A compromise to defend the rights of people suspected of using the Internet illegally has secured a European Union agreement on reforms to the bloc’s telecoms law. Cut their access if they have downloaded copyrighted material without paying first, or child pornography? Not without a prior fair hearing.
The deal was reached between the Council of EU telecoms ministers and the European Parliament. Green MEP Philippe Lamberts said: “We compromised. Basically it preserves what we consider as a fundamental right: access to the Internet. Any cut-off restriction must be subject to a judicial procedure, obviously before the cutoff decision is taken.” The whole telecoms package is meant to beef up consumers’ contractual rights. The reform will also create a pan-EU supervisory agency to improve how the rules are applied. This aims to expose all operators to competition. An important motivation was to encourage investment in the 300-billion-euro a year sector.