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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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EU Copyright Reform: Europe Needs Flexible Rules that Enable Innovation

We highlight the need for a copyright system that enables innovation in web-based services and new ways for users and consumers to engage with copyrighted content – while enabling content creators to be fairly compensated. This requires a flexible approach to limitations and exceptions to copyright. Flexibility facilitates criticism, teaching and creative re-uses of works, but it does more than that. It is crucial to technological innovation and the success of new Internet services across Europe.

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International Data Protection Day: Reding hits the right notes on EU data protection and surveillance

Yesterday, on Data Protection Day, European Commission Vice President Viviane Reding took the opportunity to deliver a keynote speech in Brussels setting out a set of priorities to govern European data protection policy going forward. I was pleased to represent CDT on the panel following her remarks, alongside Claude Moraes, the Member of Parliament responsible for the Civil Liberties Committee’s electronic surveillance inquiry, and Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor.

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Transparency: the first step towards government surveillance reform – in the US, Europe and beyond

The drama surrounding the Snowden revelations helped shine light on a fundamental challenge for both companies and citizens: governments worldwide are accessing more and more personal data through the private sector. Counter-terrorism and national security is an important part of this picture, but it goes broader than that. Governments access, collect and store data for law enforcement, social security, health care, transportation, and lots of administrative purposes – and they do so on a larger and larger scale. Increasingly, authorities’ access to this data is automated, or systematic, indiscriminate, and often requires no human involvement. The laws that authorize access are opaque or secret, national parliaments conduct limited oversight, and judicial review is often lacking.

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Time for a Trans-Atlantic Partnership on Human Rights and Surveillance

On Tuesday, I, along with my colleague Greg Nojeim, had the opportunity to testify before the European Parliament on behalf of CDT’s President Leslie Harris. CDT was invited to testify in front of the LIBE Committee as part of its inquiry on electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens. We shared information about privacy gaps in U.S. security laws, as well as our call for reform in the U.S. Our focus, however, was on the obligation of the U.S. and EU to work together to find a global solution.

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No Right To Be Forgotten says the EU’s Advocate General

On 25 June, Advocate General Jääskinen issued his Opinion in Case C-131/12 (Google Spain SL and Google Inc. vs Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD) and Mario Costeja González). The Advocate General’s opinion, which precedes the final judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union, analyzes important questions about the balance between freedom of expression and the right to privacy, and about whether search engine providers can be held responsible for personal data on web pages they serve up. CDT supports the Advocate General’s conclusions on both questions. The Advocate General argues that a broad right to eliminate all unwanted personal information would cause unacceptable if unintended damage to freedom of expression, and that search engines cannot be held responsible for personal data contained in search results.

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CDT Calls for Data Privacy Safeguards in The EU Cybersecurity Directive

Another week, another high-profile cyber attack, this time on a popular Lithuanian news website, causing slowdown of that country’s Internet traffic. The challenge of how to deal effectively with cybersecurity threats confronts governments across the globe. This week, NATO defense ministers met in Brussels to review the state of the alliance’s capabilities and readiness to respond to threats to information infrastructures. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has named cyber attacks the top threat facing the Alliance’s members in the 21st century.

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In EU, Pseudonymous Data Needs Incentives and Protection

For nearly 18 months, European politicians and officials have been deep in debate on the proposed Data Protection Regulation. The discussion has been heated and at times controversial, with keen participation by companies, civil society, data protection authorities, and governments – from the European Union and beyond. Currently, Members of the European Parliament face the difficult task of assessing several thousand proposed amendments to the original proposal, and representatives of Member State governments try to work out how differences in rules and practices across the 27 countries can be reconciled.

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CDT Responds to European Commission Consultation on Intellectual Property enforcement

Last week, CDT submitted its response to the European Commission’s consultation on copyright enforcement. The Commission has previously held public consultations, conferences, and ‘stakeholder dialogues’ on this issue, and the present consultation was structured as a ‘technical survey’ to gather specific information on the efficiency of proceedings and accessibility of measures used for civil enforcement of intellectual property rights. Some groups have argued that the Commission’s effort is too focused on streamlining access to legal remedies and stronger enforcement measures, and have encouraged individuals and civil society groups to use the consultation to raise calls for broader copyright reform.

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