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Porn Ban Update: Europarl Responds By Spamfiltering Constituents, Then Deletes Explanation Of Porn Ban But Keeps Effect

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Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech

The European Parliament has responded to protests against a ban on pornography by spamfiltering its consistuents’ protests, then deleting the explanation of what the bill does from the bill. While this can be typical behavior from the European Parliament (as we saw in the ACTA battle), that doesn’t make it any more excusable. This is, quite frankly, not something that politicians deserve to get away with.

First, some background: a so-called initiative report is coming to a vote next week that seeks to reinforce a previous ban on pornography in advertising and extend it into an undefined scope of internet traffic. As the report is written, it is easy to read its language as including all sexual communication online between consenting adults; the language is very broad and vague in scope.

An initiative report is a way for Parliament to express its opinion to those actually drafting legislation. It has been described as “legally non-binding”, but it is a little more than that – when legislation is drafted, it falls back on the opinions expressed by Parliament. Therefore, it is closer to a request for drafting of legislation on the matter, which would later come to a (binding) vote.

So, “stop a pebble before you have to stop a landslide”.

Like all other reports, this one has a single Member of European Parliament who is responsible for it, but up until yesterday, it was a done deal. It would just pass without notice. This morning, a lot of confusion was caused as hundreds and hundreds of people mailed (as per yesterday’s article) to all of Parliament. The issue went from a done deal to open for discussion. This was a huge win in itself, and we should all pat ourselves on the back for that.

What happened next is just dishonorable. The European Parliament’s IT group started classifying mail from its constituents as spam, on the server side, so the Members of European Parliament never saw the protests. Apparently, this happened following requests from individual MEPs. The Pirate Party office in Brussels was practically screaming in French-language emails to explain the dishonor in this behavior, and MEP Christian Engström has more details.

Also, hundreds of protest mails kept pouring in that protested agricultural subsidies, so it was just the protests against the ban on online pornography that was targeted for spam filtering.

(UPDATE on this topic: technical tests showed that it was the words “gender stereotypes” that caused a mail to be silently dropped. On International Women’s Day. You couldn’t make it up if they gave you a million. Therefore, the mail template below deliberately misspells “gender stereotypes”.)

The second thing that happened was that a MEP that acted as responsible for the ban on online pornography removed the explanation of that from the report. Removed the explanation, but not the effect. The new report, as written, still extends a previous ban on pornography in advertising into new forms of media, specifically the internet, and still calls for ISP to police that ban. It just carefully hides the fact that it does so:

17. Calls on the EU and its Member States to take concrete action on its resolution of 16 September 1997 on discrimination against women in advertising, which called for a ban on all forms of pornography in the media and on the advertising of sex tourism;

Even with those words taken out, this is still a reference to this report, which still has this wording describing a legislative carpet ban on pornography in “the media”:

5. Calls for statutory measures to prevent any form of pornography in the media and in advertising and for a ban on advertising for pornographic products and sex tourism

So striking out those words in point 17 of the new report has no other effect than deliberately obscuring the purpose of the new report, following loud objections over it. The key words “the media” in the old report are still redefined in point 14 in the new report to include the Internet, and Internet Service Providers are still called upon to unaccountably police the net:

14. Points out that a policy to eliminate stereotypes in the media will of necessity involve action in the digital field; considers that this requires the launching of initiatives coordinated at EU level with a view to developing a genuine culture of equality on the internet; calls on the Commission to draw up in partnership with the parties concerned a charter to which all internet operators will be invited to adhere

This can feel a bit like wrapping your head against a gentle slice of sweet soft lime, then banging it hard against a brick wall.

When I set up the mail alias yesterday to make it easier to mail the European Parliament, that was my goal – I wanted to lower the wall between elected and electorate. The elected swiftly responded by erecting new walls to not have to bother with their constituents, and that has me seriously annoyed. So instead of using my remailer at [email protected], I will supply you with all the addresses so that you can mail them all individually, rather than going through my server.

Therefore, I include the full list of addresses below. It looks quite large. That’s because it is.

