Neelie Kroes, the Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, promised to safeguard network neutrality. However, in the past few years her position has changed significantly to the opposite direction. Her proposal for a Regulation for a Telecom Single Market confirms this. While we welcome the intention to enshrine net neutrality into law across the EU, the proposal fails to deliver the promise of net neutrality as it contains several problematic loopholes. However, the text itself is not far off the mark. With the right improvements, the European Union could have binding net neutrality legislation. The proposal is now in hands of the Parliament and will be reviewed by several committees, with the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) committee as the lead in charge of this dossier. The modifications introduced in some committees have regrettably worsened the problems in the Commission proposal. Furthermore, the legislation is on a very strict timeline, as the Parliament hopes to conclude negotiations before elections in May 2014, which has made the window for consultation very small.
Internet companies, quite reasonably, claim the right to provide specialised network services - such as high definition video - at guaranteed speeds for precise industrial applications. As long as these services are run separately from the internet and do not interfere with internet quality, this is clearly not a problem.
Currently, the proposed Regulation does not give a clear definition of specialised services. It would allow for the possibility of a "specialised service" to be interpreted as any kind of online service. This would lead to the creation of a two-tiered internet, where certain services would be prioritised while others would be pushed into the slow lane. As a consequence, this would restrict the freedom of communication and the possibilities and incentives for innovation. (Article 2.15)
Example: Many mobile operators already offer unmetered access to Facebook, with everything else being subject to a payment based on the volume of downloaded data. If the definition of a "specialised service" allows this kind of offer, it will restrict the possible market available to potential competitors, restricting choice and innovation in the long run.
What we need is a clarification to ensure that the "service" in question is not functionally identical to an online service and that it is run on a network that is entirely separate from the public internet. The Body of European Regulators (BEREC) definition states that such services have to be separate from the public best effort internet and shall only be provided within the European electronic communications provider's network.
The text proposed by the European Commission would give users the "freedom" to choose discriminatory services. This "freedom" will ultimately be negative for internet users and negative for the broader online innovative environment (Article 23).
Example: It has been estimated that British consumers alone pay approximately 5 billion pounds a year too much, due to their "freedom" to choose between numerous confusing service options.
What we need is to replace "shall be free" with "have the right" and to ensure that the text does not allow discriminatory services to be offered by internet access providers.
To allow the use of "reasonable traffic management measure" to "prevent or impede serious crime" will enable internet companies to interfere with online communications, without a legal basis or a court order. This provision to law enforcement activities by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) outside the rule of law which is in clear violation of article 52 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU (Article 23.5).
Example: In the UK, for example, voluntary measures are already being carried out by ISPs to prevent individuals leading to lawless blocking of a range of legal online services. In 2012, this led to the accidental blocking of the website of the French civil rights group, La Quadrature du Net.
What we need is a deletion of the dangerous exception for arbitrary interferences in communications traffic flows of reasonable traffic management.
To find out more, read our analysis and amendments on how to improve the proposed Regulation:
To follow the Dossier on the european level you may consider these links:
The proposed Regulation has been criticized by many different institutions and individuals. Already before the draft was publicly announced, one part of the European Commission criticized another because they considered the proposal as a threat for net neutrality and fundamental rights.
A second vocal critic is the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communication (BEREC). This independent expert group of national regulators helped the factual discussion about net neutrality a lot and came up with many useful definitions (e.g. for specialised services). Furthermore, BEREC provided statistical data which showed that half of Europe's population is already affected by net neutrality violations in the mobile sector. Also, the European Data Protection Supervisor warns about loopholes in the net neutrality provisions and highlights the danger for data privacy in the new legal situation.
Some more things you want to know about net neutrality:
Act now to tell your representatives to protect our rights and freedoms. The best way to do this is by calling a Member of the European Parliament (MEP). But you can also send them a Fax, a letter or an E-Mail - we provide you with all the information, and calling them is free of charge.
Stay polite and be yourself. Whatever happens, don't forget the basic rules of courtesy and common sense. Whether you agree or disagree with the individual answering to you, and whatever the views of other members of her/his political group, don't give a negative image of people who are advocating with the same purpose as you.
Most of the time, you will talk with a Parliamentary assistant, and not directly with a MEP. It's not a problem: engage in the conversation. Assistants play an important role in the development of the MEPs' positions.
If a question to which you don't have the answer comes up, don't panic. You are not expected to be an expert, only a concerned citizen. Tell the MEP you will research the answer and contact him/her back with more information, and come and ask us.
If you're still not comfortable with the arguments, don't give up. Ask what is the MEP's position on the subject, and ask what their arguments are.
During a phone call don't hesitate to offer to call back with more information, to meet the MEP, to send documents, references, etc. Sometimes, Parliamentary assistants will ask you to send an e-mail. Don't hesitate to call back later to check if they've read it and what they thought of it.
The best way to carry your message to a MEP is to develop your argument verbally. In this way, you can adapt your speech to her/his answers, and express your great concern about the subject on which you are calling. MEPs do not receive many calls from citizens, thus they are particularly sensitive to them.
Generally, conversations look like that:
And now... Call the next MEP ;)
Some people sometimes propose to send generic form emails to all MEPs (and even to those who do not vote on the related subject). We believe that such emails are counterproductive. MEPs and their assistants know how to use a spam filter as well as you, and those emails end up in spam folder quickly. Generic form emails give the impression that you do not want to take the time to get interested in the matter, and do not reflect the number of people involved in it (a single person can send several messages). Worse, such emails increase the risk that the MEPs do not read the personalized emails on the same dossier, and finally hurting your cause.
The best solution is to send personalized emails based on your own approach and your knowledge of the matter (Remember: you are not expected to be an expert, only a concerned citizen) and, if possible, according to the positions of the MEP's political group.
