– Directive of the European Union on Copyright in the Digital Single Market

– “Canon Digital” Private Copy Levy in the Spanish State

– Copyright exceptions and limitations in Spain


– Anticorruption whistleblowing platforms

– Whislteblowers protection legilslation: Catalonia / Spain / Europe


– Application of the new rules of net neutrality in the Spanish State


– Nullity of the Spanish Data Conservation law

– Transparency in secret international intelligence exchange

– Alarm on the new platform Aura presented by Telefónica

– Protection of Strong Encryption


– Guide with tips and tools addressed to activists, journalists and citizens whose fundamental freedoms and rights on the Internet


– Publicly financed software developed for the public sector must be publicly available under a Free and Open Source Software licence.




Directive of the European Union on Copyright in the Digital Single Market

The European Union is presently carrying out reforms to authors’ rights with the aim of situating the big Internet companies as police and judges of the Web, thus turning it into a massive censoring machine.

In particular Article 13 and items 37-39 under the heading “Whereas” require of websites, online platforms and services the development of programming to allow massive systematic monitoring of content uploaded by users and eliminating any material which might include content “identified” by copyright holders.

This automatic filtering, which is not done on the basis of what is legal or illegal, but what is indicated by copyright holders would, at the stroke of a pen, eliminate all the existing exceptions to copyright: the right to cite, to parody, educational purposes, public interest, et cetera, and other forms of totally legal freedom of expression, which an automatic system of censorship would be unable to evaluate as legal and free forms of use of content subject to authors’ rights.

The resistance of cultural industries to adapt to the new digital ecosystem, results in their being pressured by disproportionate ad hoc laws like this attempt at automatic filtering which would crush innovative, creative and inventive potential in the economic cycle of the networked society.

In a setting where the line separating creators of culture from consumers is increasingly blurry, the future of cultural development depends on making the most of new forms of creating and sharing culture, information and knowledge in order to construct a “non-monopolised” economy.

In order to show the dangers of this censorship machine which would mean the end of most GIFs, memes, video reviews, parodies, covers, tutorials, gameplays and many other everyday contents one finds on the Internet, Xnet has produced this viral video which should be used by everyone, everywhere:

Information and educational materials are prepared and shared, together with tools for citizen action to defend our rights and freedoms from this dangerous proposal:


“Canon Digital” Private Copy Levy in the Spanish State

The Spanish government approves again an absurd and anachronistic private copy levy; a measure for collection purposes that applies to private copying, an exception to copyright, a right that had already been virtually nonexistent since the last reform of the Spanish Intellectual Property Law.

The new private copy levy contradicts again the TJUE ruling – the Padawan case – The ruling said that business use must be exempt. The “new” private copy levy contradicts this ruling by making the classic pirouette of changing the burden of proof. It is up to you the customer to prove the use you make and not for the one who collect the levy to show the reason why it charges it… no matter the use, it charges everyone by default.

Copyright exceptions to and limitations in Spain

Present-day context in Spain of implemented and yet to be implemented exceptions to and limitations of authors’ rights. Comparison with the situation in other countries of the European Union.
– With regard to copyright reform in the European Union it is necessary to strive to ensure that all the legal uses of content coming under authors’ rights do not disappear into the sphere of automatic algorithms.
– In the national context it is necessary to bear in mind the exceptions present in other countries that are absent in Spain, and to exert political pressure for their implementation.


Anticorruption whistleblowing platforms

Xnet launches in the Barcelona City Hall the first public Anti-Corruption Complaint Box using anonymity protection technology like Tor and GlobaLeaks (“Bústia Ètica” in Catalan). Xnet has always espoused the idea that democracy can only exist if institutions work together in equal conditions with aware, well-organised citizens. The Box aims to provide a way to make this kind of teamwork possible. Corruption can’t be eliminated by institutions scrutinising themselves. Civil society must play a central, continuous role.

With this pioneering project, the Barcelona City Hall is the first municipal government to invite citizens to use tools which enable them to send information in a way that is secure, that guarantees privacy and gives citizens the option to be totally anonymous.

Link to Barcelona City Hall’s Anti-Corruption Complaint Box: (Spanish)


After the first launch in Barcelona, this anonymous whistleblower platform set by Xnet has been also replicated in the Antifraud Office of Catalunya and it is soon to be replicated in the government of Valencia as well.

