back to article 'You can't use Google' - EU Parliament

A number of bullets were dodged as the European Parliament voted on the Harbour proposals for the European broadcast, telecoms and internet industries this week. A couple, sadly, struck home all the same. The banning of the use of encryption as a way of identifying those breaching intellectual property rights didn't even make …


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  1. dervheid
    Black Helicopters


    more poorly (or, perhaps, succinctly...nah) thought out legislation from the Eurobeast.

    All Hail The Eurobeast.

  2. Greg

    Completely clueless analysis

    The explanation on the difference between roman and common law is completely stupid.

    The main difference certainly isn't in the fact that everything not forbidden is allowed or conversely.

    In both systems, what is not forbidden is allowed.

    The main difference is the role of precedent compoared to that of law litterature. One systems has the judge make the law, whereas the other has the judge understand the law (meaning things are assumed to be in there somewhere, which is probably where our clueless journalist gets mistaken).

    In the end, what the text says is that the right to access everything stated in the Community is a minimum right, so one provider cannot prevent that. It doesn't mean the end-user has no right to access's servers, just that nothing in the law forbids the telecom operator from forbidding its access.

    What kind of journalism is this, to base an article and its title on your ignorance of the basic principles of roman law?

  3. Dan Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Not our job guv

    Presumably they don't say what happens outside the EU because they can't legislate outside the EU, as much as they'd like to. Might step on the yanks' toes saying what you can and do with their websites.

  4. P. Rabbit
    Thumb Down

    Europhobic quasilegal nonsense

    Quote: "European law operates on the basis of “legislative certainty”. [snip] As Godfrey Bloom, the UKIP MEP says “EU law defines what you may do. What it doesn't say you may do you can't do.” As opposed to the Common Law system which defines what you may not do and anything not expressly banned is allowed."

    Ermm, it's quite a while since I studied law (in the Netherlands) and admittedly I didn't finish the course (found something technical and more fun to do), but this sounds like a load of guano to me.

    First of all, a quick Google on "legislative certainty" suggests that the term "legislative certainty" simply relates to individuals and business being more certain about what effect legislation has on them, and has nothing to do with the above assertion.

    Secondly, and more importantly, the suggestion that "EU law defines what you may do. What it doesn't say you may do you can't do.” would appear to be complete NONSENSE!!! (Apologies for the caps and exclamation marks.) There is simply no such concept - in mainland Europe too, any act is permitted as long as it is not specifically prohibited. Perhaps you could consult someone less biased than a UKIP plonker about this.

    (As an aside, the system which contrasts with "common law" is "Roman law". Incidentally, unlike English law, Scottish law is heavily influenced by Roman law - what are UKIP going to do about that?)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    That last point looks pathetically like you were trying to find something newsworthy, but failed.

  6. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Common Law Rules.

    “EU law defines what you may do. What it doesn't say you may do you can't do.”..... which of course is quite preposterous and quite delusional.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    it's insanity like this that makes me think "damn we need to get out of the EU - what with the commision being a bunch of useless, nannying, psychos." Only to remember that the prats in charge of the UK are no less useless, nannying or psychotic, although the plus is we don't need to go as far to throw firebombs through the windows of white hall.

    O well, here's waiting for the revolution that'll never come. A Government for the people by the people... How did we ever end up with media darlings and career politicos as opposed to stodgy old doctors, ex union bosses and former barresters - you know educated folk who'd lived life and had to interact with people throughout their lives. *sigh*

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whats going on in the EU?

    What going on across the pond? It is rather scary the way laws are being worded. I mean, there is a huge difference between letting me know what's illegal and letting me know what I can do. The second being extremely restrictive in the wrong hands (not that the former could not run amok if given the chance).

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Politicians should stick to politics

    Internet was doing absolutly fine without the envolvment of law and politics

    Go find some real life issues to practise laws on maybe higher level corruption and scandals

    ahh that affects their own jobs

  10. Andy Livingstone

    Matter of interpretation?

    Will it still be OK to drink Coke?

    Can I travel by Continental or Delta?

    My Vista needs to be replaced by what exactly?

