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Policy matters

Policy does matter. We may think that the Internet is a free digital environment, where no laws apply but there are many cases which contradict this notion.

In this section of Iptegrity.com, I  report on EU policy related to the Internet and online content, in particular, where policy intiatives affect   access to film, music and television, and I highlight issues for the  policy debate in relation to the Internet.  For 2008-2009, copyright enforcement has been the hot topic, with net neutrality emerging as well, in 2009.   My focus is on the European Union and  its member states - for example,  I am currently covering Internet  policy - specifically copyright enforcement intiatives - in France and the UK.

I am most interested in the citizen's perspective. However, the issues I cover will affect the Internet and telecoms industries, as well as the media and entertainment industries.  

Iptegrity.com offers  original reporting from the EU, as well as comment and opinion on issues raised in other media, including non-English language media in Europe. Iptegrity.com is the main English-language news source for the Telecoms Package review of EU telecoms law.

What does the Schrems case mean for UK post-Brexit data flows? At the heart of the Schrems case is a conflict of laws - a conflict between EU privacy law and US surveillance law. After 31 December, the question about surveillance law turns around to point at the UK. Whichever way one looks at it, deal or no deal with the EU, UK surveillance law will be the determining factor.

Overnight on 31 December 2020, the rules governing data flows from the UK to other countries will change. As the UK pulls out of the pan-European GDPR regime, it simultaneously rips

Read more: Schrems ruling puts a spoke in UK data flows from 2021

In the face of over 50,000*coronavirus-related deaths in the UK alone - potentially as high as 60,000* - why should we care about digital rights?

Beside the grave risks to life posed by Covid-19, your rights in using Internet services may seem like a lower priority. However, as lockdown measures make entire societies digitally-dependent, it has never been more important to safeguard people's activities online.

The coronavirus public health emergency - and specifically the lockdown measures - changed the 'normal' way of life overnight as entire societies were obliged to stay at home. These measures created an environment where digital systems became the arteries of social and economic life for entire populations. The situation created a universal dependence on digital communications that has arguably not been the case previously. While lockdown is easing, the digital dependence is likely to remain high.

Read more: Digital rights - why they matter in a time of coronavirus

Will Germany save us from the upload filter?

Tomorrow - Monday 15th April - the EU Copyright Directive goes to the Council of Ministers. It has been anticipated that this would be the final stage of its legislative journey and that it would be rubber-stamped into law. However, the controversy over the upload filter (Article 17 - ex-13) has not abated and six countries have already announced that they cannot vote in favour. That means there is a blocking minority, but it is not quite sufficient yet to stop the Directive from getting into law. Crucially, the position of the German government hangs in the balance.

Read more: EU upload filter - Germany's crucial deciding vote

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About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor, with expertise in online safety, technology and human rights. I am a published author, and post-doctoral scholar. I hold a PhD from the University of Westminster, and a DipM from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I cover the UK and EU. I'm a former tech journalist, and an experienced panelist and Chair. My media credits include the BBC, iNews, Times, Guardian and Politico.

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for non-commercial use. Please link back and attribute Dr Monica Horten.  Contact me to use any of my content for commercial purposes.