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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.



When it comes to China, the European Commission understands perfectly that Internet filters are about censorship and limiting freedom of expression. So why are they  blind, deaf and dumb to it in the Telecoms Package?

 

My attention has just been drawn to comments by Martin Selmayr,  European Commission press spokesman  for DG Information Society,  regarding the Chinese government's Green Dam initiative to censor the Internet in order to ‘protect the children'.

 Mr Selmayr accused the Chinese of using the ruse of protecting children in order to limit freedom of expression via Internet filtering technology. What is really interesting is that when it comes to the EU Telecoms Package, Mr Selmayr's excellent

Read more: EU and Net censorship: do as I say, not as I do

Viviane Reding says she will tackle the collecting societies on pan-European licencing and she will back projects for cloud computing. That should be good news.  But Our Lady of the U-turns has done it again. Because in the same speech she calls for the Telecoms Package to come into force, ignoring that it is about restricting innovative Internet services, and tries to belittle the importance of Amendment 138 which seeks to safeguard users' rights.

 

In a speech to the Lisbon council in Brussels last week, European Commissioner for Information Society, Viviane Reding, has vowed to tackle the biggest obstacle to so-called legal online content services  - the collecting societies and their resistance to a pan-European licence for Internet music and film rights.

 "In my view,growing internet piracy is a vote of

Read more: Viviane Reding's wake-up call

Viviane Reding, who is currently still the EU Commissioner for Information Society,  has renewed a call to ‘seal the deal' on the Telecoms Package. Her  haste  to get the Package all wrapped up seems a little indecent.  Amendment 138, the reason why the Package has not been sealed, raises issues concerning the protection of   fundamental rights on the Internet. And, as European Commissioner, she is a guardian of the Treaties, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights. But what if she takes up the seat she won as MEP? 

 

Speaking at a telecoms industry event, she said "In this time of economic crisis, we

Read more: Viviane Reding's indecent haste to seal the Package

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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.