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Data protection, NSA votes won; net neutrality next

Glyn Moody | March 20, 2014
Here are the main points of the data protection proposals as summarized in the European Parliament's press release on the vote.

The ITRE committee had been scheduled to finally adopt the Neelie Kroes' report on the European Single Market for Electronic Communications on 24 February. But because of the unavailability of the 22 linguistic versions of the amendments to be voted, the members of the ITRE committee decided to postpone the decision after one and a half hours of agitated discussion.

Before that date, the work in shadow meetings had been intense, as the chapter addressing the open Internet divided political groups. The proposal of Pilar del Castillo Vera (ES - EPP), the ITRE rapporteur on this dossier, distorts the principle of Net Neutrality to please the telecom lobby. Her compromise amendments (pdf commented by LQDN) bypass Net Neutrality by allowing telecom operators to make deals with Internet services providers (e.g. YouTube or Netflix) to grant them priorised delivery through so-called “specialised services”. Unfortunately her proposals are supported by her group, as a whole, even if EPP members in the “Civil Liberties” (LIBE) committee broadly supported the provisions defending Net Neutrality.

MEP Catherine Trautmann (FR - S&D), shadow rapporteur for her group, has now taken a firm position in defense of innovation and competition in the digital economy. Mrs Trautmann has proposed another version of the same compromise amendment but which now states clearly that "specialised services" cannot be used by big telecom operators in partnership with Internet giants to circumvent Net Neutrality and thus dominate the Internet and the wider digital economy (see a comparison table on the two amendments).

The key thing is therefore to urge all the MEPs on the ITRE committee to support Trautmann's amendment. La Quadrature has also helpfully put together a full list of the ITRE committee; those from the UK are as follows:

Giles Chicester:

Vicky Ford:

Nick Griffin:

Fiona Hall:

Roger Helmer:

Sajjad Karim:

Peter Skinner:

Alyn Smith:

If you prefer, you can contact your own local MEP using WriteToThem. Here's what I'm sending to my local MEPs and members of the ITRE committee:

This is just a quick note to urge you and your ITRE colleagues to support real Net neutrality in the vote on Tuesday. Specifically, I hope that you will vote for Catherine Trautmann's amendment, which contains the following key section:

"(15) “specialised service” means an electronic communications service optimised for specific content, applications or services, or a combination thereof, provided over logically distinct capacity and relying on strict admission control from end to end. It is not marketed or usable as a substitute for internet access service; its application layer is not functionally identical to services and applications available over the public internet access service;"

Thank you for your help in preserving the open Internet.

Source: Computerworld UK


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