EU agrees with guidelines on Internet restriction

European MEP's and Council representatives have agreed on a set of guidelines that state restrictions to Internet usage may "only be imposed if they are appropriate, proportionate and necessary within a democratic society," and that users are entitled to a "fair and impartial procedure" before disconnection.

The Telecoms Reform Package that the restriction guidelines are part of will go before the European Parliament and Council for a final decision in late November. The compromise is the result of all night negotiations and is the last hurdle for the package which also include, amongst other things, a rule that will require mobile phone companies to help users change contracts within 24 hours.

Although the guidelines seem to a step in the right direction, there are still some doubts over just what will constitute a "fair and impartial" procedure.

"It has been long hard battle but at least all sides have acknowledged that fundamental rights of users need to be guaranteed in the digital world," said Monique Goyens, the director general of BEUC, the European Consumers' Organisation.

"However, these rights will be meaningless if Hadopi-style laws are allowed to be enforced at national level," she added, referring to the controversial "Hadopi" law passed in France earlier this year. The law states that file-sharers would receive warning by email and letter before being disconnected for a year if they did it a third time. It is named after the organisation that will police it - Higher Authority for the Distribution of Works and the Protection of Copyright on the Internet.

The BEUC has also called for a "fundamental re-examination and overall assessment" about what is and isn't illegal downloading, as well as an evaluation of the economic impact it actually has on the music and film industry.

According to the BBC, a recent study suggested that 72 percent of file-sharers who admit to downloading illegal content also spent the most on legal downloads.

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It's a nice try, but all that's going to happen is the geeks (that's us) that setup our friends so they can download will change the settings to use DHT only and encrypt all traffic from the client.

As long as open source cryptography and P2P clients exist, there is no way this sort of thing can ever work. We didn't need the governments with it's corrupt manner of dictatorship whilst WE were creating the Internet in the 80's, nor did we need them when WE started using it in the 90's and when WE evolved it into what it is today.

Just because some people are using a different medium to share films and music doesn't require targeting that particular medium. Nor should it mean we give up our right to be innocent until proven guilty.

All that will happen is P2P will evolve to use DHT only and SSL encryption will be used rather than just RC4.

Going to take more than the unelected Dark Lord Mandelson to make any significant change other than for P2P traffic to go dark.

See: http://wiki.vuze.com/index.php/Avoid_traffic_shaping for more info and use TPB as I believe they only use DHT rather than traditional trackers.

DHT and encryption FTW!

all this maybe true, but it doesn't change the fact that the first step on Internet control by the USE has been made.
Internet usage history storage will be mandated (already in place in some EU countries) next.
After that the noose will slowly but surely tighten.
Can't have all this open and free internet messing up things with blogs and such.

I agree, but people - in particular the governments - should remember that this is OUR internet.

Using phone lines and PC's we have created the biggest network on earth. Highly resiliant, very scaliable and controlled by the people. There is no central internet - there is nothing we cannot do ourselves on the internet to protect ourselves. This is not something designed, implemented or even understood - at least by the UK Government.

I will not be punished by an unelected body (either the EU or Mandy) without due process.

WE are what make the Internet - what it was in the past, what it is today and what it will be in the future. Not a Government.
We built it, and we direct it's future as a whole. A global inter-connecting network of networks cannot be governed by any single country (UK or EU).

At the end of the day it's the techies who design, specify and implement the technical standards of the Internet, and if we build open source encryption into particular types of traffic (like SSL was layered over HTTP) then that's what will happen.

Either the Government bans encryption (which can never happen) or this is just to please the media mogules paying for Mandy's fancy dinner.


Utter joke.

Yes, the United States of Europe is a real improvement. My country had as national law that downloading whatever was legal, that's been changed now.

I'm beginning to think the same thing. It's interesting that the world criticizes their communist / dictator policies, but other countries seem to be going in that direction as well...

When they say there'll cut you off, I mean the ISPs really, are you off the net for a set amount of time or can you just sign up with another provider.

You are blacklisted. You cannot sign with another provider in Europe. Still you can sign up with a provider outside the USE but that's costly.

petrossa said,
You are blacklisted. You cannot sign with another provider in Europe. Still you can sign up with a provider outside the USE but that's costly.

Oh jeez... That is just insane...

I don't think someone's right to communicate should be restricted, even if they abused their freedom of speech to break some minor laws.

