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Internet Campaign Launched to Protect Net Neutrality from Abuse by ISPs

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 (11:28 am) - Score 337
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A new campaign has been launched by Fight for the Future (FFTF) that calls on the EU and telecoms regulators to ensure that their new Net Neutrality rules close any loopholes that allow ISPs to sell “Internet fast lanes” to large companies or limit traffic to online services like VPN or P2P (File Sharing) etc.

The Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC), which represents national telecoms regulators from across the EU (e.g. Ofcom in the UK), recently followed the EU’s direction and published their first draft of new Net Neutrality guidelines that will require ISPs to maintain an open Internet (here).

However the non-profit FFTF organisation, which works to protect the Internet from rules that might limit our basic rights and freedoms, notes that the new EU approach still contains some caveats. In particular, the group claims that rules would allow ISPs to slow down websites for profit and or to impose limits on traffic to specific Internet services.

Tiffiniy Cheng, Fight for the Future co-Founder, said:

“If European regulators don’t close these loopholes, telecom giants will be able to roll out paid fastlanes across Europe. European users will suffer the most—as sites they love are forced to pay for special treatment—but the impact on the open Internet will be felt globally, as telecom giants conspire with tech giants to silence competing voices.”

The new rules do indeed allow for general Traffic Management measures to be imposed, albeit only to “prevent impending network congestion and mitigate the effects of exceptional or temporary network congestion, provided that equivalent categories of traffic are treated equally.”

Many ISPs have some degree of traffic management like this and BitTorrent P2P networks (these are often used for piracy) are often targeted, although exceptions are usually made for legitimate P2P services like XBox Live, Microsoft Updates and various online multiplayer games etc.

Similarly various other exceptions exist in order to support network security measures (e.g. systems for tackling cyber-crime, DDoS attacks, email spam and or viruses), court-ordered website blocks, optional parental controls and in order to allow ISPs to offer premium broadband based Pay TV (IPTV) products.

The concern is that some of these exceptions could be twisted and abused by providers (we’ve yet to see much serious abuse), which is why the FFTF has launched their “EU Slowdown” campaign to coincide with BEREC’s consultation on the new guidelines that is open until 18th July (BEREC aim to post a final conclusion by 30th August 2016).

Apparently more than 7,000 websites are today protesting the measure by displaying a slow loading icon, which is made from Europe’s flag. This is set to run until the end of BEREC’s consultation.

Fight for the Future

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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