After a long and hard fought battle, consumer rights advocates and activists in Europe have reason to celebrate today. The back door for a graduated response toward the French proposal of a Three Strikes law has officially been effectively voted down for a third and final time. The only thing left is technical details that could pave the way to other things that could be perceived as a threat to European citizens, but the major debate surrounding three strikes is over and advocates for such a proposal have officially lost.
Late last week, we reported that in a near last minute last ditch effort, the graduated response backdoor for a European-wide three strikes law was re-introduced in the European parliament. Since then, consumer rights organizations like the Open Rights group have been working very hard to round up European support for amendments that would recognize internet access as a right – an amendment that would shoot down any last remaining hope that a Three Strikes law could prevail through the European Parliament.
Now, Squaring the Net reports that the critical amendments to the telecoms package were adopted. Essentially speaking, the three strikes law in the EU parliament is officially dead.
“A formidable campaign from the citizens put the issues of freedoms on the Internet at the centre of the debates of the Telecoms Package. This is a victory by itself. It started with the declaration of commissioner Viviane Reding considering access to Internet as a fundamental right. The massive re-adoption of amendment 138/46 rather than the softer compromise negotiated by rapporteur Trautmann with the Council is an even stronger statement. These two elements alone confirm that the French ‘three strikes’ scheme, HADOPI, is dead already.” explains Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net.
While the victory is major one for consumer rights and the internet, the victory isn’t completely absolute. Individual countries in the European union can still adopt a three strikes law. Squaring the Net also noted another issue.
“The strong statement for the access to the Internet as a fundamental right demonstrates that the Parliament can be courageous and reject the pressure to compromise when essential values are at stake. Unfortunately, on issues that appear more technical such as the absence of discrimination of services and contents on the Internet, the Parliament did not take the full measure of what it is at stake yet. Citizens must remain mobilized on these crucial questions.”, concludes Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, analyst for La Quadrature.
So while the three strikes law is dead in the European Parliament, something like traffic shaping or throttling is easily alive and well. There’s plenty to watch out for in the future, but for now, many can enjoy their fresh victory.