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.