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[P2P Foundation] Who wants Net Discrimination in Europe? Net Neutrality in immediate danger

** Paris, Feb.16th. Amendments in the European Parliament to the "Telecoms Package"[1] may allow operators to take control of their customer's usage of the Net. According to amendments pushed by AT&T, "network management practices" could be used to discriminate what content, services and applications users could access and use. Such "net discrimination" causes great risks to the very structure of Internet, and its innovation and growth models. It is also a massive threat to user's rights and freedoms. Who would want this for Europe? **

On Feb 19th will officially begin the second reading of the "Telecoms Package" in the European Parliament. In reality, at the very same moment, a political agreement may be reached after ongoing opaque negotiations between the rapporteurs, the Commission and the Council. Insights from the Parliament reveal that extremely disturbing provisions[2] defended by telecom operators, and mainly the US giant AT&T[3], might get through. Using the intentionally vague wording of "network management policies", operators may be authorised to get total control of the network and their users' activities.

"At this stage of the procedure, what the rapporteur is ready to accept is likely to be voted in plenary. The responsability of promoting, or conversely opposing to, extra-european interests going against internal market and consumer protection, is lying on his shoulders." explains Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, analyst for La Quadrature du Net.

Such a scheme of "net discrimination" would allow operators to prioritise or deprioritise, allow or forbid, access to content and services, as well as usage of applications. On the pretext of addressing network congestions and using the fear of a "collapse of the Internet"[4], and in the name of "diversifying their offerings"[5] operators want to get the ability to filter their networks content and usage in order to sell more services.

"Allowing operators to choose what their users can do with their access would be a major disruption in Internet's model of growth and its innovation. Such 'net discrimination' would lead to access to operator-controlled networks that would not deserve to be called 'Internet' anymore, like on the mobile phones where VoIP, filesharing and streaming are filtered. Members of the European Parliament, and especially the rapporteurs, must frame 'network management policies' to what is strictly necessary to guarantee the security of the networks and of their users." concludes Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net.