October’s EU strong digital mix: From Safe Harbour to Net Neutrality, Roaming and Snowden

Photo in action on NSA scandal/asylum for Snowden. MEPs wearing mask of Snowden (© European Union 2014 - EP)

Photo in action on NSA scandal/asylum for Snowden. MEPs wearing mask of Snowden (© European Union 2014 – EP)

The month of October 2015, which began with another turning point in the Google-EU question and with a decisive judgment on data protection legislation will be remembered for a long time as a milestone for the digital European Union.

On Net Neutrality

First, last week, the European Parliament passed new rules on net neutrality which are destined to be discussed for a long time, definitely not only due to the importance of the subject. Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should treat all online content equally and enable access to all content without blocking or slowing down specific websites on purpose, regardless of the source.

‘Loopholes’ risk?

The European Parliament’s vote, last week, was intended to reinforce the neutrality principle, allowing the creation of internet fast lanes for “specialized services” and letting providers offer a wider range of products without restrictions, but many say the draft text, which was finally accepted, remains at the end of the day too vague.

Indeed campaigners say the laws contain a number of “loopholes” which could eventually lead to the creation of a tiered internet service. Still many proponents say that the new rules, which will take effect on April 30 next year, will establish an internet “without discrimination”, but this definition appears to be definitely not convincing enough.

Roaming charges scrapped

But that’s certainly not all. The new telecommunications law intends to also scrap roaming charges within the European Union by mid-2017, something that has been widely promised by Commissioners for a long time now. As declared by the European Commission a few days ago, something that has ridiculously haunted EU citizens for decades will “cease to exist in the EU” as of 15 June 2017, and European consumers will pay the same price for calls, texts and mobile data wherever they are travelling inside the EU.

“A victory”, at last

Former Vice-president of the European Commission and current Member of the European Parliament Viviane Reding underlined: “After 10 years of tireless fight, roaming is over”. MS. Reding, who has been interviewed exclusively by the European Sting last May during 2015 European Business Summit, also declared: “[the ruling is] A victory for consumers and a stepping stone towards a truly European digital single market”. The Commission promised that already from April 2016, roaming will become even cheaper.

European Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip welcomed last week’s news and said the new rules were an important milestone in the EU’s plans to harmonize the bloc’s fragmented digital market. “The voice of Europeans has been heard”, Mr. Ansip said. “This is not only about money; this is about bringing down barriers in the Digital Single Market”, he added.

On Snowden case

But there’s another event that makes last week the well-deserved closure of an incredible “digital month”. Indeed, the parliamentary vote on net neutrality was not the only one to be widely discussed within the EU. Last Thursday, with 285 to 281 votes, the members of the European Parliament decided to call on EU member states to “drop any criminal charges against Edward Snowden”, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked tons of documents about the scandalous electronic surveillance programme of the United States government.

A narrow-huge resolution

With the narrow vote, the MEPs adopted a nonbinding resolution intended to grant Mr. Snowden protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties. So the European Parliament fully recognized to Mr. Snowden the status of “whistle-blower” and “international human rights defender”, as stated in an official European Parliament document.

“The European Parliament’s inquiry into Edward Snowden’s revelations of electronic mass surveillance was the most comprehensive investigation completed to date”, said Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee and rapporteur on mass surveillance. “This work needs to continue to ensure that civil liberties are defended on the internet too”, he added.

Snowden’s comment

Almost immediately, Edward Snowden too commented the fact on Twitter, and called the EU Parliament’s vote a “game changer”. He also said: “This is not a blow against the US Government, but an open hand extended by friends.”

It is absolutely clear how, despite the nonbinding status of the resolution, last Thursday’s vote has an incredibly strong symbolic value. The vote by European MEPs formally endorses Mr. Snowden’s choice of unveiling the US Government’s “Prism” Programme and bringing to light an immense privacy scandal that shook the world,

A clear position

Moreover, the 285-281 vote came along with a very clear-cut comment by the MEPs on data transfer to the US and the recent invalidation of the Safe Harbour scheme by the European Commission – another incredible recent evolution. MEPs officially stressed that they “welcome” the 6 October ruling by the ECJ in the Schrems case, which invalidated the Commission’s decision on the Safe Harbour scheme for data transfers to the US. “This ruling has confirmed the long-standing position of Parliament regarding the lack of an adequate level of protection under this instrument”, MEPs said.

