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Global Policy Weekly – December 9, 2011

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.


Europe: draft Data Protection Regulation leaked
Although it is not expected to be released in final form until January, a draft general privacy regulation, meant to harmonize and update Europe’s data protection framework, has been widely leaked. The regulation is meant to create a new paradigm, whereby a single consumer privacy law governs Europe rather than 30 different laws that all accord with a single, less specific, directive. Here is a quick overview of the leaked draft.

Lithuania: New data breach notification
Hunton & Williams reports that Lithuania has updated its Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data and its Law on Electronic Communications to include a breach notification requirement. In the event of a data breach, certain communications providers are now required to report the breach to the data protection authority. Where the breach will likely adversely effect the privacy of individuals, the entity may ultimately be required to notify those individuals. CDT’s work on data breach legislation in the US can be found here.

Europe: EU regulators are investigating Carrier IQ’s tracking software
Regulators throughout Europe have begun investigating the use of Carrier IQ by mobile phone vendors and operators and the privacy implications of this software. Carrier IQ was recently identified as a tracking software that appears to come pre-installed on many mobile devices.



In Italy, cybercrime police have used DNS blocking to prevent access to websites that offered links to content available through BitTorrent, cyberlockers, and eDonkey.  According to EDRi, at least two innocent websites were blocked by this action.

Germany: Internet blacklist law officially repealed
In 2009, Germany passed a law that would have given the federal police power to compile a blacklist of sites that they alleged contained child abuse images; ISPs would have been required to block the sites on the blacklist. The law created storms of controversy and, though passed, was never implemented. Germany has now officially repealed the law.

Switzerland: Government issues a report finding that existing Swiss laws are sufficient for dealing with unauthorized file sharing
The Swiss Government recently issued a report concluding that unauthorized file sharing is not a cause for great concern. Ars Technica reports that the document “considers and rejects three proposed changes: a French-style ‘three strikes’ law, Internet filtering, and a mandatory collective licensing regime that would impose a fee on all Internet users that allowed unlimited file-sharing.”



China: Beijing offers free wi-fi for registered users
Beijing is expanding the availability of free wi-fi in shopping malls, subway stations, and other highly-trafficked areas. However, users must register with their phone numbers before they can log on to the wi-fi, prompting questions about the privacy of their communications on these networks.



On election day in Russia, websites that exposed violations at polling stations found themselves victims of massive DDoS attacks. To learn more about how DDos attacks can be used to silence activists, see the Berkman Center’s paper on the topic.

US: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes Global Internet Freedom speech
Opening a conference on Internet Freedom at the Hague, Secretary Clinton gave a third speech on the importance of global Internet freedom and the need for companies to act in ways that promote, rather than restrict, that freedom.

Unhappy about online criticism of government officials, Indian government officials have reportedly demanded that large Internet companies, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo, begin pre-screening content before it is made available to Indian Internet users. The government, while reportedly vague about the type of content that would need to be filtered to satisfy government requests, did specify that it wants human reviewers prescreening all content before it is posted. These demands do not appear to accord with India’s Information Technology Act and, given the scale of communications implicated, would be impossible to implement in practice.

Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan: New Report
European and Central Asian non-profit organizations have issued a new report on online censorship and control in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.



ITU: Considering the implications of potential UN regulation of the Internet
As countries look to expand the ITU’s power to regulate the Internet, Ambassador David Gross and Ethan Lucarelli of Wiley Rein LLP lay out some of the possible implications of UN regulation of the Internet.

Europe: European Commission to work with technology firms to protect children online
Twenty-eight technology companies are working with the European Commission to develop age-based online ratings system, improve online parental controls and privacy settings, and facilitate efficient cooperation with law enforcement on matters of child abuse images.