EuroISPA President discusses future of Internet governance at IEEE summit

EuroISPA has been an active contributor to high-level discussions surrounding the future of Internet governance for many years. The recently published IEEE Summit Report on Internet Governance gives an insight into the Association’s recent work to create a governance environment that is fit for purpose.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Summit on Internet Governance took place in Brussels in December, and brought together business leaders, academics, and policymakers to discuss issues concerning Internet governance.

EuroISPA President Oliver Süme was participant in a panel discussion on the future of Internet governance alongside Megan Richards (Principal Adviser, DG Connect), Jean-Jacques Sahel (Vice-President Stakeholder Engagement for Europe, ICANN), and Mark Raymond (Assistant Professor of International Security, OU).

With his fellow panelists, EuroISPA President Süme discussed the role of ICANN, the growing complexity of Internet governance, and its politicisation in the context of the Snowden revelations. Addressing an audience of technology leaders and policymakers, the EuroISPA President stressed that “Internet governance is not a question of bodies but more a question of mechanisms and processes and indeed, the accountability of such processes.”

Further insight into President Süme’s contribution and the summit generally can be found in the just-published IEEE Summit Report on Internet Governance.

Future of national Hotlines hangs in the balance as MEPs vote on CSAM Resolution

The very existence of Hotlines dedicated to fighting Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) on the Internet may come under threat in 2016. This will be the case if the European Parliament adopts its Resolution on the fight against CSAM in plenary this Wednesday without amending the glaring omission on supporting Hotlines. 

The European Internet Service Providers (EuroISPA) represents national hotlines in Ireland, France, Austria, and Germany. Hotlines are essential to the process of “notice and takedown”, as they provide the means for members of the public to alert ISPs to the presence of suspected CSAM on the Internet. Hotline operators are trained in all legal issues surrounding CSAM, and liaise directly with law enforcement and ISPs around the world to ensure a safer Internet environment.

With the volume and complexity of reports increasing each year and funding already cut to the bone, many national Hotlines face financial difficulty. Thus far, European Hotlines have been supported by European Commission funding. But with this funding set to end permanently in 2016, most Hotlines will not be able to meet operational costs and will simply disappear.

In a letter to MEPs last week, EuroISPA implored lawmakers to use the Resolution to launch a discussion with the European Commission and Member States to find solutions to the Hotline funding crisis. If this does not occur, the system of Hotlines which has proven so effective in the battle against CSAM, may collapse.

EuroISPA Safer Internet committee co-chair Carole Gay said: “For years, Hotlines have been leading the fight to end the abhorrence of child sexual abuse material on the Internet. Unless MEPs act to highlight the Hotline funding crisis in plenary this Wednesday, the whole Hotline system across Europe will come under threat.”

EuroISPA Safer Internet committee co-chair Paul Durrant said: “If the Resolution is adopted as stands, we will have the contradictory situation of a European Parliament supporting the fight against CSAM, while at the same time undermining the very existence of the most powerful tool in the battle against such content.”

Read the full EuroISPA letter to MEPs on the Resolution on the fight against CSAM: 1503_Motion_for_resolution_on_CSAM

EuroISPA briefs MEPs on copyright in the digital era

Copyright is just one of the many fundamental rights of EU citizens, and can only be enforced as part of a balanced approach that reflects the importance of competing rights. This was the message delivered by European Internet Service Providers Association (EuroISPA) Treasurer Innocenzo Genna in the European Parliament on Tuesday 3 March.

Addressing the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group (EFDD) workshop Towards a new legislation on Intellectual Property in the Digital Single Market, Mr Genna highlighted the perspective of Internet Service Providers on the nature of copyright in the digital age. The address briefed MEPs, civil society actors, and legal experts on the need for reform European copyright legislation to create an environment that harnesses innovation and supports new business models. Regarding ongoing policy discussions on the topic, Mr Genna stressed the role of legislators in striking the balance between competing rights in the digital sphere. ISPs, he noted, could not be expected to fulfill this task.

