Europe is attempting to renege on an agreement to implement net neutrality legislation across European Union member states. Back in May, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted in favour of Europe-wide net neutrality legislation, a positive step in protecting internet rights for users and content providers alike. However, after being passed through the belly of the European Council, the proposed net neutrality regulations have become so mangled that they no longer represent a free and open internet.
UK internet activism organisation Open Rights Group (ORG) is campaigning for the next round of negotiations, due to take place on 29th June, to change the legislation to better reflect true net neutrality.
As the proposal stands at present, it is open to exploitation by ISPs and other online service providers. ORG describes the flaws within the fledgling legislation:
The Council’s text could allow Internet Service Providers to charge customers and companies extra for receiving and delivering different types of online services. Only those who pay more will have easy access to an audience online. It would also authorise blocking of lawful content. This is completely counter to net neutrality and contradicts the Parliament’s position.
ORG also accuses the European Parliament of being complicit in undermining the integrity of net neutrality, despite agreeing to the protections in principle, saying:
The Council and the Parliament have been negotiating the final text of the new net neutrality rules for the last few months. And we’ve seen the Parliament give in to the Council’s demands time and again while the Council has given up almost nothing. The Parliament have even conceded on the definition of net neutrality. The phrase net neutrality isn’t even in the most recent working text. The Council has successfully replaced it with a vague “open internet” which suggests there is a “non-open” Internet, which is worrying.
In an effort to guide the legislation back into something resembling real net neutrality, ORG is asking all European citizens to contact their MEP to implore them to stand up for a free and open internet. If you are interested in helping fight the good fight, click here to get the relevant information how to contact your MEP.
Image courtesy of Oompfh.