  11. Qneiform


    Which is more likely

    (i) The EU is banning the use of Google, or

    (ii) a UK Independence Party MEP and a rabidly anti-EU "fellow" of a libertarian think-tank are peddling scaremongering nonsense about how EU law works?

    Too close to call, I'd say ....

  12. Solomon Grundy

    Free Software Mandate

    Aren't you setting yourself up for lots of crap by pointing out that free software is often of low quality - the only good part is that its free?

  13. Chris

    Pinch of salt

    After the total cock up of this author attempting to understand the difference between "buying and selling stuff" and "subcontracting" the other day, I'll find it very hard to take anything they say seriously. What's next Tim, some crap about straight bananas?

  14. Łukasz Stelmach
    Thumb Down

    Everything allowed what is not prohibited

    I am afraid Mr Godfrey Bloom, is not fully aware of how continental law works. I am not a lawer, hence if you are correct me if I am wrong, but I live in Poland and the rule Mr Bloom outlines applies to civil servants only. The law says what they can do (to do their job only, of course). If the law says nothing they can't do what they would like to. On the other hand regular citizens can do anything that is not explicitly prohibited.

    Please Mr Bloom don't intimidate your fellow Britons.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    wrong point

    I beg to dispute the bit about "legislative certainty". Actually, Continental law is a mixture of both principles. In some cases, such as business-customer relations, you have to stick to what the law permits. In other cases, such as business-business relations, you are allowed anything the law does not prohibit.

    The whole point about inability to use services outside the Community is nonsense. It does not mean anything else than that there shall be no restrictions for end-users within the Community "to access and use services..."

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mixed feelings

    "The banning of the use of encryption as a way of identifying those breaching intellectual property rights..." - Who's the genius that of that? Good thing it didn't get far.

    "... and to use any lawful applications ..." - This doesn't seem to sound right. Shouldn't this phrase be removed and replaced w/ something like banning the use of "unlawful applications"? The difference? In the first case, it still has to be determined whether an application is lawful or not BEFORE the user isallowed to use it. In the second case, the user is allowed to use any application UNLESS it is determined to be unlawful. A simple ramification is that it could hinder development of techologies/software in that the software/tech must be assessed first before allowed use. A more sinister ramification is, well, you can use your imagination.

  17. Max
    Thumb Down


    >That sounds rather benign, but the effect is that it is the European Union which decides what is lawful content and what is not, rather than national authorities. [...] It might also mean of course that content not to the taste of the Commission might be declared unlawful - not a power we might want them to have.

    The EU doesn't decide on anything - it's an overarching collection of its component institutions (council, commission, court and parliament).

    This is a parliamentary vote on proposals to set up a regulatory framework - it is the member states who can decide what is lawful or not. The two referenced directives (2002/21/EC and 2002/22/EC) are about universal access - they don't set out lawfulness of any particular content.

    To be honest, if you're drawing on a UKIP MEP for an understanding of how civil law works, you perhaps oughtn't be writing about it.

  18. Joe Futrelle


    Ah, but once everyone in "The Community" gets their mandatory Google brain implants, then it's go go go.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Common Law vs Roman Law

    In Common Law, if it's not legislatively outlawed, then its OK. In Roman Law, if it's not legislatively OKed, then its outlawed.

    Common Law is traditionally the law of places with lots of freedoms, Roman Law is traditionally the law of places with few freedoms.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Another case

    Of not having people recognize that your rights are YOURS and don't belong to one (or multiple) governing bodies just because they aren't enumerated.

  21. Peter Jones
    Thumb Down

    Common Law vs. Roman Law

    Sounds much like Blacklist vs. Whitelist.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A title is not required... the comment says it all!

    Why don't they all just fuck off and stop fiddling!!!!!

  23. Graham Marsden

    As opposed to the Common Law system...

    ... which defines what you may not do and anything not expressly banned is allowed.

    Well, that was the way it *used* to work.

    Unfortunately the way the current regime is working, soon we will be stuck with the dictum that "anything that is not expressly permitted is forbidden".

