Euro-Parliament backs greater rights for telecoms, internet users

The European parliament approved Tuesday a major overhaul of EU telecoms law aimed at boosting the rights of European mobile phone and Internet users and protection against access restrictions. The move, after months of bargaining, was eventually approved by a broad majority. It unblocks a package of reforms due to be implemented in the next 18 months to “enhance consumer rights, safeguard Internet freedom, protect data, boost competition and modernise radio spectrum use,” according to the parliament. Under the bill, authorities would no longer be able to cut off Internet services to users without providing evidence of illegal downloading or other activity. In cases deemed urgent enough to require immediate action, the procedures must be in line with Europe’s human rights rules. The draft law would also boost privacy and consumer rights, make it easier for customers to switch telecoms providers and increase competition for Internet and phone services. When changing providers, customers will have the right to keep their old phone number. The new rules also make it obligatory to obtain users’ consent before installing Internet “cookies” that log websites viewed. The deal stresses that “citizens in the EU are entitled to a prior fair and impartial procedure, including the right to be heard, and they have a right to an effective and timely judicial review.”


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