EuroISPA Treasurer Innocenzo Genna said: “The recent European Court of Justice rulings in the Sabam and UPC cases show that copyright enforcement measures must be balanced with, and show respect for the freedom to conduct business, right to privacy and the freedom of information. EuroISPA strongly believes that in these matters, enforcement and balance-striking is a matter for judges and legislators.”

Digital Economy and Society Index highlights enabling role of Internet Sector in European economy

The European Internet Service Providers Association (EuroISPA) has welcomed the results of the European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index, a study which further highlights the enabling role of the Internet sector across many areas of the European economy.

The report shows that 75% of Europeans used the Internet on a regular basis in 2014, and that a growing number of citizens are using the Internet to access services traditionally confined to the offline world. Moreover, a growing number of European enterprises are opting to conduct business over the Internet, with increases in e-commerce (+1%), e-invoicing (+1%) and related web-based enterprise activities.

Indeed, the figures highlight how European citizens expect accessible content in the online sphere. In that context, EuroISPA welcomes Commissioner Ansip’s commitment in launching the Index to make it easier for Europeans to access digital content online. Geoblocking and an outdated copyright directive serve as barriers which need to be overcome to improve citizens’ online experience and enhance “digital Europe”.

Oliver Süme, EuroISPA President said “The Digital Economy and Society Index illustrates how the European economy has all the fundamentals to unlock immense digitally-driven growth in the coming years. The Internet sector has played, and will continue to play a key role in enabling various sectors of the European economy to exploit the benefits of digitalisation. With a growing number of Europeans using the Internet to conduct everything from banking to grocery shopping, the report’s figures point to the Internet sector’s role in facilitating Europe’s transition from a digital economy to an economy that has become digital”.

Read more:
The Digital Economy and Society Index

EuroISPA outlines state of play for European Internet industry at Steam Telecommunications Arena

The coming years will be crucial for the Internet and telecom sector in Europe, according to Innocenzo Genna of the European Internet Service Providers Association (EuroISPA).  In an address to the 11th Telecommunications Arena in Istanbul on Friday 13 February, Mr Genna stressed the urgent need for the European institutions to find a future-proof framework to support economic growth and the rights of citizens.

Addressing stakeholders in the Turkish Internet and telecoms community, Mr Genna updated participants on the most important industry issues currently under discussion by policymakers in Brussels. The shape of the Digital Single Market strategy, a policy discussion to which EuroISPA is actively contributing to, defined the content of Mr Genna’s speech.

As part of a wide-ranging analysis of European-level policy, Mr Genna said “industry and technology are developing rapidly, and institutions and policymakers are searching to find a future-proof framework able to support economic growth while respecting interests and fundamental rights of citizens. The European Commission has begun this challenging task and EuroISPA, as representative of the main stakeholders of the sector, is committed to advise and represent the interests of the Internet industry in these policy discussions”

EuroISPA highlights importance of self-regulation in ensuring a safe Internet environment

The European Internet Service Providers Association marked the 2015 Safer Internet Day by highlighting the importance of industry self-regulation in ensuring the Internet is a safe environment for all, especially the young. Counting several national hotline operators among its membership, EuroISPA fully supports the Safer Internet Day’s “lets create a better internet together” message.

EuroISPA members in France, Germany, Ireland and Austria take a leading role at national level to help ensure the internet is a safe environment for young users. Through industry-funded and managed national hotlines, a secure and confidential environment is provided where the public can anonymously report Internet material they suspect to be illegal.

As the most up-to-date INHOPE data confirms, 98 % of all user reports to national hotlines are forwarded to law enforcement agencies within one day. Moreover, in 91 % of cases, illegal content is deleted within three days. With over 500 000 reports made to European hotlines each year, EuroISPA calls on the EU and its Member States to maintain strong support for hotlines dedicated to ensuring a safer internet.

