EU laws already protect the open Internet: let’s enforce them now to stop the rise of the ‘unternets’

There’s a sign in a street near the Skype office which reads: I can’t understand why people are afraid of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones. I like that. It is actually indicative of some of the things we witness in the world of Internet access today: a desire by some to change the Internet to lots of little old-style ‘unternets’, away from the current openness where anyone can put their opinion, apps, services online, and anyone can access these, whether on fixed or mobile devices, without asking prior permission from anyone.

Last Thursday I was in Brussels at the EU Net Neutrality Summit where I explained this: the open character of the Internet is the fundamental reason and foundation behind all the benefits derived from the advent of the Internet over the past twenty years by users – citizens, society and the economy.

But we see restrictions being put in place arbitrarily by some mobile operators in Europe on what end-users can do online; and what innovators can do online. These restrictions could lead us away from the open Internet towards the emergence of several separate subnets – what I think of as ‘unternets’: that is, a net with video, another net for voice over IP but not video, another net for news and email but not VoIP and gaming, an extensive Internet for those that can afford to pay a lot, or a very basic net with only a few chosen apps and websites for those that cannot pay enough — in short, a situation which would considerably diminish the economic and social utility of the Internet, and would reinforce the digital divide.

Fortunately in Europe, we already have basic legislation to protect the open Internet and net neutrality. EU telecom law revised in 2009 includes a policy principle to foster the open Internet, transparency requirements so that consumers will know what access they’re really buying, and powers for regulators to take action against those network operators that restrict the open Internet. That’s on top of a long-standing rule protecting end to end connectivity. Continue reading …

Related Posts

Google’s Lack of Transparency and Openness in the Android Market Will Hurt More Than... The vast open landscape for users, developers, and industry that Google announced with the release of Android has been growing narrower and more opaqu...
Android Malware DroidDream: How it Works Yesterday, Google pulled more than 50 apps from the Android Market after they were found to contain the Android malware dubbed DroidDream. Similar to...
Building a Distributed, Decentralized Internet – A Roadmap I know that I'm not Patrick, and I don't pretend to speak for anyone but myself here. I just want to say that I share Patrick's belief in the radical ...
Animation in Honeycomb One of the new features ushered in with the Honeycomb release is a new animation system, a set of APIs in a whole new package (android.animation) that...
ISP Cannot Be Forced To Block Copyright Infringing Files An advisor to the European Court of Justice has said that an ISP involved in a long-running file-sharing dispute cannot be forced to block or filter c...
CAPTCHAs With Chaos: Strong Protection for Weak Passwords The passwords of the future could become more secure and, at the same time, simpler to use. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics...

We Recommend These Vendors

Launch an SSD VPS in Europe, USA, Asia & Australia on Vultr's KVM-based Cloud platform starting at $5:00/month (15 GB SSD, 768 MB of RAM).

Deploy an SSD Cloud server in 55 seconds on DigitalOcean. Built for developers and starting at $5:00/month (20 GB SSD, 512 MB of RAM).


One Comment

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention EU laws already protect the open Internet: let’s enforce them now to stop the rise of the ‘unternets’ — LinuxBSDos.com -- Topsy.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*