than window dressing.  From a public interest perspective, the government is rushing the Bill unnecessarily. How safe will our data be under the proposed regime?  Will we fall over a digital cliff as the spooks get to play with our Internet connection records?

This report is my interpretation of the legal arguments presented at the 25 Bedford Row symposium on the Investigatory Powers Bill.

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Is fibre to the premises based on a false premise?


 The UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, is proposing a strategic shift to fibre optic networks to carry our broadband services. A key plank of the strategy is that British Telecom (BT ) should open up its ducts to competitive broadband providers in order to get fibre to the home. This post argues that there is a serious flaw in this reasoning.

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The Copyright Enforcement Enigma 'accurate and absorbing account of the story of the Telecoms Package' -Journal of International Commercial Law and Technology

'...a must read for those interested in knowing in depth about copyright enforcement and Internet.' -Journal of Intellectual Property Rights.  

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Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

European Parliament launch for Copyright Enforcement Enigma

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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 (MSI-INT). Most recently she has worked on projects in the former Soviet states.  She was shortlisted for The Guardian Open Internet Poll 2012. Iptegrity  offers expert insights into Internet policy. 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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The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review