Big tech accountability? Read how we got here in  The Closing of the Net 

 How far does the Telecoms Package represent a licence to chill?  And will the European Parliament adhere to its principles to protect free speech on the Internet? That is the challenge for the European Parliament in the Third Reading of the Telecoms Package. This re-work of my previously-published article, explores these issues. 

 With a  few simple words, "conditions limiting access to and/or use of services and applications" the Telecoms Package reverses the users' right to freely communicate   in cyberspace, and turns it into an operator's right to impose restrictions.

 The Telecoms Package establishes the rules for network operators in the EU. Those "conditions" mean that the operators may, at their own discretion, block the  use of applications and services, which could include Skype, peer-to-peer file-sharing, and any other website, service or protocol.


Such restrictions on Internet use are already applied by some operators. The  choice is being made for commercial purposes, or because the operator is subject to litigation by third parties. It is independent of requirements to manage the network, and is carried out  without consulting the users as to their needs.


Moreover, the Telecoms Package contains provisions which establish the legal foundation at EU level  for government measures restricting the Internet for political purposes. Those purposes may include  enforcement of copyright.  However, the true extent of the intentions for blocking is unknown.


The issues are outlined in this paper, which is a re-work of an article I published on earlier this year. The revisions take account of new information and discussion in more detail the issues related to freedom of speech.

Download the paper in pdf form The Telecoms Package - a licence to chill

It is released under a Creative Commons licence. Please remember to cite it correctly if you refer to it in your own article.  



This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. 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)The Telecoms Package - a licence to chill, 6 September  2009.


Iptegrity in brief is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing.   I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. I am currently (from June 2022)  Policy Manager - Freedom of Expression, with the Open Rights Group. For more, see About Iptegrity is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

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States v the 'Net? 

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Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

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


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