European Parliament votes in favour of internet freedom

By on
European Parliament votes in favour of internet freedom

The European Parliament has decided that ISPs and regulators, such as Ofcom in the UK, cannot restrict individuals’ access to the internet.

But the vote, which is in favour of online freedom of expression, is not the end of the EU debate taking place between the European Parliament and Council.

Because the Parliament has not agreed with the Council, the proposals will now enter the EU’s conciliation procedure where the two bodies will try and reach a compromise.

The debate has emerged from the reform of the Telecoms Package 2002 and in particular, one of the five directives that make up the package, called the Framework Directive.

The reform cast the possibility that a three strikes measure proposed by the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, could be adopted.

A three strikes law would kick file sharers and illegal downloaders off the internet for up to a year if they were third-time offenders.

The decision by the Parliament not to adopt Sarkozy’s proposition is the second time it has come to this conclusion.

During the first reading of the proposal, Parliament formed what is known as Amendment 138.

The Amendment reads, “No restriction may be imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of end-users, without a prior ruling by the judicial authorities, notably in accordance with Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union on freedom of expression and information, save when public security is threatened in which case the ruling may be subsequent.”

Catherin Trautman, author of the other report relating to the Framework Directive, revised the text in April to water down the Parliament’s Amendment and secure agreement between the Council and Parliament, before the elections in early June.

Citizen rights groups, such as La Quandrature du Net were outraged by Trautman’s changes and called on MEPs to side with the previous version of the report, which contained the amendment.

Now the groups have welcomed the decision of the MEPs.

Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net, described it as a “victory”.

"A formidable campaign from the citizens put the issues of freedoms on the internet at the center of the debates of the Telecoms Package,” he said.

“The massive re-adoption of amendment 138/46 rather than the softer compromise negotiated by rapporteur Trautmann with the Council is an even stronger statement,” he concluded.

Got a news tip for our journalists? Share it with us anonymously here.
Copyright ©

Most Read Articles

Log In

Username / Email:
  |  Forgot your password?