  24. Big_Boomer Silver badge


    EU Commission says "All your accezz are belong to uz"

    Unworkable and unenforceable.

    Are these people complete idiots?

    Sorry, they're poly-tic-ians so that's a given!

  25. Pete Silver badge

    We're all criminals already, anyway.

    It's worth baring in mind what the average european thinks of laws: especially people of a more southern-european view. It seems to me that it's a peculiarly british thing to get worked up about the possibility of infringing a law here or there. Most other places, you shrug your shoulders, pay the fine and carry on.

    Just accept the fact that pretty much anyone who's using the internet breaks copyright laws on an almost daily basis. We probably write stuff that would insult someone's beliefs, somewhere if they knew about it and accidentally use trademarked terms without including the required acknowledgements. We may even use software that contains unlicensed patents - either knowingly or in ignorance and could probably be accused of using words that are banned by someone's government or refer to people, places or events that also carry some form of punishment. It's quite likely that somewhere on everyone's computer there is one or more images that have been downloaded - or pushed via a popup, advertisment or virus - that are against a local or national judgement of what's acceptable.

    With all this already against us, what are a few more rules and regulations, he shrugged.

  26. P. Lee
    Dead Vulture

    remind me again...

    ... why we need the EU to legislate on this sort of stuff?

    Why does an ISP's responsibility to provide filtering (or not) need to be debated by the EU? Is there a pressing need for harmonisation across europe, lest competition be on an unlevel playing field?

    My country may have rubbish laws, but at least I don't have to ask the Germans if I want them changed!

    Self-determination, RIP.

  27. Kanhef

    Don't really see the problem

    with the first one. It's the same as the US having federal laws that overrule state ones.

  28. RW

    Free software for *all* platforms?

    My, my, my! Where are they going to find programmers who know how to write for Windows 3.1? I'm sure there are still a few diehards using truly ancient systems, never mind that the last 16-bit browser, Netscape 4.07, was buggier than a bum in a flophouse.

    To say nothing of all the other fringe OSes.

    Don't those idiots in the EU parliament know *anything*?

    Besides, I thought the shibboleth "it's for the children" was past its use-before date.

    PS: Another thought: has anybody *proven* that it's harmful to children to see depictions of adults fucking? The web has been porting pr0n into the brains of youth in a big way since abt. 1995 so by now, if pr0n is actually harmful to children, we should be seeing a tidal wave of sexual maladjustment in adults. I just looked out my door and didn't see a single sexually maladjusted adult.

    Is it possible that early exposure to pr0n has beneficial effects? Perhaps the up and coming generation will in fact be better adjusted sexually than their parents ever were. It just seems to me that by shining a light into this branch of human life, there should be a lot less sniggering and giggling. Who knows, perhaps that mainstay of British humor, the word "underpants", will lose its sting in the process.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hang on...

    You got an explanation from a UKIP MEP? Is this place going to Daily Mail in a handcart?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I for one

    Welcome our new US website suppressing overlords.

  31. Schultz

    isn't it?

    Or is it, really?

  32. Pierre

    The law thing, Free software

    As previously mentionned, you view on Roman law (and, indeed, on continental legal system) is so weird, I wonder where you got the idea that what isn't specifically allowed is forbidden (And, more importantly, how you could have thought it is even possible. Haven't you heard of the continent? Ever?).

    The thing is, everyone is allowed to access EU-based services freely, given that such services will be policed by the EU in the first place. Now you MAY be allowed to use foreign services too, depending on whether they comply with EU laws, which is your responsibility to check.

    The most annoying thing is the one you left aside as unimportant: the EU is on the way toward making the "owner" of a connection responsible for everything done with that connection. No other proof needed. Then it is the responsibility of the "owners" to make sure that no-one is using the connection for illegal purposes (be it by hijacking the connection or otherwise) -the actual wording is a bit milder, you might get away with it if you can prove that you took appropriate measures, for now at least. So they kinda HAVE to make security software available for free. Which means in turn that it will be crappy software, available only for Windows platforms (and probably only a handful of them), but still if you don't get and install it you'll be considered as "negligent" and thus automatically guilty in case something bad happens. Which, finally, means that everyone will be REQUIRED to install Windows XP or Vista (depending on your provider), at least on the gateway. And THAT is the most stupid and counter-productive "security measure" that ever came out of a human brain.

