The Closing of the Net  "original and valuable"  Times Higher Education

A member of the Czech Presidency team negotiating on the the Telecoms Package is going to a  job with AT&T, the American telecommunications giant which lobbied  for the provisions to restrict access to services  on the Internet. 


A Czech government representative who was on the Council's negotiating team for the Telecoms Package, is to start work next month in a senior public affairs role for AT&T Europe.  Filip Svab, who was

Third Secretary (information society, telecommunications, postal services, data protection) with the Czech Permanent Representation to the EU, said in a  round-robin email 10 days' ago, that he was leaving Brussels for a new job with AT&T. 

 

His new job title will be External Affairs Director. Based in Prague, he will be responsible for the region of Central and East Europe, Germany and Russia.

 

It is public knowledge that AT&T has exerted very high lobbying pressure on the EU institutions to insert amendments that will enable restrictions on Internet access. These amendments will signal the end of net neutrality, and permit AT&T to act in Europe in a way that it is not permitted to act in the US.  

 

The Czech Presidency led the negotiations on the Telecoms Package Second Reading, where the Council pressured the European Parliament to accept amendments that will permit restrictions on Internet access, and will allow graduated response measures for copyright enforcement.

Mr Svab was chair of the Telecom Working Group, which was responsible for  drafting the Council's changes to the Telecoms Package. He spoke in that capacity at joint meetings with the European Parliament, as can been seen from this ITRE committee agenda , where he spoke in respect of Catherine Trautmann's report on the Framework, access and authorisation directives.  

 

Whilst there is a revolving door between the policy institutions and industry, and it would be naive to say there isn't, this one should raise more than a few eyebrows.

 

In particular, the timing and the seniority of the post. Within a couple of months of the Czech Presidency finishing, and a  high-profile  vote in the European Parliament on the relevant dossier, a key member of the EU legislative team crosses to the other side.

 

One could legitimately ask  questions as to how much AT&T Europe will benefit financially from the Harbour report.

 

 AT&T lobbied hard for  the provisions in the Universal Services directive  to permit restrictions on the Internet. It was  rumoured that they have  been lobbying again  over the summer. They apparently want  to  get the European Parliament to remove even the tiny provisions on quality of service for users (Recital 26 and Article 22.3 in the Universal Services directive). They can be expected to pushing for deletion of Amendment 138, the only Article  in the Telecoms Package which protects users rights to use Internet services and applications. 


An unrelated matter, we should also ask why this video has been removed from the Czech Presidency website. The video showed a senior AT&T executive sitting on the platform with the rapporteur for the Universal Services directive, MEP Malcolm Harbour. Mr Harbour spoke of Internet restrictions. The video also shows Deutsche Telekom, which called on the  EU to oppose Amendment 138.

 

Here is the text of two of the  amendments proposed by AT&T in January this year.

Recital 14 [...]  (AT&T's proposal)

Given the increasing importance of electronic communications for consumers and businesses, users should be fully informed of [...] the traffic management policies [...] of any relevant restrictions and/or limitations imposed on the use of the electronic communications services by the service and/or network provider with which they conclude the contract. [...]. Where there is a lack of effective competition, the relevant national [...] authorities should use the remedies available to them in Directive 2002/19/EC to ensure that users' access to particular types of content or applications is not unreasonably restricted.

 

Article 21( 3). (AT&T's proposal)

Member States shall ensure that national regulatory authorities are able to oblige undertakings providing connection to a public electronic communications network and/or electronic communications services to inter alia:

(b) inform subscribers of any change to the provider's traffic management policies [...]; restrictions imposed by the undertaking on their ability to access content or run applications and services of their choice.

 

 Here is the "compromise" text from the Council, inserted into the Universal Services directive in May (Harbour report):

Article 21.3

Member States shall ensure that national regulatory authorities are able to oblige

undertakings providing public electronic communications networks and/or publicly

available electronic communications services to inter alia:

c/ inform subscribers of any change to conditions limiting access to and/or use

of services and applications, where such conditions are permitted under

national law in accordance with Community law;

 

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)EU negotiator lands top job in  AT&T    http://www.iptegrity.com 20 September 2009.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Copyright Enforcement Enigma tells the story of the 2009 Telecoms Package and how the copyright industries tried to hijack it.

'accurate and absorbing account of the story of the Telecoms Package' -Journal of International Commercial Law and Technology

'...a must read for those interested in knowing in depth about copyright enforcement and Internet.' -Journal of Intellectual Property Rights.  

Read more  

Ask your library to get it!

Order direct from the publisher.

Go to   Amazon

Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

European Parliament launch for Copyright Enforcement Enigma

Don't miss Iptegrity! Iptegrity.com  RSS/ Bookmark      

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten, European expert on Internet policy and Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science. She is an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee on Cross-border flow of Internet traffic and Internet freedom (MSI-INT). She was shortlisted for The Guardian Open Internet Poll 2012. Iptegrity  offers expert insights into Internet policy. Iptegrity has a core readership in the Brussels policy community, and has been cited in the media. Please acknowledge Iptegrity when you cite or link.  For more, see IP politics with integrity

Reads like a legal thriller!


The Copyright Enforcement Enigma - Internet Politics and the ‘Telecoms Package’

by Monica Horten

Available online from Amazon  or (libraries) get it from the publisher direct:

 

 

 

 

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

Contact  me to use  iptegrity content for commercial purposes