29 September – 5 October 2012

Thanks to Frederic Donck, director of the European Bureau of Internet Society.

Internet governance

Telecoms incumbents criticise ETNO’s ITR proposals

  • At the FT ETNO summit on 2 October, ETNO Executive Board Chair Luigi Gambardella defended his association’s recent proposals on the revision of the International Telecoms Regulations (ITRs). He stated that the ITRs “should acknowledge that actors along the value chain should come to agreements on how get the most value out of networks and to provide better and more enhanced services to other players and to consumers”. In his view, the ITU is the only organisation which can make this possible.

  • However, Gambardella did not receive support from other speakers, and even ETNO’s own members declined to back the proposals.

  • William Kennard, US ambassador to the EU, criticised the proposals, saying companies would simply find a way around them. While he agreed that “network operators should have the flexibility to manage traffic flows”, he did not see “the specter of a tsunami of regulations that would prevent them from doing so”. He concluded that ETNO’s text was “a solution in search of a problem”.

  • Franco Bernabč, CEO of Telecom Italia, portrayed the proposal as merely a way of opening up discussion on the issue of how ISPs can redress their financial relationship with content providers. He disagreed with the multi-stakeholder approach, arguing that the outcome would be chaotic, preferring a top-down government-led approach.

  • Carsten Schloter, CEO of Swisscom, did not favour addressing telecoms sector issues through the ITRs.

  • MEP Malcolm Harbour, who chairs the European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee, said he was “confident that the European Parliament will be absolutely against the ETNO proposal”, as lobbyists and internet campaigners would seize on it as they did for ACTA.

  • Vittorio Colao, CEO of Vodafone, expressed opposition because it would be impossible to charge companies like Google or Facebook for imbalances in internet traffic.


EuroISPA issues statement on ITRs

EuroISPA has published a statement on the revision of the ITRs. Its recommendations include the following:

  • ‘The ITRs remains a principle-based, high-level, flexible and technology-neutral treaty’

  • ‘The scope of the ITRs remains limited to telecommunications and does not extend to ICT/Internet’

  • ‘Content issues, data protection and privacy remain outside the remit of the ITRs’

  • ‘The role of the ITRs with regard to cyber-security and cyber-crime be limited to endeavor the promotion of international cooperation amongst ITU countries’

  • ‘The ITRs refrains from granting the ITU regulatory powers, or making it a dispute resolution forum’

  • ‘The ITRs refrains from making ITU recommendations binding’

  • ‘The ITRs promotes pro-competitive, market-driven principles for telecommunication services’


EIF discusses revision of ITRs

  • The European Internet Foundation (EIF) has published a summary of a debate which it held on 19 September in Brussels on the EU position on the revision of the ITRs.

  • Speakers included:

    • Megan Richards, Director Coordination at DG CONNECT, European Commission: She argued that the revision should be based on high-level strategic principles and be technologically-neutral so that they do not limit future innovation. The Commission proposal in August for an EU position was drafted on this basis.

    • Luigi Gambardella, ETNO Executive Board Chair: He defended ETNO’s recent controversial proposal, arguing that aims to establish a commercial reference for compensation to rapid growth in internet traffic. He stressed that ‘ETNO is not asking for any regulatory intervention or change to the current model of internet governance’.

    • Jim Dempsey, VP for Public Policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology: He warned that the ITRs, as a binding treaty, are not an appropriate instrument to tackle challenges such as cyber security, the digital divide and IPR enforcement. He called for internet governance rulemaking to become ‘more open, transparent and participatory’.

    • Richard Hill, ITU counsellor: He predicted that free speech will be one issue which will come up in WCIT. He said it was a myth that the scope of the ITU and ITRs does not cover the Internet.


Cyber security

ENISA holds cyber security exercise

  • Under the organisation of the European Network and Information Service Agency (ENISA), Cyber Europe 2012, a simulated cyber attack, took place across the EU on 4 October. Participating institutions included banks, telecoms companies, ISPs and public administrations.

  • The exercise had three objectives:

    • ‘Test effectiveness and scalability of existing mechanisms, procedures and information flow for public authorities’ cooperation in Europe’

    • ‘Explore the cooperation between public and private stakeholders’

    • ‘Identify gaps and challenges on how large scale cyber incidents could be handled more effectively’

  • The coordinated attack involved 1,200 cyber incidents and 30,000 emails, and was a more extensive and sophisticated exercise than the first one conducted in 2010, according to ENISA. The European Commission notes that cyber attacks increased by 36% in 2011.

  • The agency will publish the initial results of the exercise very soon and a more detailed report and conclusions by the end of the year.

  • The exercise came at the start of ENISA’s first European Cyber Security Month, which aims ‘to promote cyber security awareness among citizens, to modify their perception of cyber threats, and to provide updated security information through education, good practices and competitions’.


Data protection/Online trust

EDPS issues opinion on Electronic Trust Services Regulation

  • The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has issued an opinion on the European Commission’s proposal for an Electronic Trust Services Regulation, which is supposed to make e-commerce transactions within the EU’s internal market easier.

  • The Commission wants Member States to opt in to mutual recognition of each other’s government electronic identification (e-ID) schemes. The requirement would be that any data would be ‘attributed unambiguously to the natural or legal person’ using such a scheme.

  • Whereas the Commission’s proposal makes little reference to data protection beyond existing EU law, EDPS calls for ‘a minimum set of requirements, in particular with respect to the circumstances, formats and procedures associated to security as well as the criteria, conditions and requirements, including the determination of what constitutes the state of the art in terms of security for electronic trust services’.

  • EDPS also calls for Privacy-Enhancing Technologies (PETs) to be addressed in the legislation ‘by requiring that trust service providers and providers of identification services take PETs into consideration when defining an electronic service scheme’.


Copyright enforcement

NGO calls on MEPs to reject CETA

  • La Quadrature du Net has called on the European Parliament to reject a Canada-EU trade agreement (CETA), which it claims contains elements from the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that MEPs rejected in July.

  • The NGO claims that a leaked draft of CETA from February includes ‘the exact same anti-citizen provisions as ACTA’. It calls on the European Commission to publish the text of the latest draft of CETA, which is still under negotiation.

  • These allegations are also the subject of recent written questions to the Commission by two independent Austrian independent MEPs.

Comment: This dispute is not a new one but has been rumbling for many months. In July, spokesman for Trade Commissioner De Gucht denied that CETA would incorporate ACTA, but as the negotiations take place behind closed doors there is plenty of scope for scare-mongering.

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