"3. Competent authorities shall have at least the following enforcement powers:
(e) where no other effective means are available to bring about the cessation or the prohibition of the infringement including by requesting a third party or other public authority to implement such measures, in order to prevent the risk of serious harm to the collective interests of consumers:
- to remove content or restrict access to an online interface or to order the explicit display of a warning to consumers when accessing the online interface;
- to order a hosting service provider to remove, disable or restrict the access to an online interface; or
- where appropriate, order domain registries or registrars to delete a fully qualified domain name and allow the competent authority concerned to
Seems similar to already existing measures against infringement of copyrights, except that thing about circumventing the courts, as Reda writes. Could this possibly mean websites such as Facebook could be blocked on the grounds of protecting consumers? The document defines 'widespread infringement' as
"(1) any act or omission contrary to Union laws that protect consumers' interests that harmed, harms, or is likely to harm the collective interests of consumers"
What a weaselly term. Bet they spent months trying to come up with something that didn't sound ridiculously biased/anti-consumer and that's the best they came up with. So obviously corrupt.
The EU isn't perfect... But this sounds a lot like an attempt to give consumer protection agencies the powers to block scam sites.
From what I could see Julia Reda (MEP - German Pirate) wasn't unhappy about the intents of this legislation. Merely concerned about:
A) Website blocking without judicial oversight
B) Existence of website blocking infrastructure
C) Inability to force compensations
D) No restitution of illicit profits
I suspect (B) is already a reality, but yeah, I'm no fan.
I agree that (A) is concerning, but wording suggests this can ONLY be applied when "no other effective means" are available. As I understand it that implies it can only be used when the owner can be found, sued or prosecuted by other means.
I read that as this applies to faceless scam sites without an address or anyone willing to take responsibility.
As for (C) and (D) I would love to see more of that. But the idea in her blog post that illicit profits (B) could be used for found consumer protection agencies is not something I agree with.
I personally find filtering of any sort to be fundamentally wrong. A website is nothing but information, and find censoring/filtering to be wrong on counts of violating free speech and free access to information. I believe that illegal content should be handled by going after those that operate the site, rather than touching the distribution channel.
To me, I think I would imagine a website doing something illegal to be more akin to a newspaper ad that sells something illegal. It's not illegal for me to bring a newspaper home from a country with ads about services that are legal where the newspaper is from, but illegal in my home-country. So, why should bringing the ad over digitally be any different?
The illegal may only occur once the service is ordered/used, and only so if it is illegal to be the recipient/import (sometimes things are illegal to sell, but legal to buy).
Feel free to wear sunglasses, welding helmets, use ad blockers ("content filter"), attach ND filters to your camera lenses, water filters to your water filtration systems, HEPA filters to air filtration systems, etc.
And, changing your DNS server is easy to us, not easy to "common folks" who have no clue what DNS is.
It sounds more like an attempt to give somebody powers to block potentially copyright infringing sites, under the pretense of consumer protection, through the roundabout justification that consumers "collectively" benefit from strict enforcement of copyright.
I ask because the EU already has the ability to block sites infringe on copyrights.
To me this law is one of the reactions taken to the fact that foreign powers are using completely faked news papers and social media pages to influence out elections.
Right now consumers have very little ammunition against companies like Facebook. In the EU we have the right to everything they’ve gathered on us and to demand they delete it, but if they went full retard we couldn’t legally block them.
Now we can.
The ability to block content country-wide won't help reduce misinformation, which will always have ways to spread. What are we going to do, make it illegal to be uneducated, have unpopular opinions or be a bad person? Instead, this new power can easily be abused to stop the spread of real information, and unpopular (for example, government-opposing or religious) opinions.
The original ability to delete information is absurd in a similar way, but more limited, as only the subject can request it. Yet it still bypasses a proper trial, leaving it up to you and the service provider to conclude if the information was useful to the "general public". That's definitely going to result in deletion of valuable information.
If you want to give people a way to defend themselves against harmful information, give them the right to amend it instead. Deleting it is wrong. If you want to avoid fake news like you state, educate. Controlling people by removing information is wrong.
The law explicitly states itself to be a last measure when a court of law is not an option (ie, overseas or anonymous parties)
It is a last resort by consumer protection agencies when they can't use a court or the other party is unwilling to cooperate with their jurisdiction. That is not equivalent to "bypass proper law and order". It's enforcing it. That is the job of the CPA's.
