Platform responsibility? Get the backstory - check my book The Closing of the Net - only £15.99!

Internet Threats

There are many emerging threats to the open and neutral Internet. Since I began researching EU policy in 2007, we have seen several different groups of stakeholders lobbying for blocks to be placed on websites,  user access to be suspended or content filtering.  One of those groups of stakeholders is law enforcement. Another is concerned with protection of minors, and confuses the method of dealing with child pornography, which is a  criminal offence, with parental control of what children see. These are  quite different problems, and  the policy approach should be addressed in different fora. Other calls for Internet blocking are now arising in respect to libel and defamation, and we have seen this in the UK with the Twitter injunctions.  This section will address these issues in relation to policy and the EU.

If you like the articles in this section and you are interested in Internet policy-making in the EU, especially with regard to copyright policy, you may like my books A Copyright Masquerade: How Corporate Lobbying Threatens Online Freedoms and The Copyright Enforcement Enigma - Internet Politics and the ‘Telecoms Package’

If you are following  discussions around telecoms and technology policy and content blocking ,  you may like my book The Closing of the Net which covers the British copyright blocking orders, as well as the Megaupload case.

In 2010,  we got  ACTA and the Digital Economy Act. On the other,  Internet freedom of speech  gained a new celebrity status, and in Britain anyway, the establishment has woken  up to the issues.


What can we expect for 2011? Will the new found free speech celebrities  take the issue mainstream?  Will the schizoid patterns of 2010 continue?


***And a happy New Year to all iptegrity readers! ***


First, a quick round-up of 2010.

The year  began with the fight between the European Parliament and the Commission over ACTA.  The Parliament passed a Resolution calling for transparency of the ACTA text, and opposing the inclusion of measures such as 3-strikes.  Contradictorily, this was followed by the Gallo report which supports 3-strikes and other draconian measures such as the blocking of websites.

 In the UK, the Digital Economy Act was bulldozed through the Parliament by the old Labour government under the eyes of the British music industry. In France, the 3-strikes measures began to take effect. The new Hadopi authority was established, warning  letters to Internet subscribers were drafted, and  software companies were asked to design ‘security' software which would ensure that a subscriber could not infringe copyright, by looking at all web traffic and applications on the computer. Internationally, ACTA  was concluded as a  multi-national  pact to enforce copyright against peer-to-peer file-sharing and any other activities on the Internet.

 In the autumn, the gloves came off

Read more: 2011 - a schizoid year for Internet policy?

The review of the E-commerce Directive asks whether network  filtering can be effective and whether there are liability  issues for "web 2.0 and cloud computing". Given  that it is under the remit of  the French Commissioner, Michel Barnier, how are we to read this strange approach to a consultation which specifically does NOT want to hear the citizen perspective?


In the middle of the summer holidays, when few were around to  notice it, the European Commision has sneaked out a highly controversial review of the Ecommerce directive. The review is consulting on the use of Internet filtering and monitoring and search engine linking. It appears to have been influenced by the pharmaceutical, luxury goods and  copyright industries. And in a move that is sure to inflame the user community, the Commission has specifically ruled out responses from citizens' groups and NGOs.


The Commission considers that

Read more: Ecommerce directive: EU Commission sneaks out filtering review

MEPS are being deceived into signing a Written Declaration which they believe is a statement on child abuse and sexual violence against women. In fact, it is a Trojan Horse for extending the Data Retention Directive. It reflects  gutter-lobbying of the worst kind.


 The Declaration from two EPP members, Tiziano Motti (Italy) and  Anna Záborská (Slovakia) purports to be a call for setting up a European Early Warning System for sex offenders. It  is not a policy proposal but is trying to get the European Parliament to establish a policy position, which could be used to pressure the Commission into drafting policy.

However, what it  actually wants is   for Directive 2006/24 EC to be extended. But it does not provide the full name of this Directive. If it did provide the name, the objective of the Written Declaration would be revealed. Apparently, 324 MEPs have already signed without bothering to check.

Directive 2006/24 EC is the Data Retention Directive which mandates ISPs and telephone companies to collect and retain communications traffic data for

Read more: European Parliament duped over sex offences Declaration



States v the 'Net? 

Read The Closing of the Net, by me, Monica Horten.

"original and valuable"  Times higher Education

" essential read for anyone interested in understanding the forces at play behind the web."

Find out more about the book here  The Closing of the Net


FROM £15.99

Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

In 2012, I presented my PhD research in the European Parliament.

Don't miss Iptegrity!  RSS/ Bookmark is the website of Dr Monica Horten. She is a policy analyst specialising in Internet governance & European policy, including platform accountability. She is a 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. She has worked on CoE, EU and UNDP funded projects in eastern Europe and the Caucasus. In a voluntary capacity, she has led UK citizen delegations to the European Parliament. She was shortlisted for The Guardian Open Internet Poll 2012.

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