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|Le Soir (print)||21/03/2014||Roaming contre internet neutre : le grand marchandage||French|
|arstechnica.com||18/03/2014||EU net neutrality vote would let ISPs charge for Internet “fast lane”||English|
|Vize Magazin Motherboard||18/03/2014||EU-Ausschuss macht den Weg für Zwei-Klassen-Internet frei||German|
|Zeit Online||18/03/2014||EU-Ausschuss akzeptiert Zwei-Klassen-Internet||German|
|internauts||18/03/2014||Europeos, "salvemos nuestra libertad en internet"||Spanish|
|hojaderouter||18/03/2014||Save the internet’: contra el reglamento que amenaza la neutralidad de la Red||Spanish|
|dw.de||18/03/2014||EU net neutrality vote addresses fate of Internet||English|
|Futurzone.at||18/03/2014||Europa auf dem Weg zum Zwei-Klassen-Internet||German|
|Radio Dreyeckland||18/03/2014||Die Abschaffung der Netzneutralität ist auf dem Weg||German|
|derStandard.at||18/03/2014||EU: Aus für Roaming-Gebühren und Netzneutralität||German|
|NDR||24/02/2014||Netzneutralität: Worüber wird gestritten?||German|
|attac.tv||21/02/2014||La neutralidad de Internet en peligro - Estelle Massé||German|
|Tagesspiegel||18/02/2014||Netzneutralität: Wirtschaftsministerium will Nutzerinteressen wahren (wochenwebschau-Video)||German|
|Ö1 Digital.Leben||05/02/2014||Datenregulierung in der EU||German|
|technology review (print)||02/2014||Zutritt nur für VIP Kunden?||German|
|Radio Dreyeckland||24/01/2014||Focus Europa Spezial #38: Eine Debatte Über unsere digitale Zukunft und die Netzneutralität in Europa||German|
|Huffington Post||22/01/2014||Web 3.0: So könnte das Internet ohne Netzneutralität aussehen||German|
|derStandard||21/01/2014||Google und Facebook dominieren in Entwicklungsländern den Internetzugang||German|
|FM4 ORF||21/01/2014||Internet-Freiheit in Gefahr||German|
|Berliner Zeitung||21/01/2014||Deutschland droht Zwei-Klassen-Internet||German|
|Frankfurter Rundschau||21/01/2014||Zwei-Klassen-Internet droht||German|
|Unwatched.org||20/01/2014||Jetzt handeln! - SaveTheInternet.eu: Kampagne zum Schutz der Netzneutralität||German|
|Linuxfr.org||19/01/2014||Internet La fin de la neutralité du net ?||Français|
|Radio Corax||17/01/2014||Die EU will die Netzneutralität faktisch Abschaffen - Bedeutung und Auswirkungen auf das heutige Internet||German|
|tevac||17/01/2014||La rete è in pericolo e TU puoi salvarla||Italian|
|Huffington Post||16/01/2014||Netzneutralität - "Ruf deinen Abgeordneten an": So kämpft das Netz für ein gerechtes Internet||German|
|Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten||16/01/2014||Kommerz und Zensur: EU und USA wollen das Internet verkaufen||German|
|La Tribune||16/01/2014||Dans la bataille Internet contre télécoms, les opérateurs gagnent une manche||Français|
|Kurier (print)||16/01/2014||Kampf um das offene Internet||German|
|Dziennik Internautów||15/01/2014||Neutralnosc internetu przegrywa w USA, a w UE walka trwa. Dolaczysz sie?||Polish|
|Punto Informatico||15/01/2014||USA, scacco matto alla neutralità?||Italian|
|Huffington Post||15/01/2014||Web 3.0: What The Internet Could Look Like Without Net Neutrality||English|
|Futurezone.at||15/01/2014||Kampf um das offene Internet in der EU und den USA||German|
|t3n||15/01/2014||EU entscheidet über Netzneutralität - Fordere deinen Abgeordneten auf, das Internet zu retten!||German|
|Netzpolitik.org||14/01/2014||SaveTheInternet.eu - Kampagne zur Netzneutralität||German|
|La Quadrature du Net||14/01/2014||SaveTheInternet.eu : Agissons pour la neutralité du Net !||French|
|PC INpact||14/01/2014||SaveTheInternet.eu : la neutralité du net et la « priorisation » en question||French|
|PC World||14/01/2014||European civil rights groups join forces to defend net neutrality||English|
|Heise||14/01/2014||EU-Kommissarin Kroes verteidigt Pläne zur Netzneutralität und Abschaffung der Roaminggebühren||German|
|Reuters||14/01/2014||Schneller gegen Aufpreis: US-Gericht kippt Netzneutralität||German|
|derStandard.at||14/01/2014||SaveTheInternet: Bürgerrechtler fordern Netzneutralität per Gesetz||German|
|Logbuch Netzpolitik||10/01/2014||LNP089 Botschaft bedeutet Botschaft||German|
|N24||09/01/2014||Netzpolitik: Ausblick auf 2014||German|
|panoptykon.org||09/01/2014||Powiedz: NIE dla Internetu dwóch prędkości!||Polish|
|ZDF||09/01/2014||Letzte Rettung für die Netzneutralität?||German|
|TAZ||08/01/2014||Internetaktivist über Netzneutralität: "Uns bleibt nur noch sehr wenig Zeit"||German|
|08/01/2014||savetheinternet.eu on reddit.com||English|
|Gulli.com||28/12/2013||30C3: Der Kampf um die Netzneutralität||German|
|30c3 Talk||27/12/2013||30C3: Der Kampf um Netzneutralität - Wer kontrolliert das Netz?||German|
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