>disgusting violation of free speech.
Yes but in some parts of Europe there is no Free Speech. Germany for example has Free Opinions, which is a narrower field of speech.
People aren't vaccinating their children, bringing back deadly disease that were almost wiped out in western society.
A rising number of people believe the earth is flat.
Two of the mos popular pro-Brexit sources on social media turned out to be fake accounts run by Russia.
America elected Trump.
I mean, those things aren't great but at least they won't wipe us from existence. Unlike climate change, which an increasing number of people think is an act of God...
I don't like totalitarian approaches, but your approach to "freedom" is not only rapidly ending democracy and the free society, it's quite literally going to kill us all.
Then why not phrase it explicitly? For example:
For protection of citizens against online interfaces which either:
1. Consistently promote determinably false information with the intent to deceive on a mass scale;
2. Attempt to profit through deception by false advertisement of goods or services.
Instead they create some vague, weasly language that can be used to basically block any service for any reason, so long as a group of EU citizens looked at it.
Internet has always been full of shit. It's up to us to educate and teach people who are weak to this kind of behaviour.
Black List websites = Censorship.
Internet is not a product, it's our freedom.
To all people who try to "regulate" this, piss off.
This is especially a problem since it's very hard to limit access for the underage population who's a lot more prone to being influenced by extremist ideologies.
But of course the counterpoint is that this would create an infrastructure which could be abused to manipulate the population. I think there's a compromise to be found here but I don't know where to start.
You may see that as an infringement on your free speech, but your approach to "freedom" is rapidly ending democracy in the free world. Keep in mind that the totalitarian voices you're using free speech to defend, won't show you the same curtesy, once they take over.
"business which we want to cultivate a protected local equivalent of"
China figured it out; the EU is just playing catch-up.
In 10/20 years time if the US falls off its number 1 perch, this will law will be quietly dismantled and it'll be open season on our collective cultural heritage instead of pandering to the US's crazy protectionist copyright laws. It'll probably result in a golden age of culture in the EU instead of being ruthlessly oppressed by the US.
The irony being a lot of US "copyright" is based on EU folk tales and music they took with them and copied.
But if you consider, youtube is exactly the same kind of site, having the copyrighted content uploaded by some web users there since Youtube exists and -- nobody blocks Youtube. And Youtube even still profits from that content as it serves its own ads on it.
And do the biggest pay the taxes?
"Google will pay €306m (£259m) to settle a tax dispute in Italy and end a criminal investigation into whether it avoided paying the full amount on its revenues in the country for more than a decade."
Italy is just one of the EU lands.
The sites blocked are typically things that nobody will take responsibility for.
Note: this law also says, "where no other effective means are available". Prosecution in court or civil law suites are certainly "effective means". But for some websites they are not available.
It's actually worse than 'blocking', they get control of the domain.
Do such a beast even exist?
Proposals come up.. most fail. I admire those responsible for putting up resistance. But.. some succeed. Others partially succeed. Limited to stopping pedophilia, piracy, nazis... Those are bridgeheads.
The direction is monodirectional. Eighty six proposals can fail, but if the eighty seventh succeeds that's just as good. There is no going back. Win, good. Lose, try again. That kind of dynamic guarantees a certain result.
The obvious tautology aside, I wouldn't agree with this in case of the EU (the US, probably.) To me, the EU feels more like two steps forward, one step back - this being the step back but, for example, the GDPR being the two steps (or leaps) forward.
In any case, this regulation seems more misguided rather than malicious. It's targeting real problems that have to be tackled but it does have the fault of granting overly broad powers to the respective institutions.
Misguided, malicious, bootlegger, baptist, real problems, fake ones... I don't think it matters much.
Norms are being established for regulating the web. The "proper channels" for seizing domains, ip blocking, de-indexing etc. There will be a number to call, forms to get stamped, enforcement.. These are growing around the world, at multiple levels of government. The EU is not an exception. Restrictions and censorship is growing at the EU and member state level.
I guess we disagree about the premise: when such channels exist (they basically do now) then they'll be used directly and indirectly in the same way their equivalents are used to regulate every other medium.
These thing are usually icebergs, mostly below the surface. China doesn't have to tell sites what to do most of the time, they "self regulate."
