Zero rating, also known as “sponsored data”, is the policy of mobile network providers and mobile virtual network providers to not charge their clients for using specific services, such as Facebook or YouTube. Zero rating is a bad idea for several reasons: You give specific services an advantage over their competitors, and push users towards using a certain service and disadvantage all others.
This is particularly dangerous in third world countries, because the markets there are still in development. It’s now come to light that in certain African and Asian countries the number of Facebook users is larger than the number of (open) internet users. Which is bad news. It increases Facebook’s ever-growing data monopoly. It’s also detrimental for these countries because it puts the mobile market under pressure: The larger mobile operators that can offer these kinds of bundles are able to easily push the competitors aside.
A recently published report supported by the Internet Policy Observatory about Iran’s approach to Internet governance provides insight into how an autocratic government plays a role in Internet policy and operations. And as the report shows, the situation is not all dark and gloomy.
Martha Lane Fox is calling for the creation of an institution to examine the ethical and moral issues posed by the internet.
Britain should lead the way in setting up the body, to counter the rise of huge commercial concerns that dominate our relationship with the internet, she will argue.
The European Union and the United States today held the 13th bilateral Information Society Dialogue and issued a statement highlighting issues discussed and agreed. The two government entities covered topics such as the EU Digital Single Market, digital skills, open internet, the data-driven economy, internet governance, the United Nations review of the 2003-2005 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), and cooperation on international telecommunications policy.
A recent panel of internet governance experts was divided on whether a primary global set of principles protecting the balance of power on the internet is needed.
In April 2015 GIPO, the Global Internet Policy Observatory initiative of the European Commission (DG CONNECT) will be launched. A webinar will be held on 30 April to introduce the project.