Shortly after the EU gave a green light to upload filters, two laws were proposed in Austria - each with the alleged goal of tackling online hate speech - that rang the alarm bells.
Despite weeks of intense protests from civil society, MEPs have voted in favour of upload filters and Article 13. The fundamental rights NGO epicenter.works announces that it will take this law to the highest court and will continue to use all means to stop this excessive censorship infrastructure.
With just two weeks to go until the final vote on upload filters in the European Parliament, one hundred MEPs have pledged to vote against Article 13 of the proposed Copyright Directive. Many citizens feel like their legitimate fears about the future of the internet are not taken seriously, as lawmakers insult them as being "bots" or simply "a mob". Public protests demanding the removal of Article 13 have been announced in 23 European cities.
It has been two-and-a-half years since net neutrality laws were enacted in the European Union — are they working?
Comprehensive new research by the Vienna-based nonprofit epicenter.works answers this question, examining if telecom companies are breaking net neutrality rules, how regulators are reacting, and how this affects internet users across the continent. The report is titled The Net Neutrality Situation in the EU: Evaluation of the First Two Years of Enforcement.
The principle of net neutrality has been protected in the European Union since 2016. Half a billion people benefit from the protection against network discrimination by telecom companies. Net neutrality is a founding principle of the internet and one of the most essential digital rights. It ensures the protection of the right to freedom of speech, the right to assembly, the right to conduct business, and the freedom to innovate on the internet. These protections came about in no small part due to the work of civil society.
By Bits of Freedom
13 civil society organisations have submitted a complaint to the Portuguese regulator on one of the most extreme net neutrality violations in Europe, urging them to use their authority to prohibit so-called zero-rating offers.
All across Europe, nearly everyone seems to agree that the European copyright regulations need to be updated and brought into the 21st century. However, some of the proposed measures appear to be flashbacks to darker times in our past or to the methods of authoritarian dictatorships. This is especially true for the upload filters in Article 13 of the European Commission's proposal. Obliging platforms to screen every bit of content that is uploaded for possible copyright violations requires a censorship system that would endanger the free and open internet and, with it, our democracy itself. The human rights NGO epicenter.works illustrated what this would mean in an activist intervention as part of the PrivacyWeek 2017: The Internet party takes place without any of its users, since upload filters deny us the free and open access to internet services. On 21 November 2017, the European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) will consider the European copyright reform. epicenter.works calls upon all members of the committee to take a strong stance against upload filters and not to endanger our democracy by introducing a censorship system.