I know the days when only nerds like you knew about it and society at large neither knew nor needed it seem romantic now. But today the net matters to a lot of people, and they bring with them their trusted tools for defending their interests.
Go visit irc if you want those heady days where only things you didn't like where censored.
> does have the fault of granting overly broad powers to the respective institutions.
You praise the GPDR in the same comment you lament overly broad powers. Surely the contradiction is clear? Maybe in your case, the fault is not the power but rather that you disagree with the specific uses? I wonder if politicians can differentiate between forms of internet restrictions as easily as we can.
Intent isn't relevant at all - only result.
I don’t know much about narrowing powers, judicial reviews or any of that. I’m not all that concerned with the EU’s specific legal setup (even though I live here). I guess judicial review is better than none, but I think it’s probably rather meaningless long term. What judicial review means and how restrictive that is is completely unpredictable, across all the times and places this kind of norm will have influence.
I’m more worried about the norms. How those norms are evolving, in a wider context. In particular, how comfortable member states will feel taking actions (for example) like the Spanish government is currently taking. How easy will it be for non-eu governments (EG Turkey, Israel, Egypt..) to justify their own actions because “it’s an international norm.” How easy it will be to get Google, FB, AWS, ISPs, etc. to do any country's dirty work, because they will all have a “compliance” department responsible for this. The self regulation that will come from a need to avoid such hassles.
Framing this the way lawyers like to frame it, as if it were an isolated rule applying narrowly and in isolation means I already lose. My eggs come with spam.
The norm being established/advanced here is the same most of these laws in most the places are advancing (1) Unlawful websites are subject to sanction (2) To investigate lawfulness and enforce sanctions, authorities can force “third parties in the digital value chain” to cooperate.
IE, any service from DNS servers, search engines, ISPs, Twitter… every part of the internet needs to with every local, national and super-national government to police every other part of the internet.
10 years ago there were no channels for IP domain blacking/seizing/de-indexing. No templates for new rules. No ways for 3rd parties to be forced to cooperate. No way to regulate the web.
That's just false.
China had their FW since 1997 in various forms. In their very effective form since 2006.
And that's just China.
There was always pressure to censor/block/filter/control the Internet.
The norm is what people make it. The same goes for rules. And narrowness and so on.
Currently, people are dumbfuck dimwits, like they used to be. But the issues used to be simpler too. Communism bad, world war bad, etc.
I don't know if I buy this slippery slope argument. Nazi memorabilia and glorification have been banned in France and Germany for more than 70 years now, and these countries have not yet descended into fascism and further impeding of free speech and other points that we usually hear from offended Americans who learn about this.
I didn't imply descent into fascism. I implied a descent into norms where the internet is more like TV or radio were. Historically, the web has been a uniquely free medium.
There is also a commercial dynamic side to this. Regulations and restrictions favour larger, stabler, more normative companies.
Also, I don't think slippery slope arguments lend too well to analogies. Some slopes are slipperier than others. ..and the overthrow of the Nazi regime was not a democratic one. It was a violent one. All the methods were not part of normative politics. Banning Nazism was a part of that overthrow. What the shelling of Berlin a slippery slope?
That said, i think the ban should have been lifted by later generations, a symbolic nod to freedom of speech and association. If even Nazis in France get free speech, it's a sign that those freedoms are strong.
And anyway posted letters are still a very free medium, with better privacy assurances than email ever had.
Basically none of the other parties in the government want to even consider cooperating with them, it'll fizzle out soon enough.
The current Jamaika Coalition has basically put everyone in panic because for the first time in forever the major parties can't just vote what they want into parliament via coalition contracts.
The AfD will be reabsorbed, don't worry about that, that's how it has worked the last couple decades. And in the meanwhile they can exert some healthy pressure on the rest of the Bundestag to get a bit of fresh air in there.
I haven't yet anybody who likes the FDP, hence nobody likes them.
But I'm Bavarian so I might have a huge sampling bias thanks to us being 60%+ on the CSU.
A party doesn't come out of nowhere. It takes time. In 2013 AfD missed the 5%, but not by much. In 2017 has 13% and is the third largest party in Germany. Saying that it'll fizzle out soon is naive at best.
I think these two things are completely disconnected from each other. What we're talking about here is legislation, and legislation has not slipped towards censoring free speech more and more in the last seventy years (in France and Germany).
No I'm not. Your statement is so far off that I can't help myself but wonder how did you arrive to this conclusion?!
