ACTA, CETA, TAFTA: Is De Gucht Again Trying to Impose Anti-democratic Repression?
Commissioner De Gucht showed in the past he was ready to push for the repressive measures demanded by the entertainment industry. He did not hesitate to lie to the EU Parliament, to assert that he would ignore a MEPs' negative vote on ACTA1, and to insert the repressive measures in another trade agreement that he is negotiating. As Karel De Gucht starts to discuss of a new trade agreement between the US and the EU, TAFTA (the Transatlantic Free Trade Area), it is likely that the latter will contain new dangerous measures threatening our freedoms, inspired by ACTA and CETA.
“The inclusion in trade agreements of provisions that undermine fundamental freedoms and a free Internet is not acceptable and will never be legitimate. Copyright-related measures, including criminal sanctions, that threaten Internet and our freedoms must be debated in a democratic and transparent way, rather than negotiated in total opacity, whether in CETA, TAFTA, or in any other 'trade agreement'. Citizens must oppose this anti-democractic trend by alerting public opinion and their elected representatives” declared Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.
- 1. “If you decide for a negative vote before the European Court rules, let me tell you that the Commission will nonetheless continue to pursue the current procedure before the Court, as we are entitled to do. A negative vote will not stop the proceedings before the Court of Justice.” Karel De Gucht, INTA Committee - Brussels 20 June 2012
All-out Lobbying in the EP to Sell Our Privacy: Act Now!
Paris, 13 February 2013 — After the US corporations' victory in the European Parliament's “Consumer” committee (IMCO) in late January, more committees will cast their opinion votes on the data protection regulation next week1. As lobbying pressure from industrial actors intensifies, La Quadrature du Net publishes the “compromise amendments” currently negotiated in the “Industry” (ITRE) Committee to illustrate how the protection of our privacy is under attack. Citizens must react by urging Members of the Parliament to impose tough safeguards against the commercialization of our private lives and behaviour online.
Scheduled, respectively, for the 20th and the 21st February, the “Industry” (ITRE) and the “Employment” (EMPL) committees' opinion votes are rapidly approaching. As did the “Consumer” committee (IMCO), who voted to weaken safeguards for citizens' privacy, both of those committees have to vote on their opinion on the draft report of the “Civil Liberties” (LIBE) committee2. Opinion votes can have a major impact on the LIBE's report, and in the end, on the final vote.
The lobbying by US companies, joined in the case of banks and insurance companies by their European counterparts, is extremely strong and relentless.The LobbyPlag.eu website clearly shows that changes proposed by lobbyists have gone verbatim into amendments tabled by MEPs. To illustrate how protection of our privacy is currently under attack, La Quadrature du Net publishes the "compromise amendments"3,
CA 41Aims at replacing the right to withdrawal of consent to collection, processing or storage by a contractual obligation, controlled by companies.
Article 7 – paragraph 3
3.The data subject shall have the right to withdraw his or her consent any time. If the consent is part of a contractual or statutory relationship the withdrawal shall depend on the contractual or legal conditions. The withdrawal of consent shall not affect the lawfulness of processing based on consent before its withdrawal. It is acknowledged that the withdrawal of consent can lead to the termination of the service and of the relationship with the controller.
CA 62Replaces the obligation of notification of a breach of personal data by obligation of notification of certain types of data.
Article 31 – paragraph 1
1. In the case of a personal data breach relating to special categories of personal date, personal data which are subject to professional secrecy, personal data relating to criminal offences or to the suspicion of a criminal act or personal data relating to bank or credit card accounts, which seriously threaten the rights or legitimate interests of the data subject, the controller shall without undue delay notify the personal data breach to the supervisory authority.
These amendments are currently being negotiated, and as such, are still subject to change. In order to allow all citizens to take action against these dangerous proposals, La Quadrature du Net encourages citizens to use its Piphone, a campaigning tool allowing to call targeted MEPs, free of charge. From next Monday4 until the votes, EU citizens can call their MEPs and demand the protection of their rights and freedoms, by the adoption of strong safeguards for their privacy. Here are the key messages to use while calling MEPs:
- Defend the principle of explicit, informed and for specific purpose(s) consent, no more, no less
- Delete any mention of “legitimate interests” (for corporations to bypass privacy safeguards)
- Protect all personal data, even if pseudonymous or encrypted, refuse that absurd concept of “pseudonymous” data be used as derogation to safeguards
- Oblige both “controllers” and “processors“ of personal data to protect it
- Ensure that every breach of personal data be notified to the relevant bodies, and severely sanctioned if harmful and done on purpose
- 1. The Industry (ITRE) committee will vote on its opinion on the 20th February, and the Employment (EMPL) committee will vote on its one the 21st February.
- 2. The LIBE committee, with the rapporteur Jan Philipp Albrecht (Germany - Greens/EFA), is the main committee working on the revision of the European regulation concerning the protection of personal data (95/46/EC): its final report, which must into account the opinions expressed by the IMCO, ITRE, EMPL and JURI committees, will call the whole European Parliament to vote in favour or against the new Regulation during the final vote in plenary session.
