Poland is challenging the EU's copyright directive in the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) on grounds of its threats to freedom of speech on the internet, Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said on Friday.
The complaint especially addresses a mechanism obliging online services to run preventive checks on user content even without suspicion of copyright infringement. Czaputowicz explained at a press conference in Warsaw:
Poland has charged the copyright directive to the CJEU, because in our opinion it creates a fundamental threat to freedom of speech on the internet. Such censorship is forbidden both by the Polish constitution and EU law. The Charter of
Fundamental Rights (of the European Union - PAP) guarantees freedom of speech.
The directive is to change the way online content is published and monitored. EU members have two years to introduce the new regulations. Against the directive are Poland, Holland, Italy, Finland and Luxembourg.
Ireland's Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan confirmed that the Irish government will consider a similar system to the UK's so-called porn block law as part of new legislation on online safety. Flanagan said:
I would be very keen that we would engage widely to ensure that Ireland could benefit from what is international best practice here and that is why we are looking at what is happening in other jurisdictions.
The Irish communications minister Richard Bruton said there are also issues around privacy laws and this has to be carefully dealt with. H said:
It would be my view that government through the strategy that we have published, we have a cross-government committee who is looking at policy development to ensure online safety, and I think that forum is the forum where I believe we will
discuss what should be done in that area because I think there is a genuine public concern, it hasn't been the subject of the Law Reform Commission or other scrutiny of legislation in this area, but it was worthy of consideration, but it does
have its difficulties, as the UK indeed has recognised also.
The internet technology known as deep packet inspection is currently illegal in Europe, but big telecom companies doing business in the European Union want to change that. They want deep packet inspection permitted as part of the new net
neutrality rules currently under negotiation in the EU, but on Wednesday, a group of 45 privacy and internet freedom advocates and groups published an open letter warning against the change:
Dear Vice-President Andrus Ansip, (and others)
We are writing you in the context of the evaluation of Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 and the reform of the BEREC Guidelines on its implementation. Specifically, we are concerned because of the increased use of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology
by providers of internet access services (IAS). DPI is a technology that examines data packets that are transmitted in a given network beyond what would be necessary for the provision IAS by looking at specific content from the part of the
user-defined payload of the transmission.
IAS providers are increasingly using DPI technology for the purpose of traffic management and the differentiated pricing of specific applications or services (e.g. zero-rating) as part of their product design. DPI allows IAS providers to identify
and distinguish traffic in their networks in order to identify traffic of specific applications or services for the purpose such as billing them differently throttling or prioritising them over other traffic.
The undersigned would like to recall the concerning practice of examining domain names or the addresses (URLs) of visited websites and other internet resources. The evaluation of these types of data can reveal sensitive information about a user,
such as preferred news publications, interest in specific health conditions, sexual preferences, or religious beliefs. URLs directly identify specific resources on the world wide web (e.g. a specific image, a specific article in an encyclopedia,
a specific segment of a video stream, etc.) and give direct information on the content of a transmission.
A mapping of differential pricing products in the EEA conducted in 2018 identified 186 such products which potentially make use of DPI technology. Among those, several of these products by mobile operators with large market shares are confirmed
to rely on DPI because their products offer providers of applications or services the option of identifying their traffic via criteria such as Domain names, SNI, URLs or DNS snooping.
Currently, the BEREC Guidelines3 clearly state that traffic management based on the monitoring of domain names and URLs (as implied by the phrase transport protocol layer payload) is not reasonable traffic management under the Regulation.
However, this clear rule has been mostly ignored by IAS providers in their treatment of traffic.
The nature of DPI necessitates telecom expertise as well as expertise in data protection issues. Yet, we observe a lack of cooperation between national regulatory authorities for electronic communications and regulatory authorities for data
protection on this issue, both in the decisions put forward on these products as well as cooperation on joint opinions on the question in general. For example, some regulators issue justifications of DPI based on the consent of the customer of
the IAS provider which crucially ignores the clear ban of DPI in the BEREC Guidelines and the processing of the data of the other party communicating with the subscriber, which never gave consent.
Given the scale and sensitivity of the issue, we urge the Commission and BEREC to carefully consider the use of DPI technologies and their data protection impact in the ongoing reform of the net neutrality Regulation and the Guidelines. In
addition, we recommend to the Commission and BEREC to explore an interpretation of the proportionality requirement included in Article 3, paragraph 3 of Regulation 2015/2120 in line with the data minimization principle established by the GDPR.
Finally, we suggest to mandate the European Data Protection Board to produce guidelines on the use of DPI by IAS providers.
European Digital Rights, Europe Electronic Frontier Foundation, International Council of European Professional Informatics Societies, Europe Article 19, International Chaos Computer Club e.V, Germany epicenter.works - for digital rights, Austria
Austrian Computer Society (OCG), Austria Bits of Freedom, the Netherlands La Quadrature du Net, France ApTI, Romania Code4Romania, Romania IT-Pol, Denmark Homo Digitalis, Greece Hermes Center, Italy X-net, Spain Vrijschrift, the Netherlands
Dataskydd.net, Sweden Electronic Frontier Norway (EFN), Norway Alternatif Bilisim (Alternative Informatics Association), Turkey Digitalcourage, Germany Fitug e.V., Germany Digitale Freiheit, Germany Deutsche Vereinigung f3cr Datenschutz e.V.
