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Telecoms Package 2nd Reading

This section of iptegrity.com is devoted to analysing the Telecoms Package Second Reading in the European Parliament. In it, I have published articles, papers and analysis notes which took a critical look at the proposed texts and what they might have meant for European citizens and users, with a particular focus on the Internet and content issues.

The Telecoms Package was the review of European telecommunications framework legislation, (for full details please see the other section on iptegrity.com labelled Telecoms Package). Over 800 amendments were originally tabled to the two main directives involved - the so-called Better Regulation directive which incorporates the Framework, Access and Authoritisation directives - and the so-called Citizens Rights directive - which incorporates the Universal Services directive and the e-Privacy directive.

With so many amendments, covering such a broad scope of legislation, it is almost impossible for anyone, even specialists, to have a grasp of their meaning in real life. Let alone members of the European Parliament, for whom this is just one of many subjects, and where they are reliant on their assistants, who in turn rely on lobbyists. This is especially true since the real meaning of many amendments depends on how they are inter-linked with others. Following the chain of links, to figure out, is a complex task. However, when one does so, some serious consequences are being revealed.

The over-arching problem is that this is policy being made by changes in the law. The scope of the telecoms framework is being altered via often subtle wording changes in the amendments. The changing scope is de facto establishing policy, and by-passing the correct policy processes which have been established in the European Union.

To give an idea of the scale of the problem, one telecoms lawyer complained to me that he had 250 pages of documents to read through, in order to analyse the Package and do the job properly. What did he have? The Council compromise documents for the two main bundles in the Package - Better Regulation and Citizens rights - plus the Common position for reference. For those of us who have been with the Telecoms Package since the beginning, trawling through this amount of documentation is strangely normal. It also puts into perspective the enormity of the job for the European Parliament, and begs the question whether MEPs can really do it justice in the time allowed.

If you like the articles in this section and you are interested in Eu telecoms policy and the 2009 Telecoms Package, especially with regard to copyright enforcement 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'

You may like my book The Closing of the Net which positions the story of the 2009 Telecoms Package in the wider policy context.



Amendment 138 was saved tonight in a surprise European Parliament committee vote. It is another political signal of the European Parliament's disapproval of graduated response / 3-strikes measures. But the problems with the Telecoms Package remain, and users access to the Internet may still be limited or blocked under other provisions and there may be little that ussers can do about it.

The ITRE Committee voted 40 in favour and 4 against Amendment 138. I noted that the rapporteur, Catherine Trautmann had given it a plus sign on the voting list. I'm informed that only the 4 French EPP MEPs voted against. The German MEP Erika Mann ( PSE) seems to have abstained - it is notable that Erika Mann was one of the MEPs who tabled the AT&T amendments. The result means that the Parliament is

Read more: Amendment 138 saved - but not the Internet

European Parliament back-room bargain sacrifices Internet users rights

Amendment 138, which protects Internet users rights against blocking and 3-strikes measures, has been scrapped in a back-room EU deal. The European Parliament has sacrificed users rights, in order to appease the French and UK government demands, so that they can move ahead with plans for 3-strikes and protocol blocking.

Amendment 138 is to be deleted. The pressure is coming from the UK and French governments, and it is likely to be a completely intolerable situation for the rapporteur, the French Socialist MEP Catherine Trautmann. Nevertheless, she knows the importance of Amendment 138, in symbolising the protection of users interests against those of the large corporations. At home, in Paris, her Party has opposed the Sarkozy regime and its 3-strikes law (also known as the Creation and Internet law). That opposition saw the successful rejection of the Creation and Internet law just over a week ago.

There will be a Recital, which Mrs Trautmann is trying to sell to her colleagues as

Read more: Amendment 138 scrapped in EU Telecoms Package deal

Should someone tell  the Commissioner for Information Society what is really  inside the Telecoms Package? According to a report in a German newspaper,  she is under the impression that it will deal with operators who block access to services.

 

In an article in the  German financial newspaper Handelsblatt, EU Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding, is reported as saying that national regulatory authorities should take action against network operators taking advantage of their own market dominance to  block new, innovative services. She was commenting on the news that T-Mobile is  blocking Skype on iPhones and Blackberrys. Her threat is apparently that T-Mobile could be in breach of EU competition law.

However, Mrs Reding  cannot be  up to speed on developments in the Telecoms Package - this is a  revision to EU telecoms law and the current draft will legally permit operators to

Read more: Look again Mrs Reding: limitations mean blocking

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About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor: online safety, technology and human rights. In April 2024, I was appointed as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on online safety and empowerment of content creators and users. 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.