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EU Tech Policy Brief: May 2018 Recap

This is the May recap issue of CDT’s monthly EU Tech Policy Brief. It highlights some of the most pressing technology and internet policy issues under debate in Europe, the U.S., and internationally, and gives CDT’s perspective on them.

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EU Parliament Must Step Up After Council Adopts Ill-Advised Copyright Position

On May 25th, the Council’s permanent representatives committee agreed on a common position on the European Commission’s draft Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. To our disappointment, Member State governments did not deviate substantially from the Commission’s ill-advised position, and the approved text will serve as a mandate for the Council to start negotiations with the European Parliament. Here’s why the Parliament needs to step up and oppose Council’s position.

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EC Initiative on Disinformation Must Not Curb Free Expression

The European Commission has, as expected, published a Communication on “Tackling Online Disinformation: A European Approach”. The Communication comes on the back of a public consultation and a report from a “High-Level Group on Fake News”. But we worry that the speed with which the Commission wants to proceed, and the lack of clarity regarding the scope of the problem it wants to address, will push online service providers, aided by technology tools and fact checkers, to curtail free expression, political debate and access to information.

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5

The EC Wants Europe to Lead on AI – But Its Restrictive Copyright Draft Rules for TDM Will Not Help

On 25 April 2018, the European Commission published its Communication on “Artificial Intelligence for Europe”. The Communication lays out a broad set of policies and initiatives for the European Union to undertake the deployment and development of artificial intelligence (AI) in Europe. The Commission’s focus on ensuring that the benefits of AI can be enjoyed by all of society is appropriate. CDT’s thinking in this area has focused on tools that can help technology developers build safeguards against unintended bias and other ethical pitfalls as they design automated decision-making processes. We look forward to engaging with the proposed AI Alliance on these and other issues.

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6

Ten Human Rights Criteria for Cross Border Demands

The European Commission is slated to announce an initiative to facilitate cross-border demands for internet users’ communications content. CDT has prepared a list of human rights protections that should be built into any mechanism designed to facilitate cross-border law enforcement demands, and after the E-Evidence proposal is unveiled, we intend to grade it against this list.

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Copyright Reform: European Creators, Artists and Users Reject Upload Filtering

By now, the background to the DSM Copyright Directive is well-known. The global recording industry convinced European Commissioners about the existence of the “value gap”. The story goes that advertising-funded internet platforms that enable users to upload copyrighted content should pay record labels a larger share of their revenues. At the core, this is a commercial dispute between Youtube and a few more global content sharing platforms on one side, and on the other a handful of global record labels. However, in Article 13, the Commission proposed licensing requirements and upload filtering to give record labels more leverage in negotiations. These negotiations are by their nature confidential business discussions, and neither side discloses numbers.

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9

EC Recommendation on Tackling Illegal Content Online Doubles Down on Push for Privatized Law Enforcement

The European Commission published its “Recommendation on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online”, which puts forward a number of non-binding guidelines and principles for online platforms and hosts of user-generated content. These recommendations go beyond the ill-defined approach the Commission took in its “Communication on Tackling Illegal Content Online”. While we recognize the Commission’s interest in seeking effective enforcement of national law, we continue to have significant concerns about the Commission’s overall approach and a number of its specific recommendations.

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