Whislteblowers protection legilslation

In Catalonia

Xnet warns of the dangerous cosmetic operation lurking behind the “Proposició de llei de protecció dels denunciants i altres mesures de lluita contra la corrupció” (Draft Law on Whistleblower Protection and Other Measures for Combating Corruption) presented by the parliamentary group Ciutadans. The draft law is written in very general, poorly developed terms, and it lacks real, specific measures. Only seven pages long, it is clearly a law drafted in a hurry in order to occupy the political space of civic demands in this area. It does not include any of the basic demands of civil society or international organisations concerned about the issues.

Owing to its imprecise nature, the draft law presented in Catalonia does not cover the very serious threats to civil rights which exist in the equivalent law for Spain. Hence, after conversations with the political parties we have consulted—CUP, ERC, CSQP—we believe that, for the moment, the best alternative is to let the proceedings for the law go ahead but to denounce the gravity of its cosmetic nature and the fact that it denies legitimate status of the demands of civil society.

Xnet is working in coordination with members of the Catalan parliament to produce thoroughgoing amendments to this empty document and to transform it into an exemplary, pioneering piece of legislation in Europe.


In Spain

Concealed behind the attractive name “Proposición de Ley Integral de Lucha contra la Corrupción y Protección de los Denunciantes” (Comprehensive Law on the Struggle against Corruption and Protection of Whistleblowers) is a draft Whistleblowers Protection law which not only fails to protect whistleblowers but also works to the grave detriment of civil rights
Xnet embarked on a campaign to warn of the dangers of the draft law and this has now been picked up by other individuals and groups which had originally given it their blind support. See:

– It only envisages protection for civil servants (career workers in the public sector) while failing to protect people who denounce abuses against the public interest in the private sector or any other sphere that affects public interest, thus producing the absurd situation in which people involved in many of the currently relevant cases would be excluded from protection.
– It creates an independent Public Integrity Authority which: has the power to “engage in activities of investigation and inspection, for the purposes of which it will be able to accede to any information held by public or private natural or juridical persons”. WITHOUT A WARRANT.
– It is not subject to any disciplinary system or oversight and, lacking due supervision, it would have absolute power.
– It is financed by the “fines it dictates and the penalties it has the power to impose”.
– It does not contemplate the most important protection for a whistleblower, which is preserving anonymity. Any legislation passed without this option is at variance with United Nations reports and recommendations, current instructions from the prosecutor’s inquiry in Spain, and advanced legislation in this area presently being introduced around the world. Moreover, it is an excuse for opening files on whistleblowers, thus increasing their exposure and vulnerability.
– It requires a sufficient appearance of veracity which places the burden of responsibility on the whistleblower with an intimidating effect.
– It does not stipulate sufficient protection for whistleblowers who are faced with threats, legal prosecution and physical or professional reprisals.
– It uses the loaded term “denunciante” which has the negative historical connotations of “informer”, while also placing this legislation at a remove from that elsewhere in Europe where, for the past three centuries, a different term with positive connotations has been used, as is the case with “whistleblower” (which we translate as alertador in Spanish—literally, “person who sounds the alert”).

Xnet has been working on proposals for specific amendments to this dangerous draft law and has met with members of parliament from En comú, ERC, Marea, Compromís, EHBildu, and Podem in order to proceed with these amendments.


In Europe

Xnet took part in Brussels at the Roundtable on Whistleblower Protection in Europe, where it warned of the serious situation in Spain and the dangers of the draft law now in parliament, and presented its recommendations on the European scale. These have been included in the Public Consultation on Whistleblower Protection of the European Commission.



Application of the new rules of net neutrality in the Spanish State

On 30 April 2016 the European Union’s new Regulation on net neutrality came into force. In Spain, the State Secretariat for the Information Society and the Digital Agenda of the Ministry of Energy, Tourism and the Digital Agenda (MinETAD in the Spanish acronym) is responsible for carrying out supervision measures to ensure that Internet providers comply with this regulation, and to take corrective measures in the event of non-compliance.

However, a year and a half after the Regulation came into force, we have received no news (and not for lack of trying) of any measure taken by the State Secretariat for the Information Society and the Digital Agenda with regard to net neutrality. In the entire MinETAD hardly anyone knows that the Regulation exists, let alone understands that there is an obligation to enforce it.

