[A2k] Net Neutrality: BEREC on the Right Path, Let's Keep the Pressure on

La Quadrature du Net contact at laquadrature.net
Fri Sep 30 04:19:52 PDT 2016


 
	* 

Press Release 

TAGS : NET NEUTRALITY, BEREC, FREEDOM OF SPEECH, NEELIE KROES, PILAR DEL
CASTILLO VERA 

La Quadrature du Net -- For immediate release 

Permanent link:
https://www.laquadrature.net/en/Net-Neutrality-BEREC-on-the-Right-Path-Keep-the-Pressure-on
[1] 

NET NEUTRALITY: BEREC ON THE RIGHT PATH, LET'S KEEP THE PRESSURE ON

Paris, 30 September 2016 -- NET NEUTRALITY IS ONE OF CENTRAL CHALLENGE IN
THE APPLICATION OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS IN THE DIGITAL SPACE. TOO OFTEN IT
HAS BEEN ONLY CONSIDERED AS A TECHNICAL OR COMMERCIAL ISSUE, BUT IT HAS
SERIOUS IMPACT ON THE REAL EXERCISE OF RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH, RIGHT TO
INFORMATION AND ON HOW THE SOCIETY BUILD AND THINK OF ITSELF; BUT ALSO HAS
IMPORTANT IMPACTS ON INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL ISSUES. LA QUADRATURE DU NET
HAS FOLLOWED THIS ISSUE SINCE ITS START IN THE EUROPEAN DEBATE CIRCA 2009
BY TRYING TO DEFEND A DEFINITION AND WORDING IN EU LAW OF A STRICT NET
NEUTRALITY, PROTECTING USERS AND GUARANTEEING OPPORTUNITIES OF DEVELOPMENT
IN A SANE DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT. AS THE BEREC [2] GUIDELINES FOR THE TELECOM
REGULATION ADOPTED IN OCTOBER 2015 HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED, IT IS TIME TO COME
BACK ON THE FEW YEARS OF CAMPAIGN AND TO PRESENT THE NEXT FIGHTS AND
CHALLENGES FOR FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS. 

La Quadrature du Net has defended, since 2009 and the first announces of EU
works on Net Neutrality, an approach based on the defence of fundamental
rights: to secure Net Neutrality, it is to defend the access of all to the
Internet network, it is to allow to receive and send information with the
same condition for all, it is to guarantee technical condition to a free
and fair exercise of freedom of speech and information. 

It was not self-evident: as soon as the subject was within the speeches of
Telecom operators and big digital companies, everything was made to
consider Net Neutrality only from the perspective of financing Internet
traffic and not as a major issue for the balance of the network that
determines the quality of access and circulation of the information and
services for the users as a whole. 

To tell the whole story of the fight for Net Neutrality would be as tedious
as revealing of the EU and national decision-making processes, the weight
of lobbying, the strength of industries but also the assets of activists
and citizens who committed themselves, on the long run, for the defence of
the funding principles of the Internet. For La Quadrature du Net, it means
skill improvements on technological, legal and institutional fields for
staff, interns, members of the board and volunteers who committed
themselves for more than 6 years in this battle. This meant also getting
experience of EU institutions, the strength of conviction of a handful of
committed defenders of liberties, the bet of citizen participation in the
legislative process, the development of original campaigning tools and
adapted to La Quadrature's actions, the creation and defence of a clear and
uncompromising discourse for all users, and the establishment of strong
bonds and coalition with other European or international organisations also
aware of the stakes of Net Neutrality for fundamental rights. 

Over the years, Net Neutrality's case fluctuated between hope and
disappointment. In 2009, after amendment tabled by the US operator, AT&T,
aiming to legalise discriminatory traffic management practices, La
Quadrature du Net was the first EU NGO [3] to oppose it. Regardless of a
real lack of effort to information [4] of elected representatives and
citizens on this complex subject, we couldn't compel the Parliament and the
Member States to write in the Telecom Package under negotiations, a
disposition protecting this principle. Nonetheless, the European Commission
committed to study the subject and intervene if needed after the
legislative process (see annex 2 [5] of the press release of November 2009
greeting the adoption of the Telecom Package). 

It was followed by 4 years of indecision. While in France, the Arcep and
some MPs were teaching themselves on the subject through workshops,
auditions and reports, the European Commission --Neelie Kroes in
particular-- in charge of the Digital Agenda let it wash over her. In 2011,
facing the refusal of the EU authorities to consider the importance of the
issue, La Quadrature du Net was at the origin of RespectMyNet [6], a
platform allowing EU Internet users to document Net Neutrality
infringements. 

