A key new amendment enshrining the operator's right to block Internet content will not be voted on. It is tucked into the "compromise" document, which will be voted as a block.This appears to be a breach of procedure and should be seriously questioned.
This is amendment number 103 on the HARBOUR report. Within this document, you will find Article 2a and Recital 22a. Neither of these was voted on in the IMCO committee vote on 31 March. At that point, they had not been written. Mr Harbour said that he wanted to re-write the original Amendment 166, but did not indicate how he proposed to do so. The committee voted on the original Amendment 166 and carried it.
Article 2a and Recital 22a of the Universal Services and users rights directive, both say the same thing - that operators will nto be prohibited from blocking Internet users access
to services and applications. Applying a principle of English law, that something is permitted if it not forbidden, this Article 2a and Recital 22a may be interpreted as giving operators the right to block.
The Parliament will not get the chance to vote on these amendments individually. Check the voting list, which is downloadable via the La Quadrature du Net website . The voting list is stitched up, so that this amendment will be voted within the "compromise" which is listed as amendment no 103. It should technically under the rules, be split out, because technically it is an alternative for the original Amendment 166 - Article 32a - and therefore the Parliament should have the opportunity to vote on it. Especially in light of its significance - as I have previously reported, it reverses existing principles in EU law, which guarantee end-to-end connectivity.
Catherine Trautmann has tabled her so-called 'fake' Amendment 138 - the re-written and re-positioned amendment drafted by the Council - for a split vote. This too would indicate that not splitting out Article 2a and Recital 22a in the Harbour report is a breach of procedure.
It appears to be an attempt to sneak in to the law, something which users all over Europe are protesting about, and evidence if such was needed that the European Parliament is not listening to the constituents who will be voting in June.
Here is the text that will now not be voted on:
2a. This Directive neither mandates nor prohibits conditions, imposed by
providers of publicly available electronic communications and services,
limiting users' access to and/or use of services and applications, where
allowed under national law and in conformity with Community law, but does
provide for information regarding such conditions. National measures
regarding end-users' access to or use of services and applications through
electronic communications networks shall respect the fundamental rights
and freedoms of natural persons, including in relation to privacy and due
process, as defined in Article 6 of the European Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
(22a) Directive 2002/22/EC (Universal Service Directive) neither mandates nor prohibits
conditions imposed by providers, in accordance with national law, limiting users'
access to and/or use of services and applications but does provide for information
regarding such conditions. Member States wishing to implement measures
regarding users' access to and/or use of services and applications must respect the
fundamental rights of citizens, including in relation to privacy and due process,
and any such measures should take full account of policy goals adopted at
Community level, such as furthering the development of the Community
For the full story of the Telecoms Package, see my book The Copyright Enforcement Enigma: Internet politics and the Telecoms Package
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed. The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2009), European Parliament Dirty Trick on Internet Vote, iptegrity.com, 5 May 2009.