- 3. Compromise amendments are amendments negotiated before a vote between political groups to replace regular amendments. If they reach an agreement, MEPs vote only on the compromise amendments and avoid a long review of all amendments tabled on a text.
- 4. MEPs are currently in break.
EU Parliament: Will Liberals (ALDE) Weaken Privacy in Industry Committee?
The “Industry” (ITRE) committee will vote its opinion on the draft report of the “Civil Liberties” (LIBE) committee1 today 20 February at 4pm. As shown in the latest version of the “compromise amendments” published by La Quadrature du Net, the dangerous amendments supported by EPP (conservatives) and ECR (eurosceptic conservatives) cannot be adopted without the votes of the 6 ALDE Members2:
- Jürgen CREUTZMANN (Germany),
- Brian CROWLEY (Ireland),
- Fiona HALL (United Kingdom),
- Kent JOHANSSON (Sweden),
- Jens ROHDE (Vice-Chair - Denmark),
- Adina-Ioana VĂLEAN (Shadow Rapporteur - Romania).
Up until 4pm, citizens must act and urge their ITRE MEPs to protect their fundamental right to privacy. They can do so easily by calling them for free with the Piphone, by using microblogging, or any other means.
“Liberal Members of the ITRE committee have a great responsibility in their hands. Will they contribute to a full-on plundering of our privacy, allowing US Internet giants, banks and insurance companies to collect, process, and sell our personal data? Or will they stand by fundamental freedoms and the founding principles of the European Union by mandating strong privacy safeguards? Citizens must act and remain watchful.” concluded Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.
On 21 February at 9.30am, the “Employment” (EMPL) committee will also vote on its opinion on the draft report of the LIBE committee, and its MEPs should be contacted too.
- 1. The LIBE committee, with the rapporteur Jan Philipp Albrecht (Germany - Greens/EFA), is the main committee working on the revision of the European regulation concerning the protection of personal data (95/46/EC): its final report, which must take into account the opinions expressed by the IMCO, ITRE, EMPL and JURI committees, will call the whole European Parliament to vote in favour or against the new Regulation during the final vote in plenary session.
- 2. List and rough analysis of amendments where ALDE votes are key: https://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/ALDE_swing_votes_compromise_amendments...
See also the voting list
Citizens' Privacy Jeopardized in EU Parliament Committees Again
The revision of the European regulation concerning the protection of personal data, initiated by the European Commission in 2012, is ongoing. After the “Consumers” (IMCO) Committee opinion vote in January, the “Industry” (ITRE) and “Employment” (EMPL) committees have just voted their opinion on the draft report of the “Civil Liberties” (LIBE) committee. All three of them, have voted to water down the safeguards protecting our privacy, as corporate lobbies had hoped, although most of the EMPL committee opinion focused on measures concerning work. As shown on La Quadrature's wiki and by testimonies from MEPs, the lobbying pressure in the European Parliament from industrial actors has reached a state of unique intensity. As the lobbyplag.eu website clearly shows, changes proposed by industry lobbyists are sometimes copy-pasted verbatim into amendments tabled by MEPs. These victories of corporations that collect, process and trade data on citizens are alarming and anyone concerned about their rights and freedoms should learn more and act.
In ITRE committee, votes by the Members of the liberal ALDE group3 helped amendments tabled by EPP and ECR conservatives to be adopted. Once more, these MEPs choose to support neutralising rules protecting citizens and adding vague and dangerous notions such as “pseudonimized data”4 as well as measures allowing for more profiling of citizens and less constraints on careless companies5.
The next step is the “Legal Affairs” (JURI) committee's opinion vote, led by ACTA's main proponent Marielle Gallo (France - EPP) and scheduled for the 18-19 March 2013. Following that, the main committee working on the Data Protection Regulation, the “Civil Liberties (LIBE) Committee, led by Jan Philipp Albrecht (Germany - Greens/EFA), will vote on its report the 24-25th April 2013, taking into account the opinions expressed by the IMCO, ITRE, EMPL and JURI committees. The final LIBE committee report will call the whole European Parliament to vote during the first reading vote in plenary session, expected for the end of 2013. The further ahead this procedure moves, the less occasions citizens will have to reverse the current trend. They should therefore increase efforts to ensure that MEPs will finally vote to protect their rights.
- 1. Scheduled for the 18-19th March 2013
- 2. Scheduled for the 24-25th April 2013
- 3. Jürgen CREUTZMANN (Germany), Brian CROWLEY (Ireland),Fiona HALL (United Kingdom), Kent JOHANSSON (Sweden),Jens ROHDE (Vice-Chair - Denmark), Adina-Ioana VĂLEAN (Shadow Rapporteur - Romania).
- 4. This meaningless notion is used as an exception to privacy safeguards.