Feeds

'You can't use Google' - EU Parliament

Euro legislation leaves crucial hole

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A number of bullets were dodged as the European Parliament voted on the Harbour proposals for the European broadcast, telecoms and internet industries this week. A couple, sadly, struck home all the same.

The banning of the use of encryption as a way of identifying those breaching intellectual property rights didn't even make it to the voting session, nor did the idea of three strikes and you're cut off from the net - again, originally intended against those sharing others' intellectual property.

The shots not dodged were sometimes minor: service providers will have to provide free filtering software to those who would protect their kiddies from the evils out there. Mandating free supply of software of course rather diminishes the economic incentives for people to write good software to achieve this goal.

Two were more major.

“A competitive market with transparent offerings as provided for in Directive 2002/22/EC should ensure that end-users are able to access and distribute any lawful content and to use any lawful applications and/or services of their choice, as stated in Article 8 of Directive 2002/21/EC.”

That sounds rather benign, but the effect is that it is the European Union which decides what is lawful content and what is not, rather than national authorities. That might mean that, say, German restrictions on the use of the swastika online would be overturned, although we wouldn't bet on it. It might also mean of course that content not to the taste of the Commission might be declared unlawful - not a power we might want them to have.

The second needs a little background explanation. European law operates on the basis of “legislative certainty”. Roughly speaking it's the difference between the Roman Law system of the continent and the English system of Common Law. As Godfrey Bloom, the UKIP MEP says “EU law defines what you may do. What it doesn't say you may do you can't do.” As opposed to the Common Law system which defines what you may not do and anything not expressly banned is allowed.

“End-users are able to access and use services, including information society services, provided within the Community.”

Under the strictures of legal certainty this seems to be stating that we don't have the right, even permission, to access and use services provided outside the community. That's going to be a bit of a bummer for all those US-based services like Google.com, isn't it? ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes
'I certainly never expected to become rich ... this is surreal'
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.