  33. John Thomas
    Thumb Down

    Well, which is it?

    It seems some serious allegations of prejudiced reporting have been made against Mr Worstall by some posters who claim to know what they're talking about.

    Either they're right or Mr Worstall's right, both cannot be telling the truth.

    The longer we see no follow-up defense from Mr Worstall, the more readers will their draw conclusions from his silence.

    The credibility of the Register is becoming increasingly suspect with articles like this along with its apparent sign up to blind-faith climate-change denial.

    If the rot continues, will we even be able to trust its authority on core technology issues?

  34. Brian Whittle
    Thumb Down


    sounds like an article you would see in the Daily Mail (ie rubbish) the phrase pinch of salt springs to mind

    The Register an outpost of The Daily Mail

  35. Scott


    .... I understood 100% of his post..... :eep:

  36. Qneiform

    Like I said ...

    I second the point about this being the same author who gave us that excruciating nonsense about EU law and sub-contractors the other day. I commented on that article too but the moderator saw fit to ignore my views. Reg, keep this author on by all means, because he rootles out stuff that is worth thinking about, but please either edit out his opinions or don't put his articles in the "Law" section. I promise you (as a lawyer) he really doesn't have a clue what he is talking about.

    Lots of love,


  37. Pierre
    Dead Vulture

    Another wee thing

    "«should ensure that end-users are able to access and distribute any lawful content and to use any lawful applications and/or services of their choice» [...] That sounds rather benign, but the effect is that it is the European Union which decides what is lawful content and what is not, rather than national authorities."

    No it doesn't. It doesn't at all. It doesn't even mean anything close to that. It means that the provider doesn't have the right to prevent users from accessing legal content, and doesn't have the right to prevent users from using whichever software they want to.

    As an aside, this is the third article from this author that I read, and this is the third that is made of at least 3/5 made up "facts" and complete nonsense.

  38. NT
    Dead Vulture

    Splash one...

    Well, I'm fairly convinced. It looks to me as though this article's been pretty comprehensively shot down. So does the author have any comment to make?

  39. Bronek Kozicki

    the next step

    ... is EC seizing control of all not expressly permited websites in the world (following example of US state judges).

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did anyone read what the phrase refers to?

    While it is so that the Common Market is an area which, roughly speaking, is EU's sole domain unless otherwise stated, the referred-to Article 8 of Directive 2002/21 (available here: ) does specifically concerns the duties of the Member States. So it obliges the Member States to provide us with this-and-that -- it does not specify what is legal content (actually it does not concern content at all, only services).

    Furthermore, Article 8 cannot be taken as an exhaustive whitelist either, as it specifically uses phrases like "inter alia" (both in points 2, 3 and 4), and so the Member States could over-fulfill these regulations by providing *more* services in their own legislations -- or by other means -- than specifically provided for in Article 8.

    IANAL, though.

  41. Anonymous Coward


    I cant ignore you any longer.

    You obviously dont have any children - and probably thats a good thing.

    Of course its not been *proven* that children watching those activities of adults are harmed.

    But it has been proven, many times, that children copy adult behaviour. You want the teenage pregnancy rate to rise even further? You want the youth of this country to be single parents and miss out on childhood, miss out on university education and a good well paid job and a happy life?

    Children should be allowed to stay children for as long as possible - until they are forced to grow up and deal with the rubbish that adults have to put up with in this country.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    You can't use Google

    You do your subscribers a great disservice by publishing such rubbish about EU law especially by repeating such obviously ignorant clap trap. Do please try to do a little research before quoting such utter know-nothings like Godfrey Bloom. On his first day in the European Parliament, he made the following public statement "No self-respecting small businessman with a brain in the right place would ever employ a lady of child-bearing age."

    Enough said.

  43. NT

    @ Me

    << So does the author have any comment to make? >>

    Apparently not.

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