(DVD), Germany Gesellschaft f3cr Informatik e.V. (GI), Germany LOAD e.V. - Verein f3cr liberale Netzpolitik, Germany (And others)
A pair of entrepreneurs have been refused European trademark protection for their energy drink named Brexit after an EU body labelled it offensive.
Pawel Tumilowicz and Mariusz Majchrzak had attempted to register their product Brexit with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (Euipo) after they launched the drink in October 2016.
But they were denied on the grounds that EU citizens would be deeply offended by the appropriation of the word. Euipo claimed:
Citizens across the EU would be deeply offended if the expression at issue was registered as a European Union trade mark.
The pair then appealed before Euipo's Grand Board of Appea which rejected Euipo's judgement that the word was offensive. However it ruled that Brexit could not be trademarked because it was not distinctive enough under EU law and would be
The high-caffeine drink - which is described on its website as the only reasonable solution in this situation - is branded with the Union Jack and was only named after the contentious political event for a laugh, the Telegraph reports.
The German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier opened the re:publica 2019 conference in Berlin last week with a speech about internet censorship. The World Socialist Web Site reported the speech:
With cynical references to Germany's Basic Law and the right to freedom of speech contained within it, Steinmeier called for new censorship measures and appealed to the major technology firms to enforce already existing guidelines more
He stated, The upcoming 70th anniversary of the German Basic Law reminds us of a connection that pre-dates online and offline: liberty needs rules--and new liberties need new rules. Furthermore, freedom of opinion brings with it responsibility
for opinion. He stressed that he knew there are already many rules, among which he mentioned the notorious Network Enforcement Law (Netz DG), but it will be necessary to argue over others.
He then added, Anyone who creates space for a political discussion with a platform bears responsibility for democracy, whether they like it or not. Therefore, democratic regulations are required, he continued. Steinmeier said that he felt this is
now understood in Silicon Valley. After a lot of words and announcements, discussion forums, and photogenic appearances with politicians, it is now time for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Co. to finally acknowledge their responsibility for
democracy, finally put it into practice.
Based on the results of an investigation by Privacy International, one of Europe's key data protection authorities has opened an inquiry into Quantcast, a major player in the online tracking industry.
The Irish Data Protection Commission has now opened statutory inquiry into Quantcast International Limited. The organisation writes:
Since the application of the GDPR significant concerns have been raised by individuals and privacy advocates concerning the conduct of technology companies operating in the online advertising sector and their compliance with the GDPR. Arising
from a submission to the Data Protection Commission by Privacy International, a statutory inquiry pursuant to section 110 of the Data Protection Action 2018 has been commenced in respect of Quantcast International Limited. The purpose of the
inquiry is to establish whether the company's processing and aggregating of personal data for the purposes of profiling and utilising the profiles generated for targeted advertising is in compliance with the relevant provisions of the GDPR. The
GDPR principle of transparency and retention practices will also be examined.
Netherlands-based publishing house Brill recently ended its distribution agreement with a Chinese state-run publisher, after the latter was found to have censored out a paper submitted to one of its journals
In a statement published on its website on April 25, Brill announced it would no longer partner with China's Higher Education Press to distribute four of its journals to customers outside China, effective in 2020.
The Dutch publishing house didn't provide an explanation for its decision.
The director of Poland's National Museum of Culture took it on himself to take down a classic 1975 artwork on the grounds that it might irritate sensitive young people.
Consumer Art or Body Art is a video by Natalia Lach-Lachowicz, who goes by the name Natalia LL, showing a bare-shouldered woman eating a banana in a rather suggestive fashion.
The director also removed was a 2005 video by Katarzyna Kozyra that showed a woman holding a leash attached to two men dressed as dogs on all fours. He explained:
Certain topics related to gender shouldn't be explicitly shown,
However the censorship by Museum Director Jerzy Miziolek was widely ridiculed. Many took to Instagram and other platforms to post photos of themselves eating bananas, including another prominent Polish artist, photographer Sylwia Kowalczyk, who
This should not happen to any artist, male or female, Kowalczyk told CNN . Natalia Lach-Lachowicz is one of the icons of the Polish contemporary art and has her place in art history already.
Hundreds of people also gathered to eat bananas outside Poland's national gallery in Warsaw on Monday to protest the censorship.
Responding to this public pressure Miziolek said that he would reinstate the Consumer Art exhibit -- but only for another week, when the museum begins a renovation project. Whether Consumer Art would return after the renovations are complete
Miziolek was appointed by the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) government's Ministry of Culture. The ministry has consistently cut funding for the arts and fired arts staff who do not follow the party's line. However the ministry denied it was
involved in the decision to remove this artwork.