Since there is as yet no sign of proactive fulfilment by MinETAD of its obligations regarding net neutrality, Xnet publicly denounces this negligence and is studying the possibilities of addressing a complaint to higher European Union bodies. We did not struggle for and win the Save the Internet battle for net neutrality in Europe in order to be ignored here in Spain.



Nullity of the Spanish Data Conservation law

Xnet requests to the Spanish Agency for Data Protection analysis and action on the invalidity of the Spanish Data Retention Law 25/2007.

On December 21, 2016, the TJUE ruled in its Tele2 case (accumulated cases “C-203/15 and C-698/15) that the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibits all Member States the adoption and application of laws that enable “the preventive, general and indiscriminate retention of traffic data and the location of all registered users and subscribers of all electronic communications.”

Months after the ruling of the TJUE, the requirements of general and indiscriminate retention of traffic data and location of the Spanish Data Retention Law 25/2007 are still valid.

Xnet has presented these facts before the legal office of the Spanish Data Protection Agency, asking them to analyze and adopt the necessary measures at thier hands so that the legislative framework of the Span nullifies or corrects the Law of Conservation of Details of the Spanish State 25/2007, adapting it to the cited sentences and to respect the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union as ruled by the TJUE.


Xnet also denounced that far from recapitulating with respect to the disproportionate data retention data Law 25/2007, the Spanish Government goes further and now pressures the European institutions to increase the data retention within the ePrivacy Regulations, ignoring, once again, the sentences of the CJEU and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Transparency in secret international intelligence exchange

Xnet launches with Privacy International, and 30 other organizations, an international campaign for greater transparency in secret international intelligence exchange activities. We have written to the national intelligence oversight bodies in more than 40 countries demanding information about the intelligence exchange activities of their governments.

In Spain, we have sent the letter to the Interior Commission of the Congress of Deputies, the Commission of Interior of the Senate and the Ombudsman.

Countries can use secret intelligence exchange agreements to circumvent international and national rules on massive surveillance. These agreements can also lead to the exchange of information that facilitates violations of human rights, particularly in countries with poor human rights records or with a weak rule of law.

Alarm on the new platform Aura presented by Telefónica

Xnet sounded the alarm on the new platform Aura presented by Telefónica. With Aura, Telefónica will begin to process our data which it has in vast quantities as a telecommunications services provider, and to create profiles in order to take advantage of users to do business.

Telefónica itself says that all these data are ours because we can access them and consult them and this is positive. However, and in accordance with the data protection law, we should also be able to require that these data are not processed without our consent.

As a company, Telefónica retains data of a person’s bills, messages and phone calls (how many and to which numbers), payments, and so on. It also has data concerning the antenna to which one is connected when browsing with a mobile phone (ergo geolocation), how many and which devices are connected to one’s router, which websites and services one visits and for how long.


Protection of Strong Encryption

Xnet, together with other European organizations in campaign for the defense of privacy and digital rights within the ePrivacy Regulation, welcomes the result of the vote of the LIBE committee (leader of the dossier) resulting in improvements that demand privacy by default, and protect strong encryption (forbidding backdoors or for governments to demand their weakening).


During the catalan crisis, Xnet has prepared this technical guide with tips and tools addressed to activists, journalists and citizens whose fundamental freedoms and rights on the Internet are being restricted by state powers or authoritarian governments.

Everything explained in this guide is to protect the inviolability of our communications, our right to privacy and freedom of political opinion, expression and access to information, all of them fundamental rights that have been legally recognized for centuries.

It is important that legal doctrines that blame the tools for the crimes are not established. The tools are neutral. Making use of a particular tool can never be a crime in itself. It is only the use that is made of them that can be considered criminal.

In the post-Snowden revelation era, many institutions, including the UN and the EU, remember that the only way that people have to protect themselves from mass surveillance is through the use of autonomous tools to protect our communications.



Xnet, together with the Free Software Foundation Europe and other 31 organizations, published on September 31, 2017 an open letter asking our lawmakers to enact legislation requiring that publicly financed software developed for the public sector be made publicly available under a Free and Open Source Software licence.

Digital services offered and used by our public administrations are the critical infrastructure of 21st century democratic nations. In order to establish trustworthy systems, public bodies must ensure they have full control over the software and the computer systems at the core of our state digital infrastructure. We need software that guarantees freedom of choice, access, and competition. We need software that helps public administrations regain full control of their critical digital infrastructure, allowing them to become and remain independent from a handful of companies.


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