Would we cut off their tongues if they repeatedly broke the law by slandering someone, or breaching some insider trading laws? Would we cut off their hands if they used written words to do the same?

And yet here we have governments bowing to the whim of copyright organizations, threatening to take away someone's right to information and communication because they listened to some songs that they weren't entitled to listen to. Nobody should be relieved that they are going to promise to do it in an orderly way. We should be outraged that corporations and lawmakers (which are increasingly becoming indistinguishable, by the way) would dare to do such a thing in the first place.

I am disgusted.

The BEUC has also called for a "fundamental re-examination and overall assessment" about what is and isn't illegal downloading, as well as an evaluation of the economic impact it actually has on the music and film industry.

That would be interesting to read, as long as it's impartial and unbiased. We could finally see if the RIAA and MPAA are even on the same planet with the numbers they claim the music industry is losing.

Tim Dawg said,
That would be interesting to read, as long as it's impartial and unbiased. We could finally see if the RIAA and MPAA are even on the same planet with the numbers they claim the music industry is losing.

1. This is a EU commission, RIAA and MPAA are American organizations, so the closest it will come is the assumption that pirating in the EU has the same affect as it does in the states on that economy.
2. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see lot's of lobby money thrown at this "assessment" and have it reinforce what these corrupt organizations have been spouting for years.

Is it really that much better that the innocent have to pay a levy on recordable media because other people feel entitled to steal music and software online?

Yeah... didn't think so.

C_Guy said,
Is it really that much better that the innocent have to pay a levy on recordable media because other people feel entitled to steal music and software online?

Yeah... didn't think so.

Yes it is that MUCH better. We don't have to worry about getting disconnected. Granted some ISP's have bandwidth caps but that's an entirely different subject. The cost of the levy is virtually nothing.

Is there going to be a vote on it? Probably not, it would never be passed. This reeks of dictatorship and censoring. The internet is a free international place with very fuzzy borders, you can't place laws on it and expect them to hold. This will fail.

It had to happen, the free information provided on the internet is a danger to formed governments today, they want to know what you see, hear and know, and shape it to a vision of themselves which suits their required purpose.

Sad thing is that no matter how much they try to control the internet, they will never stop the freedom of information and the p2p system which has been the backbone of the online world.

Steal or otherwise break the law.
Face consequences.

Pretty much the basis of justice. Assuming there is an "innocent until proven guilty" clause, there is no way it's not fair.

C_Guy said,
Steal or otherwise break the law.
Face consequences.

Pretty much the basis of justice. Assuming there is an "innocent until proven guilty" clause, there is no way it's not fair.

Big assumption - worse assuming that such a system isn't inherently technically flawed is downright daft. Seeing as the UK is about to embark on such a farcical scheme we'll see very quickly how wrong things can go.

People ought to bear in mind that 'justice' ought not to be blind or disproportionate to the 'civil' offence involved - and also that that self interested parties ought not to be in charge of prosecution in a fair society.

C_Guy said,
Steal or otherwise break the law.
Face consequences.

Pretty much the basis of justice. Assuming there is an "innocent until proven guilty" clause, there is no way it's not fair.

And what about those wrongly accused? Presumed guilty until proven innocent? Nice try.

C_Guy said,
Steal or otherwise break the law.
Face consequences.

Pretty much the basis of justice. Assuming there is an "innocent until proven guilty" clause, there is no way it's not fair.


Thats the whole point though. Until now this proposal has required no judicial oversight before disconnecting you. It should be up to the courts of law to determine guilt, not some arbitrary panel. They should not be allowed to deal out punishment (disconnection) until I am proven guilty in a court of law. End of.

TCLN Ryster said,
Thats the whole point though. Until now this proposal has required no judicial oversight before disconnecting you. It should be up to the courts of law to determine guilt, not some arbitrary panel. They should not be allowed to deal out punishment (disconnection) until I am proven guilty in a court of law. End of.

Agreed. I really don't know what the UK is trying to do over there, but they're really making a mess for themselves... Not only is this going to be complicated, but it's going to be time consuming and costly to police... I really don't expect this to end well...

C_Guy said,
Steal or otherwise break the law.
Face consequences.

Pretty much the basis of justice. Assuming there is an "innocent until proven guilty" clause, there is no way it's not fair.


I'm fine with the way it is.

Catch me, prove it and sentence me.

This system is a lighter punishment, but I'm sure it will also need less evidence.