Democracy needs to be preserved even during pandemics. The European Parliament, therefore—in order to make decisions—has been voting remotely since March. There is not just one single voting procedure used in the Parliament at this moment. How the Bureau of the European Parliament enabled remote voting The Bureau of the European Parliament temporarily allowed voting by e-mail back in March. In addition to it, some committees started using an internally developed voting application, which is fully dependent on the proprietary Apple platform. [Read More]
Independence of public media
Lessons from Warsaw
The election of new members of the Czech Television Council in May raised concerns about the direction and independence of the Czech Television. One of the worst-case scenarios of what could happen to public service media is the TVP in Poland. Unfortunately, it has been transformed into a propagandist channel of the government party Law and Justice (PiS). The last months and weeks of the gripping presidential campaign between Andrzej Duda and Rafal Trzaskowski demonstrated, why we can’t just stand by while others are trying to delegitimize and paralyze the Czech Television. [Read More]
Czech presidency of the Council of the European Union
An already wasted opportunity?
Since last week, Germany took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union from Croatia—the youngest Member State. Their main priorities include the recovery after COVID-19 as well as the fight with climate change. Another important goal is digitization. Two years from now, the presidency will be in the hands of Czechia, which will take over this venerable position from France. Hence, Czechia will have a unique opportunity to be heard in the Union. [Read More]
Who you gonna call?
Liability for Artificial Intelligence
Much has already been said about the various cases of use of Artificial Intelligence and their merits in terms of how it can improve health care, correct driving of a vehicle, increase efficiency in farming, and more. However, wrong application of Artificial Intelligence might cause unintentional accidents too. That is where civil liability comes into question. The legal framework can ensure that victims are compensated for the harm they suffered and incentivize the liable party to avoid causing any damage. [Read More]
European joint action on disinformation
During the COVID-19 crisis, people witnessed an unprecedented amount of disinformation. Bad actors spread false information in bad faith—capitalizing on the fear and uncertainty of people—such as different conspiracy theories about the origins of the pandemic, or tried to deceive consumers by advertising fake medicine. United European action against disinformation That is the reason why the Commission decided to step up and tackle the spread of disinformation, which is outlined in their paper. [Read More]
Remote voting in the European Parliament
Why iVote is a strategic mistake
The COVID-19 crisis created a lot of challenge on many fronts. The European Parliament is not an exception. One of the challenges lies in enabling Members of the European Parliament to vote remotely while respecting law, rules of procedure, and democratic principles. Current solution for remote voting So far, bodies of the European Parliament vote remotely based on a decision of the Bureau of the European Parliament that made temporarily remote voting possible by e-mail. [Read More]
Digital Services Act
My amendments to the Saliba draft report
In my previous blog post, I analyzed the new Digital Services Act draft report from Alex Agius Saliba, which will serve as one of the main reports for the Parliament opinion on the future Internet regulation governing platforms behavior towards illegal content on-line. Last week, I filed amendments (1, 2) in order to remedy the problems with the report. Anything new? While correcting the issues mentioned in my previous post, I also included some new additions: [Read More]
Parliament's voice in shaping the future Internet regulation
Loud and clear on the Digital Services Act
The Digital Services Act is expected to be one of the most important pieces of legislation in this parliamentary term, enhancing the liability and safety regime of Internet platforms, services, and on-line marketplaces. Since the recovery plan of the European economy after COVID-19 crisis stands on two pillars—the Green New Deal and digitization—the urgent necessity to draft this act just right is our major task for the following months. This legislation will update the 2000s Directive on Electronic Commerce, which defined levels of protection of rights and freedoms on-line and how intermediaries—such as social media or search engines—govern users activities on their platforms. [Read More]
Lessons learned from the Avia law
Warning: French on-line hate speech law to be adopted tomorrow!
While the European Union is about to start the process leading to the adoption of the Digital Services Act, a.k.a. the future Internet regulation, France—as one of the most powerful countries in the Council—proceeds with its own legislation. On May 13, the French Avia law governing platforms conduct regarding hate speech on-line, shall get adopted in the final reading. The text has been voted previously in the Assemblée Nationale. The original text The draft law, as originally proposed and notified to the Commission, introduces extremely strict rules on on-line platforms (i. [Read More]
Streaming quality reduction
Was it necessary?
Lockdown, social distancing, work from home, and on-line schooling resulted in an increased demand for Internet connectivity during the coronavirus crisis. The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the Commission stated that the network is not congested; however, that the Internet traffic is increasing. In order to avoid network congestion, the Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, called on the streaming platforms to lower the quality of streaming during the coronavirus crisis, in another words switching from high definition to a standard one. [Read More]