No matter parliamentary reports calling for a legislation on this matter,
Neelie Kroes opposed it. Worst, between 2011 and 2013, she kept being
closer and closer to the positions defended by large EU Telecom operators,
those who started a new cycle of concentration in the sector. In this
context, Neelie Kroes surprised civil society by announcing during the
summer 2013, her project for a telecommunications regulation [7], which was
presented as a tool to defend Net Neutrality and was very clearly inspired
by the proposals [8] of the big Telcos. For three years, a group of large
telecom industries and universities were "explaining" --through the
financing of the European Union-- that the only way possible was to
prioritise Internet traffic in order to finance the modernisation of the
network, obviously ignoring the arguments of the people advocating for Net
Neutrality. 

The balance of Neelie Kroes' project was: 

 	* Prioritisation of the traffic to allow Telcos to conclude agreements
with large content providers, social networks, etc. (Google, Facebook...)
in order to prioritise those content --discriminating all small content
providers, SME, individuals, civil organisations who wouldn't have the
possibility or would refuse to pay.
 	* Creation of status for specialised services allowing a prioritised
traffic whereas equivalent services --but not paying or not enough-- would
be de facto more difficult to access.
 	* Implementation offers of zero rating and other pricing systems on the
volume and commercial agreements, prioritising content providers.

Afterwards, the European Parliament studied the text. It started
disastrously by choosing Pilar del Castillo Vera [9] (EPP - ES) as a
rapporteur, who followed the path taken by the European Commission and
Telcos. 

In November 2013, the sad picture of Net Neutrality lead few civil
organisations such as La Quadrature du Net to organise themselves around
SaveTheInternet.eu [10]. After months of difficult negotiations, the
European Parliament voted in extremis, on 3rd April 2014, a text which was
clearly in favour [11] of Net Neutrality. This was a great but fragile
victory for the SaveTheInternet coalition and the few MEPs who seek to
defend rights and freedom from the beginning. 

Fragile because the Council of the European Union who had to give its
position on the text and was less open to the voice of the people than to
the power of large Telco companies with whom Member States have incestuous
relationships. The pressure had to be maintained for over a year and half
on the European Parliament to obtain in October 2015 a vote on a ambiguous
text letting a large leeway for interpretation for the BEREC in charge of
writing guidelines for the implementation of the Regulation in the nine
next months. 

After a consultation who collected over 500 000 answers from individuals,
NGOs and Telco professionals, the BEREC published and publicly presented on
the 30 August 2016 its guidelines, stating the principles chosen to
coordinate the implementation of an open Internet. The BEREC played its
role by remaining closed to Telco industries and by framing especially few
practices who have been underlined by the SaveTheInternet.eu coalition,
such as the specialised services and traffic management measures. Moreover,
if the zero rating is not forbidden, the interpretation of the guidelines
should not allow to implement those kind of practices. 

A few important limits related to operators' commercial offers are
particularly noteworthy, yet for some likely to drastically limit freedom
of access to information and freedom of speech.These offers remain in a
grey zone [12] and will have to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the
National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs, the ARCEP in France), until
regulators coordinate with each other and develop a form of jurisprudence
over their inspections. 

Also, in our common answer with FDN Federation to the consultation, we have
raised few points unfortunately not taken into account by the BEREC: 

 	* The guidelines (paragraph 16) authorise to supply one IP address only
(IPV4 or IPV6). But as IPV4 addresses are now scarce and lots of ISPs are
postponing the implementation of IPV6 without providing an IPV4 equivalent,
like in most of mobile Internet offers. Without a quick deployment of IPV6,
the users without a public IP (even fix) will be more and more restrained
in the possibility to offer content and applications. Thus the
infringements of Net Neutrality made by mobile ISPs could spread if
National Regulatory Agencies do not stop those practices.
 	* At the paragraph 50 (formerly 471 [13]), it is written that all traffic
should be treated equally. Or a bad interconnection, for example with a
competing service to the one of the operator could lead to an access
discrimination to some contents, as it was the case in France with Youtube
videos being discriminated by Free or Orange.

That being said, the result is clearly in favour of Internet user's rights
and as soon as it was published this has been denounced [14] by the Telecom
industries who considers it as a terrible constraint. In that sense, the
BEREC's guidelines are a victory for the Net Neutrality defenders. The
principle of the user having control over his/her communications and the
role of the technical intermediary played by the operator are --more or
less-- entrenched in law. 

