Telecoms package fails over internet users’ rights

European Voice:

MEPs rejected the package because it would have exposed internet users to the blocking of their accounts as a penalty for illegal downloading. A parliament amendment inserted to protect these rights was removed just days before the vote, in a meeting between the Parliament, the Commission and the Council of Ministers. The parliament plenary rebelled against this move.

European Parliament:

A user’s Internet access cannot be restricted without prior ruling by the judicial authorities, insists the European Parliament reinstating one of its first-reading amendments.

The Czechs are pissed off:

It is evident that the whole package has become hostage to the pre-election campaign of a part of MEPs. The issue of internet users’ rights, which was behind the decision of the MEPs not to respect the compromise, is indeed important and needs to be discussed thoroughly. However, the telecoms package is not the right place to deal with it. The question has nothing to do with the aims and purposes of telecoms market reform.

[Comment: Indeed, how dare MEPs pay attention to voters’ wishes, just because the member states wanted to sneak some repressive legislation into a proposal where it didn’t really belong?]

Liberals claim credit:

Sophie in ´t Veld (D66, Netherlands) said: "I am very pleased that the EP did not bow to the attempt of the Council to use the back door to insert a rule restricting the access to the internet."

Of course, the Liberals can hardly claim sole credit: 407 MEPs voted in favour of their amendment, with 57 votes against and 171 abstentions. Congrats to all who contacted their MEPs on this issue – the Czech government clearly identifies us as the villains of the piece! In particular, of course, kudos to La Quadrature du Net for their eternal vigilance.

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