[A2k] Net Neutrality: Neelie Kroes Yields to Operator Pressure

La Quadrature du Net jz at laquadrature.net
Thu Jan 17 07:28:10 PST 2013


La Quadrature du Net – For immediate release

Permanent link: https://www.laquadrature.net/en/net-neutrality-neelie-kroes-yields-to-operator-pressure

Net Neutrality: Neelie Kroes Yields to Operator Pressure

*** Paris, 17 January 2013 — In an Op-Ed in Libération [1] (in French), Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Internet-related policies, can be found giving in to telecom operator pressure and giving up on Net Neutrality. Ms. Kroes supports the creation of a fragmented Internet, banning innovation and opening the door to unacceptable censorship. ***

Neelie Kroes says: "Public interest is not in opposition with consumers subscribing to limited Internet offers, more differenciated, possibly cheaper" (our translation). By deliberately ignoring that such offers would change almost nothing for operators in terms of cost [2], but would allow them to avoid investing in the development of network capacity while restraining possibilities for citizen participation, Neelie Kroes only takes into account short-term private interests that run contrary to public interest.

When fundamental freedoms, innovation and competition are threatened (as evidenced by a study by the BEREC, the European regulator, according to which 20 to 50% of EU citizens would be subject to such access restrictions [3]) invoking the free market is not sufficient. This pseudo-liberal discourse, which instrumentalizes child protection and privacy, only tries to hide - unsuccessfully - that Neelie Kroes is giving in to operator pressure and choosing not to act.

EU Commission representatives must urgently take strong measures to prevent telecom operators from controlling or censoring communications in order to protect citizens' fundamental freedoms [4]. Only users, at the network's edge, must be able to choose their access restrictions, through the use of parental control, ad blockers or any tool of their choice.

"Through such shameless defense of operators, Neelie Kroes is giving up on defending the public interest and citizens, who must keep fighting to defend a universal Internet that allows innovation and democratic participation. Net neutrality is not a question of market but, before anything else, a question of fundamental freedoms.", rages Benjamin Sonntag, co-founder of the citizen organisation La Quadrature du Net.

* References *

1. http://www.liberation.fr/medias/2013/01/16/internet-et-applications-de-filtrage-une-histoire-de-choix-et-de-recettes_874443
2. For example, neutral Internet access plans priced differently for different access speeds would be a way to segment the market while respecting Net neutrality and citizens' freedoms.
3. See our analysis: https://www.laquadrature.net/en/eu-telecom-regulators-wake-up-call-on-net-neutrality
4. See La Quadrature du Net's dossier on Net neutrality: https://www.laquadrature.net/en/Net_neutrality

** About la Quadrature du Net **

La Quadrature du Net is an advocacy group that defends the rights and freedoms of citizens on the Internet. More specifically, it advocates for the adaptation of French and European legislations to respect the founding principles of the Internet, most notably the free circulation of knowledge. 

In addition to its advocacy work, the group also aims to foster a better understanding of legislative processes among citizens. Through specific and pertinent information and tools, La Quadrature du Net hopes to encourage citizens' participation in the public debate on rights and freedoms in the digital age.

La Quadrature du Net is supported by French, European and international NGOs including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Open Society Institute and Privacy International.

List of supporting organisations: https://www.laquadrature.net/en/they-support-la-quadrature-du-net

** Press contact and press room **

Jérémie Zimmermann, jz at laquadrature.net, +33 (0)615 940 675


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