EU Council Supports Net Neutrality. Let’s Make it the Law!

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Paris, December 15th, 2011 – EU Member States just adopted conclusions on Net neutrality1http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/trans/126890.pdf.

In this document, the EU Council stresses the importance of preserving the openness of the Internet by keeping it free of restrictions imposed by telecom operators2The conclusions stress:

  • The need to preserve the open and neutral character of the Internet and consider net neutrality as a policy objective (…).
  • The importance of addressing the issues of discrimination and degradation of service that may arise from certain traffic management practices (inter alia blocking, hindering and restrictive connection and interconnection policies) (..)

The Council calls on the EU Commission to “monitor, jointly with BEREC, the issue of traffic management to allow for a smooth flow of proportional, necessary and transparent traffic management practices that do not affect net neutrality”. It also welcomes “The Commission’s intention to assess the need, based on BEREC’s investigations, for more stringent measures and to publish additional guidance on net neutrality if necessary“.. Unfortunately, the document falls short of saying that this principle should be made into law.

“After the EU Parliament’s call on the EU Commission to swiftly assess the need for regulation on Net neutrality3http://www.laquadrature.net/en/eu-parliament-massively-commits-to-net-neutrality-and-open-internet, it’s now Member States who stress the importance of this founding principle for freedom of communication, privacy, as well as innovation in the digital economy.”, said Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder and spokesperson for La Quadrature du Net.

“Unfortunately, probably once again under pressure of incumbent operators, the Council fails to match words with deeds by requiring legislative action to protect network neutrality. The ongoing ‘laisser-faire’ championed by Commissioner Kroes, based only on transparency and competition, is no longer tenable. As the citizen reporting platform RespectMyNet.eu suggests4http://respectmynet.eu/, Net neutrality is already under the threat of telecom operators who illegitimately interfere with their users’ communications, and we’re reaching a point of no-return.”, concluded Zimmermann.

References   [ + ]

1. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/trans/126890.pdf
2. The conclusions stress:

  • The need to preserve the open and neutral character of the Internet and consider net neutrality as a policy objective (…).
  • The importance of addressing the issues of discrimination and degradation of service that may arise from certain traffic management practices (inter alia blocking, hindering and restrictive connection and interconnection policies) (..)

The Council calls on the EU Commission to “monitor, jointly with BEREC, the issue of traffic management to allow for a smooth flow of proportional, necessary and transparent traffic management practices that do not affect net neutrality”. It also welcomes “The Commission’s intention to assess the need, based on BEREC’s investigations, for more stringent measures and to publish additional guidance on net neutrality if necessary“.

3. http://www.laquadrature.net/en/eu-parliament-massively-commits-to-net-neutrality-and-open-internet
4. http://respectmynet.eu/