UK Seeks Restriction of Internet Use Rights Throughout EU

The UK government wants to remove users’ rights to internet access, including applications and services, for people within the EU.

This move comes in the form of amendments to the Telecoms Package being distributed at the EU seat of power in Brussels. The amendment replaces “user’s rights” with the “principle” that users can be told not only the conditions for access, but also the conditions for the use of applications and services.

According to

The proposed amendments cut out completely any users’ rights to do with content – whether accessing or distributing –  which would appear to be in breach of the European Charter of Fundamental rights, Article 10. The Charter states that everyone has the right “to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.” In the digital age, the Internet, and the associated applications and services provided by the World Wide Web, is the means by which people exercise that right.

French internet civil rights group La Quadrature du Net (Squaring the Net) describes the proposed amendments:

This proposal would turn the Internet into a Cable-TV network. First, there is a proposal to introduce conditions of access, alluding to the Conditional Access Directive regulating that very market. It is a subscription-TV-like concept reading through the lines. Second, there is language which overrides the end-to-end principle of the Internet. The idea behind it is that the Internet provider shall be allowed to limit the number of websites users can access, in exchange for a lower fee. Who wants a telcos-controlled sub-Internet in Europe?

The national regulator will have the role of endorsing this new business model rather than protecting user’s fundamental rights to information, culture and public services, as laid out in the UK amended article 8(4)(g):

NRAs [National Regulatory Agencies] shall promote the interests of the citizens of the European Union by for example “applying the principle that end-users should be able there should be transparency of conditions under which services are provided, including information on the conditions of to access to and/or use of and distribute information or run applications and services, and of any traffic management policies of their choice

Stunning. I wish to remind the universe that the internet is a network of networks; no one owns it. The UK government wants to sidestep that point by restricting access to applications and services that are transported on it, but whose access to it is provided by large telcos and ISPs.

If these amendments remain, Europeans could find themselves without unfettered access to news and information. It would be controlled and meted out by large telecoms and media conglomerates.

How ironic. Isn’t this the kind of Big Business criticism they’ve had of the US for years?

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