After more than seven years spent trying to put Net Neutrality in the
European legislation, La Quadrature du Net is released and realises that
the worst threats have been countered. And beside that the worst blocking
or slowdown practices are declining, while they were commonly used a few
years ago. 

NONETHELESS, WE MUST STAY ALERT DURING THE CONCRETE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
REGULATION AND FOCUS ON EUROPEAN REGULATORS' FUTURE ACTIVITIES. THE
EUROPEAN COMMISSION HAS JUST ANNOUNCED A CODIFICATION OF THE EUROPEAN
TELECOMMUNICATION LAW [15] THAT MAY CHALLENGE THE FEW LEGISLATIVE PROGRESS
OF THE LAST YEARS. THE TELECOM OPERATORS, CURRENTLY DEVELOPING CONVERGENCE
STRATEGIES WITH BIG MEDIA GROUPS, ARE VERY INFLUENCING POLITICAL
STAKEHOLDERS AND THEY WILL KEEP FIGHTING TO REINFORCE THEIR CONTROL OVER
NETWORKS AND DIGITAL ECONOMY. MORE THAN EVER, EUROPEAN CITIZENS'
IMPLICATION IN CONTROLLING THE EFFICIENCY OF THE ADOPTED MEASURES IS NEED
ON A DAILY BASIS AND THUS MAKE THE REGULATORS UNDERSTAND AND FEEL THAT THEY
HAVE BEHIND THEM CAREFUL USERS WHO CARE ABOUT THE PRINCIPLE OF A FREE, OPEN
AND NEUTRAL INTERNET. TOOLS, SUCH AS RESPECTMYNET.EU [16] WHICH ALLOWS
DOCUMENTING NET NEUTRALITY INFRINGEMENTS, WILL BE MAINTAINED AND FURTHER
DEVELOPED IN ORDER TO ENABLE CITIZENS TO PLAY THEIR OWN ROLE IN THE
PROTECTION OF NET NEUTRALITY. 

 [16] 

 	* 1. [17] The numbering of the paragraph was modified between the version
published for consultation and the final version

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 [18] 

PRESS CONTACT AND PRESS ROOM

contact at laquadrature.net - +33 (0)972 294 426 

https://www.laquadrature.net/en/press-room [19] 

 _To unsubscribe, click here [20]_
 _La Quadrature du Net
60, rue des Orteaux
Paris, 75020
_ 

 

Links:
------
[1] https://www.laquadrature.net/en/Net-Neutrality-BEREC-on-the-Right-Path-Keep-the-Pressure-on
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_of_European_Regulators_of_Electronic_Communications
[3] https://www.laquadrature.net/en/who-wants-net-discrimination-in-europe
[4] https://www.laquadrature.net/files/LaQuadratureduNet-DOSSIER_Protecting_Net_Neutrality_in_Europe.pdf
[5] https://archive.is/ABlVn
[6] https://www.laquadrature.net/fr/respectmynet-une-plate-forme-citoyenne-recense-les-restrictions-dacces-au-net
[7] https://www.laquadrature.net/en/why-the-eu-commissions-true-intent-is-to-kill-net-neutrality
[8] https://www.laquadrature.net/en/neelie-kroes-pushing-telcos-agenda-to-end-net-neutrality
[9] https://www.laquadrature.net/en/will-the-eu-parliament-enable-discrimination-online-or-uncompromising-net-neutrality
[10] https://www.laquadrature.net/en/savetheinterneteu-act-now-for-net-neutrality
[11] https://www.laquadrature.net/en/net-neutrality-a-great-step-forward-for-the-free-internet
[12] https://www.laquadrature.net/en/50-shades-of-grey-for-net-neutrality
[13] https://www.laquadrature.net/en/Net-Neutrality-BEREC-on-the-Right-Path-Keep-the-Pressure-on%20#footnote1_e987t7w
[14] http://www.euractiv.com/section/digital/news/internet-activists-hail-historic-eu-net-neutrality-rules/
[15] https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/proposed-directive-establishing-european-electronic-communications-code
[16] https://respectmynet.eu/
[17] https://www.laquadrature.net/en/Net-Neutrality-BEREC-on-the-Right-Path-Keep-the-Pressure-on%20#footnoteref1_e987t7w
[18] https://www.laquadrature.net/en/they-support-la-quadrature-du-net
[19] https://www.laquadrature.net/en/press-room
[20] http://www.laquadrature.net/civicrm/mailing/optout?reset=1&jid=286&qid=131272&h=6a205d66511c1c3b



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