Why not. Bad laws should be repealed.
This kind of thing is true in every domain of legislation and regulation. Indeed wherever officials have wielded power since the before the building of Babylon. And yet the world has not, in the large scale, been on a march towards ever more tyranny. How is that?
I don't fully understand the process by which freedom has increased in most countries through history but it does exist. So it makes sense for people of good will to think, and discuss and act so as to help it along.
This video has a great outline: http://www.cgpgrey.com/blog/rules-for-rulers
The masses move like molasses.
When you build a decentralized system it's going to immediately be organically populated by the least desirable demographics in existence. And those demographics can then be used to demonize the system itself. This seems to be a major burden to uptake unless the 'main net' becomes rapidly castrated - but that will never happen. Changes happen slowly and incrementally and like the anecdote of a frog boiling in water - people just don't notice.
Ultimately regulations tend to favour large incumbents.
As if you can prevent that as a website owner. Especially since such a thing would be totally subjective to judge. What it means is they are purposefully giving themselves any reason at all to shut off your site.
I asked one of them about it, I got directed to their legal department. I asked the legal department about the clause and they told me to look for hosting elsewhere given what they assumed was the way in which I conduct myself on the internet.
There is no legal reason. They just want to control information.
We had something like this under "ban pedo" umbrella, now this thing filter anything that is against the party rule
Explain, did you read the text?
A DB of such requests, limited to Italy: https://censura.bofh.it/
With the upcoming ePrivacy/GDPR in the EU, if you as a consumer sent a DNT header or disagree with being tracked, you can notify anyone doing so and they are under EU law required to delete your data and/or stop tracking you.
If they don't... well the nearest consumer protection office will be interested and they'll probably then follow up with blocking the website EU wide.
So in conclusion; yes this can be used against anyone who tracks you on the internet against your will since the EU law will make that illegal in the future and this law is a broadside against anyone trying to ignore EU law.
"where no other effective means are available", hence, sites with representation in the EU, or owners who can be extradited to the EU, doesn't seem to be at risk.
It's a lot of friction and hoops to go through, especially for smaller companies, to do business that reaches into the EU (directly or indirectly) with these regulations.
In the EU 'consumer protection' is the guise of protecting suppliers. For example, protecting consumers from Buffalo Mozzarella means that only 4 regions of Italy may produce it (via the Protected designation of origin scheme) (it doesn't matter if the recipe/methods are correct). This way the consumer is 'protected' from being sold Buffalo Mozzarella from regions that can produce it cheaper.
Producing a product the cheapest way possible is not the end goal. If those cheap products drive the traditional way out of the market (as consumers have no reliable way of distinguishing products) consumers that specifically want the product from that region are harmed. All others can buy generic Buffalo Mozzarella produced anywhere just fine.
Uhm we've had that for a long time, it is how sites with CP and other illegal things are dealt with.
That required judicial authorisation. Good way of beginning a post, with a lie.
In all the years that this system has been in place in Spain I have never seen it used for anything other than blocking websites that were in breach of the law.
Back to the subject, what if a law is bad, but the mere act of saying publicly that the law is bad is, in itself, breaking the law? That's where this is all heading.
It starts with prohibiting the utterance of specific words because they hurt someone's feelings, but hidden under "consumer safety" or "public order." No one speaks against it because "of course we shouldn't hurt the feelings of others with mean words."
P1. Infra A exists.
P2. Infra A has been abused.
C1. If we build infra A, it can be abused.
P3. Abuse is bad.
P4. This proposal proposes that we build infra A.
P5. A proposal to build something that can be abused is bad.
C2. A proposal to build infra A is bad.
That's all fine. It's all fine, except P1 still stands even at the time we reach C2. The infrastructure already exists. So the argument sounds funny. Not unsound, but somewhat unconvincing.
It's a much better argument for the proposition that we should dismantle the infrastructure, than that we shouldn't make additional legitimate use of the infrastructure.
I can't find a source on this. Do you have one?
The EU law she discusses seems clearly focused on (e-)commerce, and it instructs the government to have websites taken down only when that's the only way to protect consumers from being harmed (e.g. defrauded) by those websites.
News websites, even those encouraging people to show up to illegal referenda, don't appear to be affected by this law?
An example of how that happens and why it is dangerous is the Catalan domains story. The Spanish government is obviously trying to limit speech which is not in its interests.