Academics warn of EU 'three strikes' back door plan

The content industry has lobbied to force internet service providers (ISPs) to disconnect users they suspect of engaging in copyright-infringing file-sharing after two warnings.

Digital rights activists have questioned the accuracy of the evidence gathered by industry against individuals and have said that the effects on a whole household of one user's actions are disproportionate.

Sheffield University professor of internet law Lilian Edwards and student Simon Bradshaw have analysed the documents that make up EU proposals for telecoms reform and have discovered that proposed new EU laws could pave the way for 'three strikes' schemes against the wishes of the European Parliament.

"This is a crucial set of obligations, about to be imposed on all of Europe’s ISPs and telcos, which should be debated in the open, not passed under cover of stealth in the context of a vast and incomprehensible package of telecoms regulation," they said in a report. "It seems, on careful legal examination by independent experts, more than possible that such a deliberate stealth exercise is indeed going on."

"When passed, these obligations will provide Europe-level authority for France’s current '3 strikes' legislation, even though this has already been denounced as against fundamental rights by the European Parliament, when it was made clear to them what they were voting for or against," they said.

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