The protection of the original amendment 138 – An Open warning to the European Council the European Parliament
The Conciliation Committee had an informal meeting today where they were presented with an alternative compromise (am. 138) from the legal council of the Parliament. This compromise is not good at all for European citizens who need fundamental freedoms and rights. Let me try to explain why.
This compromise is meant to replace the original amendment 138, which states that ”no restriction on fundamental rights and freedom” can be taken ”without a prior ruling by the judicial authorities”. This should be common practice as the internet is not something national, it’s something that is transnational. And if the European Union wants to unite Europe and work on developing democracy, enhancing the public’s interest for politics and strenghtening their freedoms and rights – then the original 138 is essential for European citizens.
No market is worth more than the backbone of democracy: the citizens. People constitute states and unions – politicians and bureacrats should work to develop democracy, not to to protect the already powerful.
The original amendment 138 has already been adopted twice by the Parliament by 88% of the votes. This sends a clear signal that democracy in a European framework is but a mockery and a charade as to what the politicians representing the people want.
Why can’t we change the original amendment 138 so it doesn’t collide with national counstitutional laws and at the same time safeguard citizens fundamental freedoms and rights? The political mindset is here an utterly black and white affair, which will lead to a bleak and gloomy future in terms of developing democracy.
The internet is something that transcends national legislations. The internet is something that transcends different unions. The internet is something that transcends markets and static political frameworks.
However, the internet is the possibility of a truly global connectedness and transnational communicational platform. The internet is the possibility for an ”other” democracy to the political concept called ”eDemocracy” and the internet is the very possibility to give a voice to each end-user all around the world.
The European defence for the internet starts here. Which mindset do you have? Are you willing to sacrifice fundamental freedoms and rights for the sake of a European market? Are you willing to sacrifice several important concepts such as ”Net neutrality”, ”mere conduit” as well as ”prior ruling by judicial authorities”? Are you willing to say no to amendment 138 because it might collide with national constitutional law?
There is the internet – and then there is the controlled and bundled packaged version which is not worthy being called ”the internet”.
There is democracy, freedoms and rights – and then there is a controlled and bundled packaged version of democracy and political policy making which is not worthy being called ”democracy”.
I encourage policy makers to look at the original amendment 138 one more time and adapt it so it doesn’t collide with national legislation, as well as safeguarding what you ought to safeguard in the first place: the freedom and rights of your voters.
Your choices and actions do not just affect national legislation and the telecom sector; they affect 500+ million people within the European Union, as well as the internet as something that transcends the very legal framework you are trapped inside. One has to realize that this is a world phenomenon, if we do not safeguard the internet in Europe, then we end up risking the future of something that really has a great democratic potential.
So which side are you on? Can you see past this simplistic division? Do you want to protect the interests of a certain few transnational (oh the irony in safeguarding these issues from a transnational point of view) conglomerates that aim to control the internet, and thus control the markets you are willing to make more dynamic? Or do you really want to improve the communication with your voters on a transnational level? Do not talk about eDemocracy if you are not willing to listen to citizens.
This will ultimately backfire on you and the citizens will over time develop democracy on their own.
The initial goal here was to update the legal framework of the 5 directives of the telecoms package, but you have let us down. You have let us down in listening more to lobbyists roaming around in the corridors of the European Union and you have let us down in choosing to follow the lead of France and the UK in terms of trying to take control of the internet. The telecoms package got kidnapped and powerful corporations have inserted their policies into it. This is something very problematic.
In the compromise presented to the Conciliation Committee, the rights to a process could be restricted for ”prevention or detection of criminal offenses”. How has this improved anyting? Listen to your citizens! They are willing to compromise if you just communicate with them.
It is time for the Council to justify their position in an official communiqué to the European citizens. I want to know what you have against 138 and I also want to know why you do not want to adapt the original amendment so it doesn’t collide with national constitutional law.
As a citizen I favour the original amendment 138. It would give me protection against an industry and market that is turning against their consumers by filing lawsuits and trying to control the internet.
The bond between me and my ISP of choice already solves a lot of things connected with unlawful behaviour, this is not problematic. If I don’t get the service I want I do not take my ISP to court; I simply switch to another ISP. And if I would have done something that goes against the contract, then I can always choose another ISP and not risk being cut off from the internet.
Having restricted access and being cut off from the internet and any ISP is NOT OK. Good luck in enforcing measures to control a ”3-strikes” policy all over Europe. Implementing static and outdated legal frameworks will prove to be costly for the citizens of Europe and the governing power elite wanting these measures. European and citizens of the world will always get around your legal framework and policy making. Our voices will be heard.
The citizens of the world will over time raise their voices for the sake of Net neutrality, for the sake of a free and unrestricted fundamental right to internet access as well as the complicated and problematic relation between lobby organisations and our political unions.
I will not stop protecting the internet and its development. I will, as long as I am alive, inform about the dangers of restrictions, 3-strikes, data retention, data mining, surveillance etc. and actively, as a European citizen and world citizen, spend time in developing democracy, protect the freedom of speech, remixing concepts and making them more positive, trying to re-structure government, as well as informing about internet and society.
I am a European citizen who cares about the internet and my fellow citizens’ freedoms and rights.
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