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European Policy, Free Expression, Open Internet, Privacy & Data

EU Tech Policy Brief: October 2018 Recap

This is the October 2018 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.

E-Evidence: Member States Consider Additional Review of EPOs

On 11 October, the Justice and Home Affairs Ministers discussed a fundamental issue with the European Commission’s E-evidence proposals. Many EU Member States, including Germany, Finland, and Sweden, object to the idea that only the the authority issuing an European Production Order (EPO) can assess whether that EPO violates immunities and privileges under the laws of the Member State, meets the necessary and proportionate threshold, or violates the Charter of Fundamental Rights. CDT called out this issue in our analysis. The lack of oversight by the judiciary of the Member State receiving the EPO is also a point of concern raised by the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) in its recent Opinion. The Austrian Presidency has taken note that various Member States suggest “introducing an obligation to provide an opportunity for another Member State to assess the order and object to it, via a notification procedure”. The Presidency still aims for agreement by the end of 2018, but the European Parliament is not set to complete its review before the end of its mandate.

Terrorist Content: LIBE Raises Concerns in First Exchange of Views

The European Parliament appointed MEP Helga Stevens (Belgium/ECR) to lead as rapporteur in the Civil Liberties (LIBE) Committee on the Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online. CDT considers this proposal to have  serious potential impact on free expression and access to information. A serious concern is its explicit derogation from the limited liability and no monitoring principles set out in the 2000 E-Commerce Directive (ECD). During LIBE’s first exchange of views, Commissioner Julian King called on MEPs to adopt their Report as soon as possible to allow negotiations with Council to start this year. While some MEPs generally agreed on the need for this proposal, others expressed doubts on fundamental points, such as the lack of clear definitions and scope. Parliament is likely to take more time to review the proposal than Commissioner King would like it to.

DSM Copyright: Trilogue Negotiations Make Slow Progress on Articles 11 and 13

The European Parliament and Council have now held their second “trilogue” negotiation meeting in view of reaching a final text for a Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (DSM). It appears, however, that they have not discussed yet in any depth the most controversial provisions of the proposal: Article 11 (press publishers’ right) and Article 13 (upload filters). From the outset, we’ve said that these provisions and corresponding recitals should be deleted altogether, as they seriously risk impacting users’ freedom of expression and access to information online. However, to provide constructive feedback and compromise in the negotiations phase, we have proposed a series of amendments and recommendations for Articles 11 and 13 that aim at preserving the open nature of the internet.

CDT’s Nuala O’Connor speaks at ICDPPC 2018

The International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC) took place in Brussels this year under the theme of “Debating Ethics: Dignity and Respect in Data Driven Life”, and CDT was out in full force. Our CEO and President Nuala O’Connor moderated a discussion with several high-profile experts, addressing some of the most pressing questions of how digital technology is changing the way we behave and interact. CDT also hosted a side event to discuss the capabilities and limitations of content moderation tools, focusing on the key issues that policymakers must understand before intervening in this area. At the event, we also discussed what companies can do to make their content moderation practices more fair, transparent, and accountable.