The mail that has the best effect to Parliament is always one where you write exactly what you think and feel about an issue. One such mail is worth a hundred copied-and-pasted letters. So while I provide a sample mail below, I would really encourage you to write to the European Parliament from your heart instead. Don’t worry about getting the tone or the formalities right – these people work for you. You pay their salary. It is their job to listen to your concerns.

So send a mail right now:

From: (You)
To: [email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],elisabeth.morinchartier@europarl.europa.eu,philippe.boulland@europarl.europa.eu,jean-pierre.audy@europarl.europa.eu,marie-therese.sanchez-schmid@europarl.europa.eu,veronique.mathieu@europarl.europa.eu,tokia.saifi@europarl.europa.eu,corinne.lepage@europarl.europa.eu,sylvie.goulard@europarl.europa.eu,nathalie.griesbeck@europarl.europa.eu,robert.rochefort@europarl.europa.eu,marielle.desarnez@europarl.europa.eu,jean-luc.bennahmias@europarl.europa.eu,jose.bove@europarl.europa.eu,malika.benarab-attou@europarl.europa.eu,eva.joly@europarl.europa.eu,michele.rivasi@europarl.europa.eu,sandrine.belier@europarl.europa.eu,jean-paul.besset@europarl.europa.eu,catherine.greze@europarl.europa.eu,daniel.cohn-bendit@europarl.europa.eu,yves.cochet@europarl.europa.eu,karima.delli@europarl.europa.eu,helene.flautre@europarl.europa.eu,nicole.kiil-nielsen@europarl.europa.eu,yannick.jadot@europarl.europa.eu,francois.alfonsi@europarl.europa.eu,jacky.henin@europarl.europa.eu,marie-christine.vergiat@europarl.europa.eu,patrick.lehyaric@europarl.europa.eu,jean-luc.melenchon@europarl.europa.eu,younous.omarjee@europarl.europa.eu,philippe.devilliers@europarl.europa.eu,henri.weber@europarl.europa.eu,bernadette.vergnaud@europarl.europa.eu,pervenche.beres@europarl.europa.eu,stephane.lefoll@europarl.europa.eu,harlem.desir@europarl.europa.eu,liem.hoangngoc@europarl.europa.eu,catherine.trautmann@europarl.europa.eu,gilles.pargneaux@europarl.europa.eu,francoise.castex@europarl.europa.eu,patrice.tirolien@europarl.europa.eu,sylvie.guillaume@europarl.europa.eu,jean-marie.lepen@europarl.europa.eu,bruno.gollnisch@europarl.europa.eu,marine.lepen@europarl.europa.eu,rodi.kratsa-tsagaropoulou@europarl.europa.eu,georgios.papanikolaou@europarl.europa.eu,georgios.papastamkos@europarl.europa.eu,marietta.giannakou@europarl.europa.eu,konstantinos.poupakis@europarl.europa.eu,georgios.koumoutsakos@europarl.europa.eu,ioannis.tsoukalas@europarl.europa.eu,theodoros.skylakakis@europarl.europa.eu,nikos.chrysogelos@europarl.europa.eu,nikolaos.chountis@europarl.europa.eu,charalampos.angourakis@europarl.europa.eu,georgios.toussas@europarl.europa.eu,niki.tzavela@europarl.europa.eu,nikolaos.salavrakos@europarl.europa.eu,anni.podimata@europarl.europa.eu,chrysoula.paliadeli@europarl.europa.eu,mariaeleni.koppa@europarl.europa.eu,sylvana.rapti@europarl.europa.eu,dimitrios.droutsas@europarl.europa.eu,georgios.stavrakakis@europarl.europa.eu,kriton.arsenis@europarl.europa.eu,spyros.danellis@europarl.europa.eu,sean.kelly@europarl.europa.eu,jim.higgins@europarl.europa.eu,gay.mitchell@europarl.europa.eu,mairead.mcguinness@europarl.europa.eu,marian.harkin@europarl.europa.eu,liam.aylward@europarl.europa.eu,briancrowleymep@eircom.net,patthecope.gallagher@europarl.europa.eu,paul.murphy@europarl.europa.eu,phil.prendergast@europarl.europa.eu,emer.costello@europarl.europa.eu,nessa.childers@europarl.europa.eu,cristiana.muscardini@europarl.europa.eu,salvatore.tatarella@europarl.europa.eu,alfredo.pallone@europarl.europa.eu,paolo.bartolozzi@europarl.europa.eu,iva.zanicchi@europarl.europa.eu,elisabetta.gardini@europarl.europa.eu,barbara.matera@europarl.europa.eu,mario.mauro@europarl.europa.eu,alfredo.antoniozzi@europarl.europa.eu,aldo.patriciello@eur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arl.europa.eu,eider