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

9, 76 and 112  - which relate to the sending of warning messages and setting up a"co-operation" procedure between ISPs and rights-holders, would"facilitate copyright holders ability to monitor the IP addresses of individuals, which could be used to facilitate a 3-strikes approach scheme." He goes on to say that "these amendments provide for a "slippery slope" and can be interpreted as erecting the foundations for such a system and even favouring its emergence".


 On filtering, he points out that its use for anything other than "limited, specific, ad hoc situations whereby there is a well-grounded suspicion of copyright abuse", would clash with the principles of necessity and proportionality, and he recalls the amendment to the European Parliament's Bono report where the Parliament expressed its opposition to  graduated response mechanisms.


On standardisation,  he interprets Amendment 134 as meaning that national regulators could introduce "measures designed to prevent access and distribution of lawful content"


Finally he calls for Amendment 30 to be rejected, Amendment 9 to be re-drafted, and for a clear statement defining "co-operation" in a such a way that  it would not include filtering.

Download the report here.