Internet Freedoms

Rights and freedoms are being increasingly discussed in the Internet context. Rights might be privacy or  free speech  for example. This section will discuss those rights as they crop up in European Union  policy debates.

If you are interested in how Internet freedoms may be influenced by policy,   you may like my book The Closing of the Net .


If you are interested in copyright policy, you may like my previous books A Copyright Masquerade: How Corporate Lobbying Threatens Online Freedoms and The Copyright Enforcement Enigma - Internet Politics and the ‘Telecoms Package’

In the 800th anniversary  year of Magna Carta, what of our free speech rights?

As we begin 2015, let’s remind ourselves that this year is the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta – the Great Charter that first established rights and on which later charters of human rights have been built.  In 2015, we are seeing more and more threats to those hard won rights by various interest groups (corporate and non-corporate) who want to block and take control of our communications systems that have been established over the Internet in the past two decades or so.  It does look like 2015 is going to be critical year for the protection of those rights.

Read more: Network consolidation, counter-terrorism, Sony hack – Internet policy game-changers for 2015?

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression  backs up the European Parliament's position on the Telecoms Package which calls for due process where Internet freedom of expression is to be restricted.


A United Nations report released today has a stern message for democratic governments that want to impose meaures to restrict the Internet. He says that restrictions applied to the  Internet must be limited to issues such as public security, and that cutting off access - for copyright enforcement or any other reason -  is a disproporationate measure. Singled out for special reprimand are the UK's Digital Economy Act and France's Hadopi law, which the report considers ‘alarming'.


The report is entitled Report of the Special Rapporteur on the   promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue.  It addresses freedom of expression on the Internet from a global perspective. What's interesting is that it does not just focus on autocratic regimes and dictatorships that restrict political speech. Instead, it widens the brief to  investigate other restrictions imposed by liberal  democracies, including those in the European Union. 


The UN report is concerned about liability for content being

Read more: UN report says freedom of expression trumps copyright

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Peter Hustinx, has today  issued a call for radical changes to the directive which mandates ISPs and phone companies to store users' traffic data.


In a public statement, he says that the Data Retention directive does not meet the requirements imposed by the  rights to privacy and data protection, both of which are guaranteed as fundamental rights under EU law. 


Mr Hustinx was commenting on a report by the European Commission, released in April,  which evaluates the implementation of the directive.  Whilst he understands that retained traffic data is sometimes needed, for example, in criminal investigations, he  says

Read more: EU privacy chief slams data retention directive





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.  

Read more  

Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

European Parliament launch for Copyright Enforcement Enigma

Don't miss Iptegrity!  RSS/ Bookmark 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 is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

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The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review