Horrible European Surveillance Proposals

What fuckery is this? It looks like the French government, having failed to impose an awful record-industry inspired snooping act at home, is trying to policy-launder it through the European Union. The so-called “3 strikes” law foresaw that ISPs would be required to cut off service to anyone who was found downloading or distributing copyrighted material three times – which of course implied that the ISPs would be expected to filter all traffic by content, a wildly grandiose, authoritarian, and insecure idea. (Wonderfully, Nicolas Sarkozy outsourced his Internet policy to a committee led by the owner of a chain of record shops; a little like putting the manufacturers of candles in charge of street lighting.)

But the legislation failed in France; so here it is, coming straight back via the European Parliament. The odd bit, though, seeing as it’s a French idea chiefly backed by the EPP (=European Conservative group), is that it’s being pushed by the British Tories in Brussels – half of whom don’t believe there even should be a European Parliament. Specifically, according to Heise.de (German link), it’s the Tory MEPs Malcolm Harbour and Sayed Kamal. Kamal is responsible for possibly the most egregious tagnut of a clause in the whole thing, which would permit essentially unrestricted telecoms surveillance for the (naturally undefined) “security of a public or private communications system”, and Harbour for the copyright/content-sniffing bit.

This raises some interesting questions. For a start, let’s get this out of the way: here are detailed instructions on who to phone and shout at. There are more at the bottom of the ORG post referenced above. You have until the 7th of July.

But since when has EU-sponsored mass telecoms snooping and censorship been the policy of the Conservative Party? Perhaps fortunately, they’ve been out of power since the Internet has been an issue, so this has never really been tested; David Cameron certainly didn’t say anything about this, the lying turdwit.

12 thoughts on “Horrible European Surveillance Proposals

  1. Pingback: What Fuckery Is This? — almost a diary — Tobias Schwarz’s thoughts, opinions, and ideas of the moment

  2. “For a start, let’s get this out of the way: here are detailed instructions on who to phone and shout at. ”

    http://www.laquadrature.net is extremely confusing; it’s probably useful for somebody that followed the issue from the beginning …

    It would be nice to have a summary of the problem:

    – what exactly was voted on April 10th ? a link on official EU site would be great: there is a guy I voted for in our EP elections on the list of members of IMCO committee that supposedly were against and I might write to thank him (I understand he voted against the “three strike” approach to fighting “IP piracy”).

    – “Their further impose filters and spyware to internet users” – in the summary from http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/AnalyseCompromisVersionDiteFinale
    but there is no mention of “spyware” in the detailed analysis from the same page.

    I might be way off, and completely missed the point, but:
    the detailed analysis sais this:
    ‘Recital 12c (compromise amendment 4) describes the so-called “preventive” phase of the “graduated response”.’
    while the document from here (http://www.laquadrature.net/files/amendements-compromis_ITRE-IMCO_7juil/) only talks about how the service providers should inform the users about “copyright infringement, other unlawful uses and dissemination of harmful content, and advice and means of protection against risks to personal security” …

    “Article 22(3) (compromise amendment 5) plans for the standards of surveillance and filtering to be defined by National regulatory authorities under control from the European Commission. The procedure defined in this article does not meet standards of democratic control.” — while in the document linked in the “Examined amendments” ( 080702 Art 22(3) CA 5.doc ) there is no mention of filtering or surveillance …

    It’s like this: either I don’t understand Legalese, or the site it completely mixed up …

  3. IIRC, Kamall opposed EU moves to stop mobile phone companies from overcharging customers visiting another EU country. And Harbour was one of the main pro software patent MEPs during the fight against the swpat directive.

    In other words, they both have serious form as anti digital rights and pro big business being able to fuck people around.

    I wonder if either of them are in the pay of RIAA or MPAA member companies? Would it be possible to find out?

  4. IMO this shows that purported conservative principle is a screen to push through the usual “pro-business” shit. When it comes down to it, whether it is pushed in a national or supranational forum doesn’t matter all that much. I will do my bit, and I hope this doesn’t pass and that PSE proves to be less willing to hand over fundamental rights for private interests.

  5. Better summary, but not that easy to find:

    http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Telecom-Package_Compromise-Amendments_ITRE-IMCO_7th-July

    IANAL, but this does not seem so terrible.

    To my poor understanding of law and English it seems that the amendments say:
    – attempts to block copyright infringement should not disturb legitimate traffic
    – DRM devices should not be mandatory
    – existing DRM devices/software should not interfere with somebody’s personal data or misuse that personal data
    – member states that are not pleased with these arrangements can inform the Commision, according to certain procedure, about their issues

    I read as carefully as I could the articles and the amendments, and I could not find phrases that would mandate or make easier anything that is illegal right now (i.e.: ISP spying on their clients — http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7486743.stm ). Instead, the incriminated texts define limits that would make, for example, indiscriminate blocking or slowing of bittorent trafic illegal, and efficient supervision or filtering very difficult and expensive.

    I see http://www.ffii.org/ are silent, for now, or at least don’t deal with this supposed emergency on pages that are easy to find. Considering the professional way they behaved during the swpat crisis, I’d get worried if they get worried first.

    now I’ll crawl back to my neo-con dungeon.

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