.gardiazabalrubial@europarl.europa.eu,iratxe.garcia-perez@europarl.europa.eu,enrique.guerrerosalom@europarl.europa.eu,vicente.garcesramon@europarl.europa.eu,alejandro.cercas@europarl.europa.eu,luis.yanez@europarl.europa.eu,teresa.rieramadurell@europarl.europa.eu,ines.ayalasender@europarl.europa.eu,andres.perellorodriguez@europarl.europa.eu,dolores.garcia-hierrocaraballo@europarl.europa.eu,maria.irigoyenperez@europarl.europa.eu,juanfernando.lopezaguilar@europarl.europa.eu,maria.munizdeurquiza@europarl.europa.eu,antolin.sanchezpresedo@europarl.europa.eu,miguelangel.martinez@europarl.europa.eu,ricardo.corteslastra@europarl.europa.eu,antonio.masiphidalgo@europarl.europa.eu,josefa.andresbarea@europarl.europa.eu,carmen.romerolopez@europarl.europa.eu,emilio.menendezdelvalle@europarl.europa.eu,raimon.obiolsigerma@europarl.europa.eu,maria.badiaicutchet@europarl.europa.eu,francisco.sosawagner@europarl.europa.eu,phil.bennion@europarl.europa.eu,edward.mcmillan-scott@europarl.europa.eu,rebecca.taylor@europarl.europa.eu,graham.watson@europarl.europa.eu,chris@chrisdaviesmep.org.uk,fiona.hall@europarl.europa.eu,catherine.bearder@europarl.europa.eu,andrew.duff@europarl.europa.eu,sarah.ludford@europarl.europa.eu,sharon.bowles@europarl.europa.eu,george.lyon@europarl.europa.eu,bill.newtondunn@europarl.europa.eu,keith.taylor@europarl.europa.eu,jean.lambert@europarl.europa.eu,Jill.evans@europarl.europa.eu,ian.hudghton@europarl.europa.eu,alyn.smith@europarl.europa.eu,bairbre.debrun@europarl.europa.eu,robert.sturdy@europarl.europa.eu,giles.chichester@europarl.europa.eu,vicky.ford@europarl.europa.eu,nirj.deva@europarl.europa.eu,struan.stevenson@europarl.europa.eu,ashley.fox@europarl.europa.eu,jacqueline.foster@europarl.europa.eu,james.elles@europarl.europa.eu,kay.swinburne@europarl.europa.eu,anthea.mcintyre@europarl.europa.eu,sajjad.karim@europarl.europa.eu,timothy.kirkhope@europarl.europa.eu,daniel.hannan@europarl.europa.eu,malcolm.harbour@europarl.europa.eu,martin.callanan@europarl.europa.eu,robert.atkins@europarl.europa.eu,philip.bradbourn@europarl.europa.eu,julie.girling@europarl.europa.eu,emma.mcclarkin@europarl.europa.eu,david.campbellbannerman@europarl.europa.eu,charles.tannock@europarl.europa.eu,geoffrey.vanorden@europarl.europa.eu,marina.yannakoudakis@europarl.europa.eu,richardjames.ashworth@europarl.europa.eu,james.nicholson@europarl.europa.eu,roger.helmer@europarl.europa.eu,nigel.farage@europarl.europa.eu,godfrey.bloom@europarl.europa.eu,paul.nuttall@europarl.europa.eu,marta.andreasen@europarl.europa.eu,derekroland.clark@europarl.europa.eu,william.dartmouth@europarl.europa.eu,johnstuart.agnew@europarl.europa.eu,john.bufton@europarl.europa.eu,gerard.batten@europarl.europa.eu,catherine.stihler@europarl.europa.eu,michael.cashman@europarl.europa.eu,arlene.mccarthy@europarl.europa.eu,linda.mcavan@europarl.europa.eu,glenis.willmott@europarl.europa.eu,david.martin@europarl.europa.eu,claude.moraes@europarl.europa.eu,stephen.hughes@europarl.europa.eu,peter.skinner@europarl.europa.eu,brian.simpson@europarl.europa.eu,derek.vaughan@europarl.europa.eu,richard.howitt@europarl.europa.eu,mary.honeyball@europarl.europa.eu,andrew.brons@europarl.europa.eu,nick.griffin@europarl.europa.eu,diane.dodds@europarl.europa.eu,trevor.colman@europarl.europa.eu,michaelhenry.nattrass@europarl.europa.eu,nikki.sinclaire@europarl.europa.eu,alf.svensson@europarl.europa.eu,anna.ibrisagic@europarl.europa.eu,christofer.fjellner@europarl.europa.eu,annamaria.corazzabildt@europarl.europa.eu,gunnar.hokmark@europarl.europa.eu,kent.johansson@europarl.europa.eu,olle.schmidt@europarl.europa.eu,marit.paulsen@europarl.europa.eu,cecilia.wikstrom@europarl.europa.eu,carl.schlyter@europarl.europa.eu,isabella.loevin@europarl.europa.eu,christian.engstroem@europarl.europa.eu
Subject: Disappointed and concerned regarding handling of gedner steroetype report

