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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.

The European Data Protection Supervisor's report condemns the copyright amendments in the Telecoms Package

 

The office of the European Data Protection Supervisor yesterday (2nd September 2008)  issued public comment  on privacy related issues in the Telecoms Package Universal Service and ePrivacy Directives, otherwise known as the IMCO report. He  says that the concern is not about any amendment taken individually, but about the effect of the amendments  taken collectively.

 The net effect of a series of amendments inserted into the Package  could be increased monitoring of individuals on the Internet and a "slippery slope" towards a 3-strikes regime. Another effect could be to lay the ground for filtering and monitoring of individual users for the purpose of detecting copyright violation. In this respect, he goes further than most commentators, including myself, have so far suggested.  The amendments he is concerned about are: IMCO report 9,30,76,81,112,130 and 134.

 The issues covered in the report are:privacy status of IP addresses; graduated response; systematic monitoring of the Internet; and standardisation of equipment for "privacy-friendly" products. 

 On IP addresses, he calls the the relevant amendments to be rejected, (IMCO Amendment 30) and for  a study to look into the full suite of consequences of altering the status of IP addresses, prior to any legislation being drawn up. 

On graduated response, he says that Amendment 30 - which weakens the privacy protection for IP addresses - combined with Amendments

Read more: Data protection chief warns of 'slippery slope'

Is corporate censorship by the music industry what we want for Europe?

Italian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been ordered by a judge to block access to the Swedish peer-to-peer file trading site The Pirate Bay. It's understood the order was given on 8th August by a judge in the city of Bergamo, in the north of Italy, and sent to all the large Italian ISPs. It is understood that they have since complied with it.

The Pirate Bay is understood to have put in place measures which permit users to get access in spite of the blocks.

However, what concerned me was a report in TorrentFreak that the blocked users were being redirected to a page hosted on an IFPI-owned server. I felt it unwise to report this without checking, and having carried out reverse IP and Whois checks on the IP address of the redirect page , I can confirm that this is the case. I have already commented on the changes to European law which have been voted through in the Telecoms Package, which reduce ISP liability for blocking content, contrary to existing European law. This judgement - with a redirect to IFPI - only serves to confirm my view that this is a change demanded by the music industry and the politicians are giving in to such pressure without taking the trouble to understand the wider implications. Censorship doesn't have to be done by the State. And ISPs are capable of putting up their own redirect pages. If P2P sites can be blocked to support copyright, and traffic redirected to the rights-holders, what comes next?


The story is covered by the International Herald Tribune, and by TorrentFreak .

 Key amendment switched at the last minute before the 7 July vote. What kind of law-making is this?

 

Annexe 1, Point 19 amendment to the Authorisation Directive has been deleted and replaced with an alternative text, that paves the way for ISP filtering at the framework level of EU law. 

Annexe 1, Point 19 of the Authorisation Directive  was an amendment which meant that EU governments could place copyright enforcement as a term of doing business for ISPs. In principle, it's a good thing that it has been deleted. What I am concerned about, is  the possible interpretation of the  text that has replaced it.

The deletion was voted through by the Industry, Research and Energy committee (ITRE)  on July 7th.  In its place, there is a new text, which  refers to another amendment  - Article 8 - point 4 - g. This amendment refers (via another linked amendment)  to co-operation between ISPs and rights-holders.  I have now been able to analyse it, and as I  suspected,  it means


Read more: Another amendment sneaked in to Telecoms Package

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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.