Europe Is About to Adopt Bad Net Neutrality Rules. Here’s How to Fix Them

HOW THE AMENDMENTS WILL FIX THE PROPOSAL

Let’s look more closely at the major problems with the compromise proposal and how to fix them.

PROBLEM #1:

The proposal allows ISPs to create fast lanes for companies that pay through the specialized services exception.

PROBLEM #2:

The proposal generally allows zero-rating and gives regulators very limited ability to police it, leaving users and companies without protection against all but the most egregious cases.

PROBLEM #3:

The proposal allows ISPs to define classes and speed up or slow down traffic in those classes, even if there is no congestion. This allows ISPs to distort competition, stifles innovation, harms users, and hurts providers who encrypt traffic by putting all encrypted traffic in the slow lane.

PROBLEM #4:

The proposal allows ISPs to start managing congestion in the case of impending congestion. That means that they can slow down traffic anytime, not just during times of actual congestion.

HOW WE GOT HERE — AND WHAT WE SHOULD DO NEXT

In April 2014, the European Parliament voted for strong network neutrality rules for the European Union. But under European law, network neutrality rules need to be adopted jointly by the Parliament and the Council, which consists of the representatives of the governments of each member state. Over the past year, the Council has consistently supported proposals that were significantly weaker than the Parliament’s text. In late June, representatives of the Parliament and the Council unexpectedly reached a compromise in informal negotiations. This compromise proposal was formally adopted by the Council in September.

--

--

Law Professor, Stanford Law School. Director, Stanford Center for Internet and Society. Author, Internet Architecture and Innovation.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Barbara van Schewick

Barbara van Schewick

120 Followers

Law Professor, Stanford Law School. Director, Stanford Center for Internet and Society. Author, Internet Architecture and Innovation.