Dear MEP,

(Write your own here. Below provided as sample. Do not use.)

I have a problem with three recent events in the European Parliament, and I would ask you to listen to my concerns.

Yesterday, there was a legitimate protest against an extension on a ban against pornography in advertising to cover the Internet in the report “Eliminating Genedr Steoretypes in the EU”. The language is so vague and broad that it can easily be read to include a ban on sexual communication against consenting adults, and as such, passing this report would be incompatible with fundamental rights and freedoms in a democratic society.

This report is my first problem. The response to the legitimate objections are the two others.

The European Parliament responded by deleting the explanation (but not the legal meaning) of this report, deliberately obscuring the legal meaning that led to the protests, and by classifying mail from its own constituents as spam, filtering out voters who tried to reach their representatives – essentially throwing letters from voters in the trash, letters about gedner steroretypes (deliberately misspelled here) on International Women’s Day. Seriously, what was Parliament _thinking_?

While the first can be seen as an understandable mistake that is intended to be caught by democratic checks and balances, the other two of these actions are unprofessional and unworthy of the European Union as the world’s largest democracy. We elect you every five years and expect you to be proud of your work when presenting it in full to the electorate for re-election. This is not something I would be proud of in such a situation.

In summary, I urge you to reject the initiative report mentioned above, and consider the fact that we do put a value on being in touch with our elected representatives.

Sincerely,
[Your name]
[Your country]

Mail something like this to the European Parliament right now and tell them exactly how you feel about this display of disrespect and unprofessionalism.

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About The Author: Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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  1. 2
    infirit

    It seems your link is modified somehow but when I look now at below it does contain the wording we are against. Could it be that only your link is updated?

    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A7-2012-401&language=EN

  2. 3
    noko

    Hey, MEPs,

    North Korea called.

    They want their moral highground back.

  3. 4
    Jan Andersen

    I went searching for the adresses for the Danish representatives (and some of their ‘political consultants’) and sent them this note.

    Jeg hører at du og dine medparlametariker skal til stemmeknapperne om et forslag til en rekommandaten lov til en beslutning (eller noget i den stil), som forsøger at luske et forbud mod pornografi og deslige i “medier” igennem.

    Det er pænt pakket ind, med masser af fine ord om ligestilling, bekæmpelse af fordomme og stereotyper, men så er der lige det der med f.eks. et frivilligt samarbejde med internetudbyderer om at censurer porno.

    Jeg og mange andre har gennemskuet den der metode med frivillighed. Den kommer typisk til anvendelse når man vil luske noget igennem som strider mod diverse grundliggende rettigheder. “Men det er jo ikke nogen lov, det er rent frivilligt!”. Nej, men som med julegaver, så er det tanken som tæller.

