In 2015, the European Union adopted legislation on net neutrality. The regulation contains good principles but also created loopholes that could undermine net neutrality. The legislators decided to leave the responsibility of clarifying the uncertainties of the text to telecom regulators.
This way, the EU will give Internet service providers the power to privilege some sites and slow down others, argues the Save the Internet campaign site.
Initiators of the campaign, such as EDRI, Access Now and Initiative für Netzfreiheit urge Europeans to sign their petition, as telecom regulators are about to decide to give big telecom corporations the power to influence what we can and cannot do online.
The campaign, which runs until July 18, calls on all European Internet users to tell Internet service providers that net neutrality matters and a system that privileges some sites over others (slowing the traffic of the latter sites) practically destroys the basic principle of what we today call the Internet.
"As we are getting to the finish line, telecoms companies are fighting tooth and nail to water down the European Union’s Net Neutrality rules, blackmailing the EU by threatening to withhold 5G investment if strong Net Neutrality is put into place." - Estelle Massé, Policy Analyst of Access Now told to Liberties.eu.
What does this mean in practice?
1. Specialized services could get a "fast lane" for big Internet corporations and push the rest of the websites, initiatives and start-ups into "slow lanes."
2. Internet providers could manage online traffic in a way that it decides for you what traffic is important and what is less important.
3. Your internet use may be penalized with extra charges based on the sites you visit, in the event we allow providers to become the gatekeepers of the net.
How did we end up here?
The adopted net neutrality legislation is said to be a good basis for ensuring equal access for all to the Internet. Since the end of April, the rules apply in all 28 EU member states. By the end of August 2016, the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) must prepare implementation guidelines to interpret the ambiguities of the law. These guidelines will determine the future of net neutrality in Europe.
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