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MEPs Back EU Telecoms Amendments

MEPs Back EU Telecoms Amendments

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have voted to add controversial amendments to a telecoms bill that comes up for a final vote this fall.

Privacy advocated have claimed that the amendments will mean that illegal file-sharers can be thrown off the Net under a “three strikes, you’re out” policy, if they fail to heed warnings to stop their activity. Additionally, another amendment allows governments to decide what software can be “lawfully” used.

MEPs backing the amendments, however, say that instead the amendments are “about improving users’ rights,” according to the BBC.

They quote MEP Malcolm Harbour, who has helped oversee the entire telecoms bill, as saying:

"They have nothing to do with copyright enforcement. The interpretation of them is alarmist and scare-mongering and deflects from the intention which was to improve consumers’ rights."

Individual countries are taking steps against illegal file sharers. France is set to pass laws that will penalize those who break copyright that way, while in Britain the BPI has been policing file-sharing sites and informing ISPs about users who engage heavily in the activity, and has threatened to take ISPs who don’t join their campaign to court. Virgin Media has already sent warning letters to 800 of its customers.

Regarding the lawful software issue, MEP Harbour said:

"It is about new provisions so that users can find out about new services. It will make price comparison sites easier to set up, it will force regulators to give equivalent access to disabled users and enhance emergency services with caller location."

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