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EU Negotiators Agree on Net Neutrality Rules

Today, negotiators from the European Parliament, Member State governments, and the Commission reached a deal on net neutrality in the Telecommunications Single Market (TSM) Regulation. The final result is necessarily and visibly a compromise between very disparate views. The final text is still being tidied up, but based on the information published by the European Commission, we have a few initial observations.

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Can a Quantitative Approach Help Address Government Surveillance?

When legislators and governments introduce new national security measures, they often do so in the immediate aftermath of traumatic events. This means new surveillance tools are adopted hastily. A research programme seeks to develop a comprehensive methodology to assess surveillance technology in light of its effectiveness in enhancing security, balanced against its impact on fundamentals to data protection, privacy and free expression.

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Controversial French Surveillance Regulation Should Re-Ignite EU Debate on Surveillance Reform

France is moving ahead with new legislation to enable expanded electronic surveillance. As expected, the surveillance bill, the Projet de Loi Relatif au Renseignement, was passed by Members of the French National Assembly. A wide range of French civil society groups, lawyers, and technology industry groups have voiced strong opposition to the bill from its inception. Indeed, the bill is so excessive that we believe it could, and should, lead to a renewed debate on surveillance reform across Europe.

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A Mixed Review for Europe's Digital Single Market Strategy

Today, the European Commission published its much-anticipated Digital Single Market (DSM) Strategy. The result is a mixed bag of good and bad ideas. The most controversial and problematic elements of the strategy focus on enhanced obligations that websites and other Internet intermediaries should have for dealing with unlawful third-party content and what regulations should apply to a subset of those intermediaries deemed “internet platforms.”

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Responses to Charlie Hebdo Attack: Governments Should Protect, Not Limit, Free Expression

The horrific terrorist attack at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris has shaken the European continent profoundly. The tragedy lays bare controversial and divisive questions regarding free expression and efforts to prevent terrorism and violence motivated by political and religious extremism. European leaders have been quick to announce heightened security responses. However, caution is needed to ensure that any new security measures are proportionate, that they strengthen and advance the free expression rights of all, and that they avoid creating a chilling effect from surveillance.

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Ministers Should Not Confuse Platform Neutrality with Net Neutrality

Ministers from France and Germany wrote to European Commission Vice President Ansip, who is in charge of Digital Single Market, calling for the Commission to prepare legislation for “essential platforms.” We encourage Ministers in EU Member States to distinguish between net neutrality and platform neutrality, and to maintain their focus on the adoption of a regulation with strong protections for the open Internet.

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Law Enforcement Without Borders

A critical case is now working its way through the US courts—one that raises important questions for users and providers of cloud services in both the US and Europe. As part of a US criminal investigation, a US federal court has ordered Microsoft to hand over a customer’s files that the company holds in its Ireland data centre. CDT believes that in the law enforcement context, the best way to accommodate the interests of both governments is through the process established under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs).

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What will it take to end mass surveillance in the EU?

When the media reports containing startling revelations about the scale and scope of electronic surveillance conducted by the US National Security Agency (NSA) appeared in June 2013, Europe’s response was mixed. It quickly became clear that while European officials and Members of the European Parliament took the revelations and their impact on fundamental rights very seriously, no such response was forthcoming from national governments.

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European Parliament Net Neutrality Proposal Moving Forward

Officials and politicians have wrestled for several years with the question of net neutrality: should Europe lay down in law a basic principle of non-discrimination of traffic on the internet, or would – as European telecoms operators have argued for years – such measures burden Europe’s telecoms industry with new unwelcome regulation? This month, the European Parliament’s Industry Committee is set to vote on an important and controversial piece of legislation which will introduce an EU-wide net neutrality rule for the first time ever. The Committee’s vote precedes final adoption by the Parliament in April. Next, EU Member States will review and amend the proposal, meaning that the legislative process has a long way to go.

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