CDT’s Global Policy Weekly highlights the latest Internet policy developments and proposals from around the world, compiled by CDT’s Global Internet Freedom Project. Subscribe to Global Policy Weekly by clicking the RSS icon on the right.
Russia: Legislators vote to decriminalize defamation
The OSCE issued a statement announcing that OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, applauded amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation that will “decriminalize libel and insult, and specifically punish threats or violence against journalists as a professional group.”
Pakistan: 1,100 terms banned from text messages
The Pakistani Telecommunication Authority has ordered mobile communications operators in the country to block 1,100 different words and expressions on its networks. According to Ars Technica, “mobile phone companies…were handed the list of words with a letter explaining that they have to block those words on their networks within seven days, or face the threat of legal action. Operators also need to submit monthly reports on the implementation of the block.” Read Global Voices coverage here.
UK/COE: As the UK assumes chairmanship of the COE, Foreign Secretary William Hague has said they will seek “to ensure that the Council of Europe’s internet governance strategy is adopted, and that the principles it has adopted to uphold freedom of expression on the internet are implemented, to ensure that all member states live up to their international obligations in this area.”
France: Consent now required for some cookies
As part of their implementation of Directive 2009/136/EC, French lawmakers have ratified new rules regarding the placement of cookies. The rules require that consent be given before cookies are placed, but made exceptions for specific types of cookies for which consent would not be required. Read English summary here.
EU: Viviane Reding Proposes Streamlined Approach on Data Protection
In a recent speech, European Commission VP Viviane Reding promoted a streamlined data protection policy for the EU, under which ISPs would be required to follow only the data protection laws in their base country, rather than the EU’s 27 unique national data protection laws. Reding noted that “[ISPs] need – the same as consumers – to have a “one-stop-shop” when it comes to data protection matters – one law and one single data protection authority for each business; that of the Member State in which they have their main establishment.”
Five of Australia’s largest ISPs, in partnership with the country’s Communications Association trade group, have issued a proposal to institute an “education and warning” notice system with the aim of curbing illegal filesharing by users on their networks. Read Ars Technica coverage here.
EU: ISP Filtering Mandate Would Violate EU Law, Court Rules
On November 24, the European Court of Justice ruled in Scarlet v. SABAM that the E-Commerce Directive, read together with the directives on privacy and on intellectual property, precluded an injunction against an ISP that would have required installation of a system to filter all customer communications in order to block copyright infringement. Read BBC coverage here.
COE: Last week marked the 10th anniversary of the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime. The COE held a conference on implementation of the convention last week.
COE: The Council of Europe and the Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs of Austria hosted a joint conference, “Our Internet – Our rights, Our freedoms” in Vienna on November 26-27. The conference examined a broad range of questions touching on privacy, free expression, cybercrime, child safety, and user empowerment. See Conference webpage.
US/EU: In joint statement issued after a US-EU joint summit held at the White House, Obama administration and EU officials commented on global Internet freedom: “We share a commitment to a single, global Internet, and will resist unilateral efforts to weaken the security, reliability, or independence of its operations— recognizing that respect for fundamental freedoms online, and joint efforts to strengthen security, are mutually reinforcing. We welcome the progress made by the U.S.-EU Working Group on Cybersecurity and Cybercrime, notably the successful Cyber Atlantic 2011 exercise. We endorse its ambitious goals for 2012, including combating online sexual abuse of children; enhancing the security of domain names and Internet Protocol addresses; promotion of international ratification, including by all EU Member States, of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime ideally by year’s end; establishing appropriate information exchange mechanisms to jointly engage with the private sector; and confronting the unfair market access barriers that U.S. and European technology companies face abroad.”