Monday, 23 November 2009

EU Parliment's credibility undermined by 3-strikes U-Turn: follow up

You may recall that last month I blogged about the EU's credibility being undermined by the 180 degree reversal that was made regarding the Telecoms Package, incorporating Amendment 138. I wrote to my three MEPs (Martin Callanan, Stephen Hughes and Fiona Hall) expressing my concerns. Only one of those MEPs took the time to acknowledge my email, the Lib Dem MEP, Fiona Hall. Her response from the 16th of November is outlined below:
Dear Mr Jewitt

Thank you for your email regarding the EU Telecoms package.

The European Parliament and the European Council reached a deal on this text last week after the Council agreed to MEPs' demands that internet users suspected of uploading or downloading illegal material should face a "prior, fair and impartial procedure" rather than an arbitrary ban on their internet use and being simply cut off.

For many people, the internet is not just an optional add-on: it is a vital lifeline. Citizens rely on the web to do business, buy goods and maintain social contacts and some of our most vulnerable people need it most. I believe that the European Parliament has acted to make sure that those who are accused of breaching the law are treated in a fair and impartial manner.

The British government is planning its own telecoms bill later this month and I am concerned that it is expected to feature a three-strikes-and-you're-banned policy. The British Government must respect the decision on this made at a European level and ensure that its own telecoms bill reflects people's rights to internet access.

Thank you once again for your email.

Yours sincerely
Fiona Hall MEP
As you can see, the Lib Dems share many of the concerns that I've covered on this blog in recent months - notably the imminent Digital Economy bill in which the unelected Secretary of State Lord Mandelson is planning on giving himself 'secondary legislation' powers to write into law anything he sees fit to help protect copyright owners, even if that means disconnecting Internet users without due legal recourse. Nicholas Lansman of the Internet Service Provider's Association has been highly critical of the government's recent behaviour, especially the burden it is placing on ISPs:
“ISPA is extremely disappointed by aspects of the proposals to address illicit filesharing. This legislation is being fast-tracked by the Government and will do little to address the underlying problem.”
Too much power is being accrued by Mandelson. Visit The Register's site for more details.

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