The last week of September 2008 the European Parliament voted a new Telecommunications package including measures that represent a serious threat against the open architecture of the net, and the privacy and the fundamental rights of the European citizens. These measures are known as “The Torpedo Amendments”.

 

The Torpedo Amendments are mainly the “intellectual creation” of the British Conservative MEPs Malcom Harbour and Syed Kamall, who are trying to impose, not only to their own citizens, but the rest of the member States, the “three strikes approach” draft bill of the current president of France Nicolás Sarkosy, a former collaborator with the CIA and also linked to the Mossar (see Thierry Meissan in Red Voltiare, http://www.voltairenet.org).

 

The Torpedo Amendments can be summarized as follows:

  • Amendment H1: this amendment empowers national regulators to establish standards which restrict the run of “lawful applications”, “lawful services” and the access to distribution of “lawful content”. The concept of “lawful content” is new in the European law and may affect the distribution of free software.

This amendment also introduces the concept of “trusted computing” when, in reality, it is meaning the “technologies [that ] are designed to take off the right of users to control their computer (and by the way their personal data)” (see La Quadrature du Net, “Telecom Package warning document”).

  • Amendment K1: it empowers the Commission to authorize technical measures to detect, prevent or stop infringements of intellectual property. For this to occur, it would be necessary to monitor and filter users’ electronic data by means of “intrusive technologies”. In that scenario, ISPs would take the place of police and judge. The only restriction that the amendment imposes to these technical measures is that they don’t harm the competitiveness inside the internal market.

 

  • Amendment K2: This amendment authorizes the automatic processing of the traffic data without the consent of users. That means that, with the implementation of intrusive hardware and software, such as the so called “Digital Restriction Management System”, corporations will be able to remotely control their clients’ communications without their consent.

  • Amendment H2: it follows the model of the French bill draft, and allows national regulators to impose ISPs, vendors and retailers to work with copyright holders in monitoring “non-trusted” users and promoting surveillance technologies.

 

  • Amendment H3: Following the French approach, it empowers ISPs to blackmail their clients when ”unlawful content” have been detected in their data communications. On top of that, the additional costs incurred by undertaking in complying these obligations would be reimbursed by the member States.

 

 



Since its official announcement in July 2008, the Torpedo Amendments have generated a massive protest campaign among civil right watch and internauts´ associations. Two prestigious NGOs, the Spanish “Informática Verde” and the French “La Quadrature du Net” are leading the protest.

 

Thanks to this citizens’ response, amendments K1 and K2 –the so called “spyware amendments” – have been definitively rejected by the European Parliament last week. But the amendments H1, H2 and H3 still remains alive, opening the door to a complete ban of the P2P, and to the violation of the privacy in users’ electronic communications. These communications would be monitored and users would be told which contents are allowed and which ones not.

 

It is time for European internauts to get involved in the campaign and write their MEP about the dangers of the remaining amendments.

 

If you join the campaign, download the letter to MEPs from:

http://www.informaticaverde.org/wiki/index.php?title=Sample_letter_against_Torpedo_Amendments

and raise awareness about this issue wherever you are.

Because the European Democracy is still at risk.