Petition update

Network Policy Struggle 2.0

Save The Internet

Nov 25, 2020 — 

Dear Supporters,

today we have some new information and a very important call to action for you!
Please take into account that recent events have provided so much new information that this update might take a bit longer than usual to get through.

Today we will inform you about the key points of criticism of the current draft reform/bill.
Articles 13 and 17 are currently being implemented in many european states. It appears that states have no choice but to use content filters, since the regulations don’t leave much room for interpretation. Some member states, however, choose to go even further and implement the regulation in the strictest way possible.

Unfortunately, Germany’s current plan doesn’t seem to take the necessary exemptions into account either. 
We, as “SaveTheInternet”, took part in the Stakeholder dialogue and the development of the “pre-flagging” concept, whose goal it is to give users more influence. The basic idea of giving users the possibility to mark their content as fair use on their own account, and therefore upholding the foundation of autonomy and responsibility of the citizens, was completely distorted in the newest draft bill. 
Instead, it is stated that a filter should automatically scan the upload in real-time and notify the user upon detection of third-party content. Only then will the user be able to give a statement about the fairness of use. A general possibility of user-based “pre-flagging” shall not be implemented. From our point of view this is a major setback which has a massive impact on citizen’s autonomy and responsibility. The courageous attempt to save memes from becoming illegal seems to be on the brink of failure. The initially well-received first draft of the ministry has now been updated with much tighter regulations.

As if error-prone automatic upload filters weren’t enough - “TERREG”
Under the guise of terrorism prevention, the EU is planning another directive, also known as TERREG (short for “Terrorism [Content] Regulation). 
This new directive will lead to even more and stricter filter mechanisms: platforms will be obligated to prevent any and all “terrorist” content. This is only possible with content filters. Every word, every picture, every video will be screened before it’s even uploaded. However, there is no consistent and clear definition of what exactly “terrorist” content is. The likely consequence of this is overblocking of content. 
In our opinion, this is blowing many things out of proportion and seems unreasonable! Everything that users create is to be detected and filtered. But filters don’t understand context. Every written word, every picture, every frame of every video on any platform needs to be checked during upload. No matter the size of the platform. This implies a fundamental mistrust in all citizens, because, don’t forget, “you are also a terrorist”[1].

However, all of this still doesn’t seem to be enough. The third act: your privacy!
While TERREG “only” affects public platforms, the EU goes one step further. Another regulation disguised under a terrorism prevention act aims to completely undermine the encryption of private communication. Cryptography is defined as “a means to protect privacy and digital security from governments, industry and society.”[2]
If this is weakened, it will for example make it impossible for reporters to protect their informants. Especially if they are investigating controversial and sensitive topics. But it can also be dangerous for the economy: If innovation can’t be protected anymore, the competition and foreign secret services can extract valuable data and use it to damage the producer. And even working from home will no longer be possible when safe data traffic is important.

Because of this, we continue to vehemently demand to keep our rights to digital privacy!
As important it is to protect our society, this approach is completely wrong and there is no scientific evidence whatsoever backing it. 
For instance, there is evidence that the Berlin and Vienna assailants had already been reported to and known by the authorities, however no further action was taken by government institutions.
This shows that the main issues don’t lie in the ways of encryption and communication, but rather in the serious misjudgment and poor decision making of the authorities. So more surveillance wouldn’t have prevented terrorism in this case.

But there is still a chance for better user rights.
The above mentioned procedures are still under development, especially the nationwide elaboration of articles 13 and 17 is still under way. 
It is high time to raise public awareness of these topics, start a societal discussion and once again make the representatives aware of this again. We have already made the experience that our voices will be heard. The first protests against articles 13 and 17 led to more user friendly proposals for the implementation in Germany. And still, the federal government refuses to accept its responsibility and stand against flawed upload filters.

But what can you do?

-> [Germany] Write to your representatives in the federal government or the ministries (for example the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection or the Federal Ministry of Interior, Building and Community)

-> Write to the EU representatives directly. 
- On the topic of TERREG you can use the template provided by Libertines
- On the topic of dismantling encryption there is a template by Marcel Kolaja

-> Get your friends and social circle involved and inform them of the dangers of the planned legislation.

-> Send a message to your favorite youtuber and inform them as well.

-> You can follow us on twitter, check out our homepage for more information and even join us on Discord to support us in the fight against content filters and other threatening proposed laws!

Further information and calls to action can be found on our new website:

Thank you!
Your SaveTheInternet team


[2] (translated from german article)

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