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    • CommentAuthorhank
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2009 edited
    Many ISPs in the US forget that their customers are paying them for the bandwidth use and want to be able to double charge for the service.
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2009
    So I've gotten two responses from the MEP's I emailed about this. Here's what Cath Miller of the Greens has to say:

    Dear Nicholas,

    Thank you for your recent email about the EU's Telecom Package. Caroline has
    asked me to respond on her behalf.

    The legislative proposals are designed to protect the rights of the
    consumers with regard to telecommunication services. During the Telecom
    Package's First Reading a number of important provisions won support from
    MEPs, including access to more flexible contracts, better emergency services
    and improved information about prices and tariffs for telephone users.
    However, there was less agreement on the critical issues of data protection
    and 'unlawful' use of the internet.

    Two parliamentary committees have been involved in scrutinising the Telecom
    Package. The report produced during the first reading by the Industry,
    Research and Energy Committee, was supported by Green MEPs. It recommended
    preventing restrictions being imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms
    of internet users without a prior ruling by the judicial authorities. The
    only exception is when public security is threatened and in such instances a
    subsequent ruling is required. This was the basis of plenary amendment 138,
    proposed by a Green MEP amongst others and successfully carried.
    Unfortunately, amendment 133 on internet filtering, also backed by the
    Greens, was not adopted by the Parliament. Amendment 136 was the subject of
    compromise talks and assimilated into the text without a vote.

    The report by MEP Harbour, on behalf of the Internal Market and Consumer
    Protection Committee, heads in totally the opposite direction to the
    Trautmann Report, so was not backed by Greens. Greens support the rights of
    citizens to use the internet without fear of surveillance and Caroline is
    concerned that the Harbour report, supported by the other main political
    groups, allows for internet providers to police users. This increases the
    risk of invasion of privacy and weakens safeguards for data protection.
    As the Telecom Package faces its second reading in the European Parliament,
    culminating in a plenary vote this month, Greens will continue to work hard
    to oppose the inclusion of damaging restrictions on net neutrality. They are
    disappointed that some of the Parliament's key positions have been
    eliminated from the second reading text but will be resubmitting amendments
    that protect net neutrality and seek to ensure that judicial authority with
    reference to European Court of Human Rights is a key part of this
    legislation. Caroline recognises that important questions are posed by the
    proliferation of new media, particularly with regard to copyright. However,
    these must be answered in ways that protect important freedoms and do not
    curtail the emergence of internet based cultural activity or free access to
    the internet. This quote from a press statement, issued by the Green Group
    of MEPs following the adoption of the Harbour Report, explains further:

    Greens don't underestimate the problem of illegal downloads but granting
    police functions to internet providers is not the answer. We reject any move
    towards the French "graduated response" model that would allow providers to
    pull the plug after three infringements. We need an all-inclusive system for
    royalties, so that artists have a future in the digital world. This is the
    only way to foster creative content in the long run and it must be regulated
    outside the telecom package.

    Thank you for taking the time to write to Caroline and please be assured of
    her commitment to protecting the rights of internet users. If you need any
    further information do not hesitate to get back in touch and you can read
    more about Caroline's work at

    And here's UKIP's view:

    Dear Mr Earley

    Thank you for writing to Nigel Farage about the Harbour and Trautman
    reports, which introduce unprecedented and harmful, if not sinister,
    measures for state-control of the internet.
    The UKIP agrees completely with you, about this, and will oppose these
    measures by all means possible. However, I should point out that
    EU-policy is not subject to democratic approval (however the EU-assembly
    may pose as democratic and a meaningful arbiter) or common sense, but is
    dictated by an inexorable will to power.

    Consequently, the only reliable method of avoiding, or voiding, its
    diktats is to abolish the EU. In Britain, this is uniquely the policy
    of UKIP. We shall support your campaign. I hope you will support ours.

    Yours sincerely

    Andrew S. Reed
  1.  (5640.23)
    Heres my two so far :
    The telecoms package is at the final stage of the legislative process
    and the lead MEPs are currently negotiating a final agreement with
    national ministers in the council. The European Parliament has a clear
    position on this issue and MEPs support enhanced users' rights and data
    protection in electronic communication. We also support stronger
    protection of your personal data and more protection against online
    security threats, including identity threats.

    The votes in the ITRE and IMCO committees which you refer to in your
    e-mail were postponed to allow for further time for negotiations. I have
    forwarded your concerns to my Labour colleagues on these committees who
    will be looking at the final agreement closely in the coming weeks.

    and the UKIP, whom I shouldn't have bothered.