    Og her er tanken tydeligvis at EU, og i anden omgang staten, skal blande sig i min private kommunikation, og det i hvad voksne mennesker enten gør i deres fritid eller mod en lille økonomisk kompensation foretager sig foran et kamera.

    Det vil jeg kraftigt protesterer imod.

    For al del, bekæmp alt hvad der har med tvang at gøre, men fratag ikke voksne mennesker som er ved deres fulde fem retten til at anvende deres egen krop efter bedste overbevisning.

    (åh ja, og sig til de der nisser nede i parlamentets IT-afdeling at det ikke er acceptabelt at spærre for e-post til de ærede parlamentsmedlemmer – #mepblock)

    Mvh

  4. […] Rickard Falkvinge Posted in:  Världen […]

  5. 5
    Kube

    I already sent another mail. This one I wrote myself.

    I just could not believe it; MEP complain and request to filter emails from the constituents they are supposedly representing… can it get any worse?

  6. 6
    Cp

    Such stunt cannot be left unanswered. They consider their voters’ voice a spam. Let them have all the spam they want.
    Message sent.
    P.S.
    In Poland we faced similar reaction recently. I only hope that we won’t see it becoming a standard in relations between politicians and voters.

  7. 7
    cp

    Such stunt cannot be left unanswered. If they consider their voters’ opinions spam, then let them hear more spam.
    Message sent.

    P.S.
    Recently, we had a similar situation in Poland. I only hope that it won’t become a trend.

    • 7.1
      cp

      Sorry for duplicate posts. At first it seemed to be either a problem with the website or failed CAPTCHA. Delete the 2nd post (and this comment) if possible.

  8. 8

    Nobody can force Members of the European Parliament to read their e-mail – or to watch porn – but there is no right for the European Parliament to interfere in either. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union enshrines our (universal) rights:

    Article 11
    Freedom of expression and information

    1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.

    2. The freedom and pluralism of the media shall be respected.

  9. 9
    Pedro

    I sent one mail based on Rick’s previous article about this matter but, after reading this article, i get the nasty feeling that it didn’t go through. In the morning, with less sleep in my head, i will write another one, with my own words, of course, and at the bottom put a small note about this “censoring” taking place. They might end up considering my messages spam but this cannot be left unanswered, either subject (the report and the “censoring” mails)!

    Act as soon as you can, people… and fast!

  10. 10
    Colin

    E-mail sent, though Yahoo thinks I’m spamming! Are they in league with the anti democratic forces?…;-)

  11. 11
    DavidXanatos

    What exactly have they put on the spam filter?
    The remiler server, or parts of the message content?

    David X.

  12. 12
    Atro

    Some of the addresses on the list are misspelled or otherwise dysfunctional. It also appears that the Euro parliament postmasters are incompetent (5.7.1 is “policy rejection”, 5.1.1 would be “unknown recipient).

    : host mail10.europarl.europa.eu[136.173.59.225]
    said: 550 5.7.1 Unknown recipient

    : host
    mail15.europarl.europa.eu[136.173.59.226] said: 550 5.7.1 Unknown recipient

    : Host or domain name not found. Name
    service error for name=euuroparl.europa.eu type=A: Host not found

    : host
    mail10.europarl.europa.eu[136.173.59.225] said: 550 5.7.1 Unknown recipient
    was submitted by host

    : host europarl.eu[62.149.128.45] said: 550 5.7.1
    Unable to relay for claude.moraes@europarl.eu (in reply to RCPT TO command)

    Here’s what was sent.

    Subject: Re: Eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU

    Dear MEPs,

    I wonder if you got this message of mine yesterday through the remailer operated by the Dutch Pirate Party – it appears that your IT department are dishonourably classifying mail from constituents as spam.

    Spam is unsolicited bulk email. But messages from your constituents to you are not unsolicited.

    The European Parliament, or any other political organ, does not exist in a vacuum. You are in fact working for me, and for half a billion other people like me; the citizens of the member countries of the European Union. You were elected to run the show only because the voters chose you. The voters can elect somebody else the next time around. In the meantime, your responsibility is to those who chose you, and by filtering messages from them, you are neglecting that responsibility.

    Anyway, on to the meat of the matter.

