Hi Gary and Everyone,
It's very good to be able to read your thoughts. I think you are right. The thing which struck me most about the DSM legislation was that the crucial point has been obscured by all the GDPR compliance work in the pipeline of most people doing internet work. A very convenient timing all the way. I was aware of some of the things being talked about such as issues with Roaming charges, but none of the crucial factors. Looking at the consultations which have been going on since 2015, a piecemeal approach to emerging questions and issues with the digital market, has been more recently wrapped in a pan EU vision, that not many people were involved in. Yes around 1000 to 3000 people from across the EU responded to digital issues, like fake-news... etc that were consulted on but the big vision of EU controlled Digital Single Market, pretty much kept out of mind. People who needed to hear about it, were kept busy on privacy rights, access to big data, two-tier internet, GDPR, a whole series of issues, that one by one, some impact was made, but in grand EU fashion, when they get defeated at the front, they push it through the backdoor anyway.
I think we are late to the party, and all prior actions are wiped clean, in other words the vast amount of work and effort done by MSF, Manchester Open Rights Group, National ORG, EDRI, the privacy and anti-snooping campaigns, previous campaigns on copyright, all get erased from political memory, and members of the public who care get worn down, rendered tired out and inattentive. I can't speak for everyone, but that was true for me. The noise of Brexit, complaining about Trump, the endless 'culture war whining' etc, makes one tune out, and then wham we are hit with a raft of measures that take our very imperfect market but one that at least we can work in, and throw in a highly controlled corporate favouring set of rules. Many of which are complicated and until it actually hits you, (which it inevitably will in some manner or form - when you ask why can't I do this anymore?) you don't actually know what the law is supposed to do. It is the very interpretability that makes it bad law, because those interpretations will be made by who has the power to win the test cases or early rulings, or simply scare others into compliance.
These laws are demanding pro-active steps that aren't even technically feasible. Such as the scanning of every upload. This means that ISP's will react with terms and conditions which allow them to hair trigger ban potential violators, or anyone that falls foul of the recognition signals that get shared between them as DSM directive violators. That will mean those dependent of the available infrastructure platforms will be dancing on eggshells with the work we take, and what we do as part of our free _expression_ and participation. Whereas large players who own or have major influence on infrastructure will be operating at a big advantage or simply controlling the market.
As you say, this is an EU thing and we are undergoing Brexit. That is important as you say, we have to voice about what we think should be the nature of the internet, and it's nature as a place where we are free to express and free to work and engage in commerce. EU are not the biggest players on the internet, the US still is, but US based business has been very quick to deal with GDPR, and my suspicious side is naggingly saying that EU is taking a friendly stance towards internet globals, who just happen to be mostly US. The issue here is a bit of a double whammy. There are have been strong campaigns in the US against two tier internet, and I would warrant that the behaviour of the US corporations matches tactically the EU's behaviour, push something, bring out the resistance, give a little, take a lot, repeat until the opposition is worn out and then take everything.
That pessimistic view said, the campaign and view from our end has to be bigger to deal with this, we have to frame and envision the internet as a place as we would want it, a sane and free place for interaction, communication, ideas, _expression_ and working - on any basis we see fit amongst the people we work for and with. This vision needs to debated, developed, refined and pushed to our own political representative layers, with the arguments about why it's better.
I agree with you, this we should communicate to our representatives with the context of Brexit on our minds, but also just as a thing that would be better. The EU model can be the model of top down heavy handed badness, it suffers the shape of arrogance and hubris that legislation 'passed for others to obey' always does. There are good proposals from GNU / FSF, across the FOSSM and others, but what it's failed to do is become clear bite sized shapes that can be fed to MP's from constituents, neither have we as technology workers let our voice and presence be made as constituents and an important part of the economy, now and especially in the future. Like many groups we have been esoteric, with in depth technological view and key important nuance to broad principles of freedom and fairness. Time to boil it down to brass tacks that any MP can appreciate.
A defeat on this stage of the EU Copyright Directive seemed rather inevitable given how late our canaries finally succeeded in getting their warnings seen, and that was planned by the proposers of this legislation. But it's definitely not over, there are stages towards finalisation, implementation and adoption: all of which can have a wrench thrown in the works. Including the challenge of 'people won't comply' or it will be impossible to comply. I'm reminded of the campaign against Poll Tax, that was soundly technically beaten at the time but fought back with low level resistance through insubordination, and complying as late as possible with as many complaints as possible. Never say it's over are the defining thoughts of such campaigns, and as true as if it were etched in code for evolution.
Steps I would suggest are important, are refining the understanding and clarity of _expression_ with the problematic areas of DSM, and likewise making the statements of what would be better. The more broadly we can get this agreed on within the community, and the more communities dependent on the internet we can get involved the more powerfully we can make a statement to our own local representatives. Protection of their constituents rights and ability to participate in the internet and all the rich fruits such participation can bear, need to be made as front and centre issues to MPs as are the needs for good transport connection, medical care, education, security, environment and the other issues they already see as principal and defining.
If there are number of us, doing a good piece of work, analysis and _expression_ on this we can arrange meetings with MP's, council leaders, regional mayors, councillors, anchor institutions, VSCS etc to press these forward. The key and important step, is being able to clearly communicate strong principles where there is agreement supported by democratic evidence. It is eminently possible and necessarily doable.