“EuroISPA strongly supports the principle of ‘working together for a better Internet’ that is promoted by Safer Internet Day. As Internet services rapidly evolve, fast and flexible responses are necessary to ensure downside issues such as illegal content are properly addressed. As the experience and daily work of our hotline-operating members continue to show, the distribution of illegal content over the Internet can best be tackled by the industry and its users cooperating within a self-regulatory approach, governed by the existing legal principles agreed at European level.“, said Nicolas D’Arcy, co-chair of EuroISPA’s safer internet committee.

EuroISPA welcomes the Commission’s new Work Programme

The European Internet Service Providers Association (EuroISPA) is committed to actively participate in the debate about the creation of a Single Market for telecoms and digital services, including the Connected Continent proposal, in order to encourage the development of a free, competitive and open telecommunications market. We see this as something of great benefit to society as a whole, but also essential to the healthy development of the Internet.

EuroISPA welcomes the publication of the European Commission’s 2015 Work Programme and notes, with satisfaction, that special emphasis is dedicated to the construction of a true Digital Single Market, including the reform for copyright, while other major reforms of the past Commission remain in the pipeline. In these areas EuroISPA is looking forward to continue contributing to discussions on the Digital Single Market in a constructive manner.

“The reform of copyright, as part of the establishment of the Digital Single Market, will be a fundamental test for the ambitious objectives of the new Commission” said Innocenzo Genna, Chair of EuroISPA’s Innovation and Growth committee.

EuroISPA supports Commission’s Action plan on intellectual property rights enforcement

The European Internet Services Providers Association considers it very important to tackle illegal sharing of copyright material online. At the same time the association believes that the current framework offers a well-balanced and efficient framework for rightsholders to enforce their rights and intermediaries to play their respective part.

Therefore EuroISPA supports the European Commission’s ongoing initiative on the IPR enforcement Action plan allowing Member States and relevant stakeholders to address specific issues raised by the implementation of Directive. EuroISPA considers it very important to tackle illegal sharing of copyright material online.

“Our association believes that the focus of any European initiative on the protection of IPRs should be directed towards encouraging the creation of innovative, affordable content services, based on business models which are able to embrace the Internet revolution. This is a far more effective strategy for enforcing IPRs than an increasingly repressive legislation which would inevitably produce the opposite result” said Malcolm Hutty, Chair of EuroISPA’s Intermediary Liability committee.

EuroISPA welcomes the newly elected Commission

The European Internet Services Providers Association welcomes today’s vote in the European Parliament on the European Commission. EuroISPA would like to state its support for President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker’s ambition to unlock the Digital Single Market and create a truly Digital Europe -as he stated in his opening speech and manifesto.

EuroISPA also supports the appointment of a Vice-President for the Digital Single Market working on the integration of the innovation and digitalization principles into all EU legislation, thereby ensuring that EU policy is forward-looking, future-proof and consistent across the Commission.

„The new Commission is well positioned with Andrus Ansip as Vice President for the Digital Single Market and Günther Oettinger , Commissioner for the digital economy and society. We are confident, that the Commission will set the right crucial course in order to achieve a well-balanced framework for a competitive Internet Industry in Europe“, said Oliver Sueme, President of the European Internet Services Providers Association.

EuroISPA supports the European Parliament efforts to ensure a targeted network and information security in Europe

As part of the Security Alliance For Europe (SAFE), the European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA) fully supports the Commission’s intention to improve network and information security in Europe. EuroISPA shares the view that a higher level of network and information security can only be ensured if it is targeted, proportional and focuses the scarce resources on protecting what is truly critical to a country’s economic and national security, public health and safety.

EuroISPA would like to call on the institutions of the European Union to follow the European Parliament’s focus on these critical infrastructures and functions. This would improve the overall network and information security, and ensure that for example small internet service providers don’t need to unnecessarily invest in implementing systems that would duplicate reports already sent out by critical service providers.

“EuroISPA agrees that understanding the risks and organizing effective protective measures is a complex undertaking that requires close cooperation between the public and private operators. Therefore we support the intention to create a dialogue involving these entities in order to improve collective preparedness and more effectively prevent, mitigate and deal with cyber incidents and threats,” said Maximilian Schubert, Chair of EuropISPA’s Cyber crime and Security Committee.