Net neutrality: Freedom also means banning positive discrimination
Wed 25 Feb 2015, 20:00

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.

EDRi summary on net neutrality in Europe
Fri 27 Feb 2015, 14:20

After the US FCC’s ruling on net neutrality, what is going on in Europe?

In September 2013, the European Commission produced a badly drafted, incoherent “Telecoms Single Market Regulation”, which included proposals that claimed to support net neutrality, but which would actually destroy it. In March, 2014, the European Parliament adopted its first reading of that proposal, closing the loopholes in the badly written text. This improved text was supported by a big majority in the Parliament.

Now, the third institution in the EU framework, the Council of the European Union (made up of Member State Ministers) is about to adopt its position. After almost exactly a year of discussions, the Council has deleted most of the elements of the badly-written, badly-planned Regulation, leaving just the parts on net neutrality and roaming.

The Council’s draft (pdf)*, discussed on 27 February at Working Group level, will be finalised next Wednesday by Member State Representatives. As a result of extensive pressure from the large Member States (especially Spain), loopholes that would undermine net neutrality have been re-inserted.

FCC passes strict net neutrality regulations on 3-2 vote
Fri 27 Feb 2015, 14:58

As expected, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed new net neutrality regulations today on a vote of 3-2, with the Commission’s two Democratic appointees joining Chairman Tom Wheeler in voting yes. The Commission’s two Republican-appointed members both voted no.

Notably, the FCC’s plan is now known to have undergone a last-minute revision to remove a potential weakness in its formation, pointed out by Google, that might have allowed for some paid prioritization. If you were curious about Google’s take on net neutrality, that fact should settle the question.

Europe's political youth organizations demand strict net neutrality rules
Mon 2 Mar 2015, 19:40

European political youth organizations have demanded that European countries draft strict and clear net neutrality rules that prevent ISPs from discriminating against certain Internet traffic.

In order to keep the Internet open, all data on the Internet should be treated equally, 51 youth organizations said in a manifest sent to European ministers on Monday.

The ministers, gathered in the Council of the EU, are in the process of discussing a new EU telecom law as proposed by the European Commission and the European Parliament that contains clauses on net neutrality and roaming. The Parliament in April last year voted to enshrine net neutrality in EU law, so that all traffic would be treated equally and without discrimination. However, the Council is trying to get some traffic discrimination back into the draft.

 

New Internet rules set up industry's next battle
Sun 1 Mar 2015, 18:40

New rules that aim to protect the openness of the Internet will allow telecom and cable groups to prioritize and earn potentially vast income from some types of data, setting up likely clashes with regulators in the future.

Telecom companies such as AT&T and Vodafone have convinced U.S. and European regulators, finalizing so-called "net neutrality" rules, to allow them to dedicate network capacity to services such as providing connectivity to driverless cars and facilitating the exchange of medical data between patients and health professionals.

Summary of what we know about the FCC net neutrality rules
Fri 27 Feb 2015, 19:20

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to pass new net neutrality rules and reclassify broadband as a regulated telecommunications service, but the text of the full order may not be released for several weeks. This article is about what we know so far.