    Apparently you are going to vote on a report on eliminating gender stereotypes next week.

    I am under the impression that the report seeks to enforce a ban of all pornography in “media”, including the Internet, and calls upon businesses and other parties that are not a form of law enforcement to carry out this ban.

    Outsourcing police (or, more widely, government in general) duties to businesses sounds like a poor idea. In addition, the idea of censoring content (such as expressed in Paragraphs 14 and 17 of the report) does not sound very compatible with the basic rights of freedom of expression such as laid out in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

    I’d also like to point your attention to the fact that the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it. Any such measures will amount to nothing more but a colossal waste of taxpayer money.

    I urge you to reject the report, and to discuss the issue with each other from the viewpoint of Article 10 as well as from the viewpoint of all former shortcomings regarding censorship of the Internet, such as the fiasco that is the Finnish attempt to ban child pornography on the Internet (which has not worked at all and has only resulted in the “censorship” of sites not related to CP, such as a site that provides opinions against said legislation and details its shortcomings).

    Best regards,

  13. 13
    Atro

    Oops. Unescaped < and > in my original comment caused the addresses to be interpreted as HTML code, leading to their omission from view. Here they are again.

    <gianlep@europarl.europa.eu>: host mail10.europarl.europa.eu[136.173.59.225]
    said: 550 5.7.1 Unknown recipient

    <paulo.carvalho@europarl.europa.eu>: host
    mail15.europarl.europa.eu[136.173.59.226] said: 550 5.7.1 Unknown recipient

    <vladimir.manka@euuroparl.europa.eu>: Host or domain name not found. Name
    service error for name=euuroparl.europa.eu type=A: Host not found

    <josefa.andresba@europarl.europa.eu>: host
    mail10.europarl.europa.eu[136.173.59.225] said: 550 5.7.1 Unknown recipient

    <claude.moraes@europarl.eu>: host europarl.eu[62.149.128.45] said: 550 5.7.1
    Unable to relay for claude.moraes@europarl.eu (in reply to RCPT TO command)

  14. 14
    Pierre-Emmanuel

    Mail sent

    (like yesterday, with my own word, and in two mail since gmail have a ‘spam’ protection that bock email with more than 500 people !!)

  15. 15

    Gmail doesn’t allow to send an e-mail to so many recipients at once :-(.

    • 15.1
      Andrei

      Dear MEP,

      Three events that raise serious concerns for me have taken place recently in the European Parliament.

      The report “Eliminating Gender Stereotypes in the EU” contains language that would extend a ban on pornography to cover the Internet. The extremely vague and broad nature of the language in the report could be interpreted as mandating a ban on sexual communication of consenting adults. Passing such a report would not only be incompatible with fundamental rights in a free and democratic society, but also lead to unnecessary and probably arbitrary censorship of the Internet. Evidently, this has raised a number of protests and an e-mail campaign by many concerned citizens who value their rights under Article 10 of the ECHR.
      However, the European Parliament’s response to the legitimate protests of European Citizens has been even more worrying.
      First, the explanation (but not the legal language itself) of the report was deleted, in a clear attempt to obscure the legal meaning that led to the protest in the first place.
      Second, at the request of some MEPs, the Parliament’s IT group has begun blocking the emails of constituents protesting about this, by classifying them as spam. This has meant that individual MEPs are unable to receive email from their constituents and it’s the modern day equivalent of throwing citizen’s letters to their representatives in the trash, effectively violating their right to petition.

      While the report itself is an understandable mistake that will be discussed and analyzed by the EP, the two responses which I have mentioned above are not only unprofessional, but deeply undemocratic. This is not how a democracy is supposed to work, especially when we’re talking about one representing 500 million citizens. Do not forget that we are the ones who have elected you, and the ones who ultimately pay the Parliament’s bills, including the salaries of the few MEPs who seem to think the opinions of citizens are something to be thrown in the trash and discarded whenever they feel inconvenient.

      Also, what some MEPs fail to realize is that the European Parliament does not operate in a vacuum. We, the citizens, are closely watching what goes on in the body that represents our interests, and we coordinate our efforts, time, energy, money and votes in order to see those interests safeguarded. Attempting to silence critics like this in the age of near-universal Internet access is not only short-sighted, but also increasingly political poison. The enormous wave of protests over ACTA should have made this clear.