“The resolution also calls for an EU strategy for greater IT independence and online privacy, stresses the need to ensure meaningful democratic oversight of intelligence activities and to rebuild trust with the US”. These are the words that concluded the statement made by the MEPs, last week, and one of the most significant months of the EU digital era.

The fast-paced European digital sphere, which has reached now a crucial point of its evolution, given the many previous setbacks, deserves a special monitoring, and the Sting will keep reporting it closely.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

EU’s tougher privacy rules: WhatsApp and Facebook set to be soon aligned with telcos

Snowden is the “EU nomination” for this year’s Oscars

Trump questions US – Europe kinship, approaches Russia

Capital markets selloff: The financial moguls send messages to monetary authorities

European Youth calls on European Council for urgent action on “humanitarian crisis” and questions the EU/Turkey deal respect of human rights

MWC 2016 LIVE: Under Armour learns from “robust community of data”

Why climate change matters for future health professionals

Peacekeeping chief highlights challenges facing UN Police

Parliament votes reform for better European Co2 market but critics want it sooner than later

Is the ECB ready to flood Eurozone with freshly printed money?

EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey: EUR 400 million Special Measure on education adopted

Bank resolutions set to remain a national affair

IFMSA and IPSF on the Health of Migrants and Refugees

Quality Education on the table at the European Parliament

Inflation keeps falling in Eurozone

A revolution, an ecosystem, an ocean: 5G is just the beginning

Why capital markets have no more reservetions about Eurozone

Here’s the secret to financing a greener future

Hungary’s laws on helping vulnerable foreigners are ‘blatantly xenophobic’: UN rights chief

PM May fosters chauvinism, declares trade war on Europe

No tears for Cyprus in Brussels and Moscow

Britain declares trade war on mainland Europe

These are the countries where it’s still illegal to get an abortion

UN says ‘many humanitarian achievements’, one year after ouster of ISIL from Mosul

The challenges of mental health among the Syrian medical students

Why does the whole world want Britain to stay in the EU?

Liaison Officer – 2020

Deutsche Bank chased away from US, threatened with more fines

The Americans are preparing for the next financial crisis

Greece did it again

UN chief hears ‘heartbreaking accounts’ of suffering from Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh; urges international community to ‘step up support’

Modern humanitarian aid at times of global crises

Russia won’t let Ukraine drift westwards in one piece

COP21 Breaking News_10 December: the final sprint of the Final Agreement Negotiations

UN chief welcomes formation of unity government in Madagascar

Ukrainian civil war: Is this the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

Learn from the margin, not the center: digital innovation with social impact as transformative force bridging digital divide

The Fourth Industrial Revolution needs a social revolution, too. Here’s how we can make this happen

China is among the 20 most innovative economies for the first time

Eurozone closer to a deflation – stagnation trap

European Confederation of Junior Enterprises hosts in Geneva the Junior Enterprise World Conference

Half of Eurozone in deflation expecting salvation from monetary measures

G20 GDP growth nudges up to 1.0% in the second quarter of 2018

Europe led by Germany seems vulnerable to Trump’s threats

FROM THE FIELD: Weaving profits in Azerbaijan

EU-China trade: closer ties as US-China trade battle brews

A Sting Exclusive: “China-Africa Cooperation Sets a Fine Example of South-South Cooperation”, by China’s Ambassador to EU

Counting unemployment in the EU: The real rate comes to anything between 16.1% and 20.6%

European Commission determined to conclude EU-Mercosur trade deal this year despite French concerns

You’ve heard of 5G, but what about the quantum internet?

Refugee crisis: Commission proposes a new plan urging EU countries to help Italy

EU fight against tax-evasion and money laundering blocked by Britain

G20 LIVE: G20 Statement on the fight against terrorism

The European Parliament fails to really restrict the rating agencies

Europe enters uncharted waters with Kiev-Moscow standoff

Brexit uncertainty keeps shaking the world’s financial markets

A Sting Exclusive: “Regional Policy: a fully-fledged investment policy”, Commissioner Cretu reveals live from European Business Summit 2015

2016 crisis update: the year of the Red Fire Monkey burns the world’s markets down

MWC 2016 LIVE: The top 5 themes of this year’s Mobile World Congress

UN chief welcomes agreement by rival leaders in South Sudan, as a step towards ‘inclusive and implementable’ peace

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s