    The EU Law is made by unelected bureaucrats. The European "Parliament" is merely an amending chamber. I will certainly vote against this abuse of power but the only way is out of the EU and for Britain to resume governance of itself.
    Vote UKIP on June 4 and write to your Westminster MP and tell him why!

    A really helpful response.

    What neither of these really mention, especially the latter is the votes for ISP packaging, I'm writing back to one, as they don't seem to understand, that by offering ISPs the option of limiting access, they have automatically undermined the right of EU Internet users.
    • CommentAuthorkrugar
    • CommentTimeMay 6th 2009
    short article on La Quadrature about the 2nd readings vote results today. its not a complete win, but its a good result ("bono" amendment is back in, "no net discrimination" amendment is out). law now goes into reconciliation (step 22 in this flow chart)
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeMay 6th 2009
    @Curb - Nigel Farage is bugfuck insane. Keep it plausible, but try sending him an email about masonic conspiracies or aliens and see how he responds. It's quite funny. He's eminently trollable.
    • CommentTimeMay 6th 2009
    @ Curb

    Top notch. Caroline Lucas has always struck me as eminently sensible. I real life lol'ed at the Farage reply.
    • CommentTimeMay 8th 2009 edited
    @Oddcult - That sounds entertaining. I need to begin concocting a plausible masonic conspiracy story RIGHT NOW.

    @Osmosis - I like the cut of Caroline Lucas' gib. I was kinda torn as to whether to vote Green at the next general election, as Brighton has a chance of actually getting them a seat. Her email has helped make up my mind.

    I also recently received a reply from Labour's Peter Skinner:

    Dear Nicholas,

    Thank you for your email. The European Parliament is fighting hard to give consumers stronger rights in the field of electronic communications. That will remain our priority in our work on the proposed Universal Service and UsersĀ“ Rights Directive.

    You may be interested to know about the many other consumer benefits included in the report of the European Parliament, including:

    An obligation on EU Member States to take action to establish the 116 000 missing child hotline service, following amendments which my colleague, Arlene McCarthy MEP, proposed.

    Contracts of a 24 month maximum duration to avoid consumers being locked into long contracts and the requirement for operators to offer 12 month contracts to consumers, particularly for the benefit of younger and more mobile users.

    Caller location information for consumers when using the EU emergency number 112, which will save more lives.

    Users would also be notified on the cost of subsidised handsets, should the contract be terminated early, to avoid hidden costs.

    Number porting would be limited to one day so consumers do not face a lengthy disruption regarding their phone use. However, there are exceptions for cases of slamming and other mis-selling in cases when consumers are switched against their will.

    Disabled users to have equivalent access to communications services.

    The importance of keeping the Internet open for consumers by enabling regulation to intervene if a carrier discriminates against a particular service provider, for example by blocking or slowing traffic, is also included in the report

    A new flexibility for universal service requirements to take into account new technologies, and proposals for the Commission to complete its review on US obligations by January 2010.

    Consumers will be better informed of available tariffs, usage patterns and have the right to cost control notifications when monthly bills exceed their set threshold

    Data breach notification requirement when consumersĀ“ data is lost via an electronic communications service provider.

    As regards the specific issue you raise, the measures we have negotiated will include increased transparency to enable consumers to make informed decisions about which services they would like to use. This means that in circumstances when Internet Service operators do decide to restrict access to certain services, such as the current practice of some mobile phones that block Skype, the consumer will be able to decide not to use that service provider and opt for another which does provide Skype.

    Where operators monitor or shape traffic to sustain service delivery at times of peak demand, consumers should be advised of the approach taken and the impact on service quality. Neither of these provisions condones anti competitive or discriminatory behaviour against certain types of traffic. In these cases, regulators already have the power to intervene under the general provisions of the rules authorising communications providers.

    Thank you for your interest in this subject.
    Yours sincerely,
    Peter Skinner MEP
    Labour Representative for the South East of England

    Which managed to be vaugely informative whilst mostly avoiding my actual concerns. The response from the Conservative guy is similar enough for me to not bother with it here.

    EDIT: Well, this is timely.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeMay 8th 2009
    In one copy writing job I had, which was just writing infomation about green spaces to visit in the south of england, or something fairly uninteresting like that, for a local council magazine, I used hectares as a unit of meaurement instead of acres, so Nigel Farage phoned me up to bitch about it, so he went on my 'to mess with' list. He's actually not too far off David Icke in the weird paranoia stakes, and it's only a matter of time before he claims that the EU is an illuminati conspiracy.