      In summary, I urge you to reject the initiative report mentioned above, and to make sure that citizen’s opinions never ever again end up marked as spam.

  16. 16
    Mike

    Sent.

    Utterly outrageous behaviour, but symptomatic of wider issues.

    I would like to propose a “three strikes” system for MEPs.

    After a voting session, each MEP is required to complete a short (perhaps 20 questions) multiple choice test on what it was they were actually voting on.

    If they fail the test, their vote is excluded on the basis that it’s uninformed and irrelevant.

    Three failures and they can go look for another job.

    Unfortunately, I’ve no reasonable expectation that they wouldn’t cheat.

  17. 17
    Radnour

    Makes me so mad. Mail Sent.

  18. 18
    Max Pont

    Start calling the MEPs. Here is a list of all the names:

    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/full-list.html;jsessionid=6814BE4B50B9BA6836DFF4AD2695C366.node1

    Switchboard phone: +32(0)2 28 42111

  19. 19
    Andrei

    Sent, with custom text. One thing though, the EU isn’t the world’s largest democracy, India is :)

  20. 20
    Sara

    Additional information – the mails are still being stopped at server level. Only now the ban is even bigger, Christian’s work emails from the Pirate party are also being blocked. This means in practise that an elected MEP is prevented from fulfilling his democratic duties (and his job.)

  21. 21
    Allan Savolainen

    I guess we must begin faxing, that is somewhat more difficult to block :)

  22. 22
    A regular on an unsafe line

    This is just despiccable behaviour from the MEPs and their IT dept.

    Clssifying mail as spam should be enough to get them fired, even prosecuted. But, in the EU you don’t attack politician, politician attack you!

  23. 23
    John Q. Galt

    Benevolent Dictators and their Benevolent Sexism, eh? Where’s Camille Paglia when you need her.

  24. […] Rick Falkvinge roept op het protest tegen de resolutie voort te zetten. Hij constateert kosmetische wijzingen van de initiatiefnemers om de resolutie door te zetten. Nu zoeken ze nog meer het geniep. Het gaat in deze kwestie niet zozeer om het willen ontlopen van maatregelen op het gebied van pornografie of sexisme. Vele zinnige maatregelen zijn voorstelbaar om met name de positie van vrouwen te verbeteren. De Zweedse piraten gaat het om de oneigenlijke koppeling van deze onderwerpen aan de informatievrijheid. Juist omdat deze onderwerpen politiek correct gevoelig liggen werpt dit een extra drempel op voor oppositie ertegen. Deze episode toont aan dat voor de bescherming van de internetvrijheid piraten goed begrijpen wat de noodzaak is van deze vrijheid omdat ze hiermee principieel handelen zonder te marchanderen met hun gedachtengoed. […]

  25. 24
    fhf

    I’ve emailed my protest to them. Hope this law will not pass…
    I was wandering what will happened if it passed….

  26. 25
    Ano Nymous

    I’d love to take the old fax machine out for a spin, as Allan Savolainen recommended, but I dare not send such a message from an identifyable line. I have sent an email anonymously, explaining that the purpose of my anonymity is not to appear as more than one individual, and that the mail is the only one from me.

    Cowardly and paranoid? Maybe. Safe from registration of people with “bad” opinions? Absolutely. I am convinced that such registration is occuring daily. Too much bad shit has happened for it not to.

  27. 27

    I’ve sent a mail in Swedish to all Swedish MEP:s. Some came bouncing back but I guess I got through to the rest.

  28. 28

    Norway is not a member of the EU and don’t have any representatives – yet we implement the most EU laws of all the countries in the world. This *will* affect us aswell!

    Thanks Rick for noticing, bringing attention to and directing action against this measure.

