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A reply from my MEP on the EU amendments

I was glad to receive this in my email this afternoon, from Syed Kamall. I appreciate his arguments, but my feeling is still that the amendments would allow for a wider interpretation than he had intended. Any comments from anyone who'd been following this?

Dear Mary

I believe that you may be referring to two sets of amendments by me and by my Conservative colleague Malcolm Harbour. My amendments were simply intended to allow traffic data to be processed to ensure the security of electronic communications networks, services and equipment. It was not my intention with my amendments, for "the security of an electronic communication equipment" to be interpreted as "the security of DRM preventing, detecting, or intercepting IP infringements" as suggested by some. However, I asked for legal clarification on whether a possible unintended consequence of my amendment would be to allow DRM and interception of IP infringements. Since I did not receive a satisfactory answer I asked to withdraw the amendment in order to re-introduce it at plenary with a clarification on the definition of "security". I was unable to withdraw it, so recommended a vote against. In the event, IMCO committee did not vote on my amendment.

Malcolm Harbour is very clear that his amendments are not designed to start a "three strikes and you are out" law. I certainly would not support ISPs being forced to do the work of law enforcement agencies.
Also, I do not believe in collective punishment where because one family member has been judged to download illegal material the whole household loses its connection to essential services such as shopping, banking, communications etc. Malcolm tells me that "as opposed to the text proposed by the Commission, his amendments shift the burden of explaining the law from the ISPs to the appropriate national authorities. It also broadens the concept so that any type of unlawful activities are covered, not only copyright infringement. Such other activities could be for example child pornography. This public interest information would be prepared by the relevant national authority and then simply distributed by the ISP to all their customers. It involves no monitoring of individual customer usage of the internet."

Malcolm Harbour totally rejects the claims that these amendments are intended to reduce consumer choice and undermine individual freedom. In particular, the Directive contains no provisions on Copyright Law enforcement, not does it refer, in any way, to the French Government's proposed enforcement agreement.

Thank you again for taking the time to write to me.



Conservative MEP for London


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
17th Jul, 2008 16:17 (UTC)
and I replied to him thus:

Thank you for your reply. I've always taken the view that the Internet is a medium and that the law should be framed to cover the activities that are deemed inappropriate and not the technological medium used for them. I am very glad to hear that the amendment was not voted on, and I hope that the parliament will continue to take care when reviewing the proposals by industry lobbyists and their attempts to frame discussion and legislation.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


full steam ahead
Mary Branscombe
Simon & Mary

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