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Parliamentary questions
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9 March 2011
Question for written answer P-002322/2011
to the Commission
Rule 117
Hannes Swoboda (S&D)

 Subject: Total shut-down of the Internet in Europe (‘Kill switch’)
 Answer in writing 

In January 2011, for the first time in the history of the Internet, the Egyptian Government shut down the whole country’s Internet access within a matter of minutes. In February it was Libya’s turn to flick the ‘kill-switch’ and shut down the Internet in that country. This is a fundamental attack on basic rights and freedoms. In Austria, Paragraph 89 of the 2003 Telecommunications Act gives the Government similar powers. As in other EU countries, the Government evidently has wide-ranging powers to intervene in this area without consulting the national parliament.

1. What, if any, rules are in force in EU countries concerning the total shut-down of the Internet (‘kill switch’) ?

2. Does the Commission have any plans to update and harmonise the relevant legal provisions if they do not require the involvement of national parliaments?

3. Is the Commission considering drawing up proposals to make it possible to set up a ‘kill switch’ at European level?

Original language of question: DEOJ C 294 E, 06/10/2011
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