    And by “this measure” I mean this moronic, ignorant, damaging hurtful and unconstitutional act of spam-filtering your constituents…

  29. 29
    Kristian

    Hey. iam also from norway. sorry for my bad english.
    I have sent a letter to most of them, some with failur, and some i think, got through.
    When they make new laws like this, to ban x.rated stuff etc.. It is like seeing the history repeat its self. Look what happend to USA, when they did ban alcohol. Who got alot of money off it?
    The mafia and organized crimed. the same will happend here. This law, will to the oppsitt, than helping girls and men in that busniess. The human-trafficing will be greater etc. and the people in that buisness, have no voice. Instead of banning like this, you should make it legal, and get the girls and men in that buisness to get organized, and have an indipended, organize that people who whold like to get out of that buisness, help , or advice people if they wanted to work in that buisness. you will, if that law gets through, founding the mafia, and organized crime. It is like seeing the history repeat it self. Many best regards

  30. 30
    DannyUfonek

    Hey all,
    sent a Czech version to all 22 Czech MEPs.
    If you want to do so too, I’ve freely translated Rick’s template for you to send:
    http://freetexthost.com/o10c44klak

  31. 31
    Pedro

    One last message just sent. The first didn’t go through. Returned an error but that was before we all learned what was really going on. The second one, like i said in a previous comment here, after reading Rick’s article, i got the feeling that it also didn’t reached them. Didn’t get an error but still… Well, maybe this third attempt will succeed in the hope that they will read it in the morning. Fingers crossed!

  32. 32
    Colin

    Just received the following answer from Alyn Smith MEP

    QUOTE
    Thank you for getting in touch on the misleading scare story being put about that the EU is going to ban pornography.

    I am afraid you have been misled over the import of the Liotard report. There is indeed a reference against pornography in the report, but it is of no effect or import whatsoever, not least because the EU has no such power and even if it did (which it does not) how on earth would we police this?

    For clarity, I oppose the reference, and will be voting against, as will I suspect the vast majority of MEPs. I trust that puts your mind at rest.

    Yours aye

    Alyn Smith MEP
    UNQUOTE

    Make of it what you will

  33. […] While the explanation was removed, the effect was not, according to Swedish MEP for the Pirate Party Rick Falkvinge. […]

  34. […] While the explanation was removed, the effect was not, according to Swedish MEP for the Pirate Party Rick Falkvinge. […]

  35. […] pirateriei” din Suedia, Rick Falkvinge, a sesizat ca, desi fraza nu mai exista, posibilitatea cenzurii este inca acolo. Pur si simplu acum este mult mai greu de […]

  36. […] to the proposal removed explanatory wording, Falkvinge previously pointed out. A split vote was called upon to change this […]

  37. […] to the proposal removed explanatory wording, Falkvinge previously pointed out. A split vote was called upon to change this […]

  38. […] libertarian Rick Falkvinge calls attention to a particularly galling move: when opponents of the ban launched a protest email campaign, the Parliament’s IT department […]

  39. […] libertarian Rick Falkvinge calls attention to a particularly galling move: when opponents of the ban launched a protest email campaign, the Parliament’s IT department […]

  40. […] a blanket ban on pornography…While the explanation was removed, the effect was not, according to Swedish MEP for the Pirate Party Rick Falkvinge…the 1997 resolution remains referenced, and therefore the call to ban “all forms of […]

  41. […] While the explanation was removed, the effect was not, according to Swedish MEP for the Pirate Party Rick Falkvinge. […]

  42. […] month there were revelations about the EU Parliament IT system, and the arbitrary way in which email blocks on legitimate topics […]

  43. […] 6 maart had Falkvinge blijkbaar niet voor niets tot actie opgeroepen. Op zijn site gaf-ie hier en hier voorbeelden van protestmails die aan Europarlementariërs gestuurd konden worden. Norton […]

  44. […] a blanket ban on pornography…While the explanation was removed, the effect was not, according to Swedish MEP for the Pirate Party Rick Falkvinge…the 1997 resolution remains referenced, and therefore the call to ban “all forms of […]

  45. 33

    Gdy furt. Wprawdzie sir Roger wolałby, ecclesiastic
    (Bernardo) aby natomiast pozostające rudymenty triumfalnego przejazdu przez
    gród dawny takie gdy wiecznie. Wolałby siedzieć dumnie
    prosty na swym olbrzymim bojowym ru.

  46. […] 2: Followup article – Europarl responds by spamfiltering constituents, then deletes explanation of porn ban but keeps […]

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Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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