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Europe should keep the internet open

Who gets to decide what you do on the internet: you or your internet service provider? Until recently, the answer was simple: you decide which services and websites you want visit. This is changing rapidly, however. Most internet providers want to restrict your internet traffic. Unless the European Commission prohibits them from doing so. Bits of Freedom together with EDRi on 30 September 2010 urged the European Commission to prohibit this. If you have 5 minutes, you can do the same.

In our submission (PDF), we conclude that:

  • An open internet is crucial for fundamental freedoms, innovation, and competition.
  • Internet providers, however, have incentives of their own to stifle the open internet.
  • Furthermore, governments and private parties attempt to force internet providers to stifle the open internet for the benefit of narrow sectoral interests.
  • And in practice, internet providers do indeed stifle the open internet for the above reasons.
  • Meanwhile, transparency obligations, competition and minimum guarantees cannot safeguard an open internet.
  • Waiting is not an option, as the examples of local loop unbundling and mobile roaming demonstrate.
  • Narrowly-tailored regulatory EU measures should therefore safeguard the open internet.

If you agree with the conclusions, you can send an email to the European Commission, stating that you agree with the paper submitted by Bits of Freedom and EDRi in reaction to the consultation on net neutrality.  You can, of course, also submit your own reaction. You can send the email to INFSO-NETNEUTRALITY [at] ec.europa.eu. The deadline is 30 September (today) so be fast! We assume that endorsing mails which arrive some days after the deadline will not be completely ignored, however.

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