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Netherlands first country in Europe with net neutrality

Nederland is netneutraal!
DOSSIER: Netneutraliteit

On 8 May 2012 The Netherlands adopted crucial legislation to safeguard an open and secure internet in The Netherlands. It is the first country in Europe to implement net neutrality in the law. In addition, it adopted provisions protecting users against disconnection and wiretapping by providers. Digital rights movement Bits of Freedom calls upon other countries to follow the Dutch example.

The net neutrality law prohibits internet providers from interfering with the traffic of their users. The law allows for traffic management in case of congestion and for network security, as long as these measures serve the interests of the internet user. A technical error in the law might still be corrected in a vote on 15 May.

In addition, the law includes an anti-wiretapping provision, restricting internetproviders from using invasive wiretapping technologies, such as deep packet inspection (DPI). They may only do so under limited circumstances, or with explicit consent of the user, which the user may withdraw at any time. The use of DPI gained much attention when KPN admitted that it analysed the traffic of its users to gather information on the use of certain apps. The law allows for wiretapping with a warrant.

Moreover, the law includes a provision ensuring that internet providers can only disconnect their users in a very limited set of circumstances. Internet access is very important for functioning in an information society, and providers currently could on the basis of their terms and conditions disconnect their users for numerous reasons. The provision allows for the disconnection in the case of fraud or when a user doesn’t pay his bills.

Bits of Freedom, the Dutch digital rights movement which campaigned for these provisions, applauds the new law. It considers this a historical moment for internet freedom in The Netherlands and calls on other countries to follow the Dutch example.

The provisions are part of the implementation of the European telecommunications rules. A translation of the provisions can be found here, but it does not include the technical error in the law which might be corrected on the 15th.

Update (05-15-2012): the Senate has just passed a law that corrects the technical error in the net neutrality law.

  1. Neutral....

    ….except when BRIEN forces them to intercept and block sites like the pirate bay

  2. Naam

    En wat heeft dit voor effect op de blokkade van The Pirate Bay door Ziggo en UPC?

  3. Rejo Zenger

    @Naam: Geen. Een aanbieder mag ingrijpen als hij daartoe wordt bevolen door een rechter.

  4. haha

    Ik denk dat hiermee de blokkade door BREIN wel aanvechtbaar gaat worden. Helaas maakt nieuwe wetgeving een oudere uitspraak, gebaseerd op oudere wetgeving niet onmiddelijk ongeldig. Maar ik denk dat de jurisprudentie nu wel aardig gaat worden:
    1. Nieuwe zaak van BREIN naar weetikwie wordt afgedaan. Netneutrality houdt blokkade tegen.
    2. Oude blokkade, van Ziggo en KPN worden met deze uitspraak weer aanvechtbaar.

    Het zal mij benieuwen

  5. Malcolm

    en is het toevallig niet een onderdeel van een wet geworden die hoger staat en dit praktisch alweer onschadelijk maakt?

    waarschijnlijk weer een mooi spelletje om ‘het volk’ te laten zien dat ze echt wel ‘naar ons luisteren’..

    en dan uiteindelijk blijkt de wet een zeef te zijn

  6. Axel Roest

    Neutral… has a point. How neutral is the net when all kinds of legislations can put roadblocks on it? What will weigh more now, the net neutrality ‘law’, or the verdict of the judge in the Stichting Brein case?

  7. Rejo Zenger

    @haha, @axel-roest: “Providers of public electronic communication networks which deliver internet access services and providers of internet access services do not hinder or slow down applications and services on the internet, unless and to the extent that the measure in question with which applications or services are being hindered or slowed down is necessary: […] to give effect to a legislative provision or court order.” In other words, an ISP is forced to block traffic to a website if a judge orders the ISP to do so. If we want to have this different, I suppose we should change the law that enables BREIN to get such an order (e.g. change the Auteurswet).

  8. pirate

    The Dutch elections are not too far away, lets vote pirate party. To stop craziness like BREIN we need to change some laws (auteurswet, patentrecht)

  9. Wrathier Hilltaker

    This is the first of many steps in enforcing “Pirate” law. Long live the free movies, free games and free p0rn for us their for different reasons cannot afford to pay it 🙂

  10. markus

    This is great, I hope sweden follow this example. Greetings!

  11. Dave Bell

    So this is the implementation of a European Union directive? We should get something similar in the UK then, one day.

  12. Confused

    Why mention the technical error in the law twice without providing any information of the actual error?

  13. Ot van Daalen

    @Confused: Hmmm, yes. Let me clear things up.

    Due to a voting error in the second chamber of the Dutch parliament, an exception to the principle of net neutrality was introduced which allowed for a specific, narrow restriction of services and websites on ideological grounds. The provision allowed to restrict services (unofficial translation):

    “e. to grant an explicit request of the subscriber to restrict services or applications on the basis of ideological motives specified by the subscriber, if the provider does not offer the subscriber any monetary or other advantage and the provider already offered the possibility to grant such a request before 1 June 2011.”

    The Dutch text:

    “e. om tegemoet te komen aan een uitdrukkelijk verzoek van de abonnee om diensten of toepassingen op grond van door de abonnee gespecificeerde ideologische motieven te belemmeren, mits de aanbieder de abonnee voor dit verzoek geen geldelijk of ander voordeel biedt en de aanbieder de mogelijkheid om aan een dergelijk verzoek te voldoen reeds voor 1 juni 2011 aanbood.”

    We argued that this was unnecessary, as people have the possibility to use all kinds of filtering services and software. The second chamber later corrected this voting error in a separate act.

    The first chamber now adopted the first act (which included the voting error), but will only vote on the second act (which corrected the voting error) on the 15th of May. If this error remains in place, there is a theoretic possibility of this provision being abused by providers (blocking Skype for ideological purposes), but we hope that there is a majority in favor of correction.

    Hope this is clear: it is not very simple 🙂

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  15. Brandon

    What an amazing country. I wish the USA was as progressive and intelligent.

  16. Mark Lindhout

    Gefeliciteerd iedereen! Een stapje in de goede richting!

    Congratulations everybody! It’s a step in the right direction!

  17. ozyamdrias

    om maar even met een kreet te komen van uitting: YAHOO.com!

  18. Emerson Estrella

    Congrats to all citizens from Netherlands. Well done!

    Hope that some day Brazil will get on this way.

  19. bier drinker

    de huidige overheid zorgt ervoor dat Nederland voor de kerst naar de kloten is

  20. Thomas

    Yay! Congratulations to my Dutch students and friends. I hope the US can move in this direction.

  21. Hmm

    Alright, who forgot to pay off the lobbyists in Netherlands?

  22. Guga

    The Netherlands is known as “the” place for freedom of speech since the XV century! I’m glad to see this mentality persists.
    As for intelectual property laws, they are a competence of the Benelux Office of Intelectual Property and to modify the treaty, all three countries must accept…

  23. Cas

    I suppose this is something, lets hope the next government fixes the rest of the mess the last one made….
    oh and I am very happy about this news, my government just took a step in the right direction!

  24. Dave

    Coo! So, now I guess Pirate Bay will work again (Opens tpb in browser)….Doh!!

  25. Ryan

    Congratulations on being the only country in the world to have sane politicians.

  26. I Love Nederland

    Nederland thy name is freedom. And you could encourage and invite Julian Assange to maintain WikiLeaks main offices in Nederland.

  27. Mario

    This is a strange propaganda article. The Netherlands does not have net neutrality. Brein and the copyright maffia own this country. Judges are corrupt and there are no freedom fighters anymore. Joris Demmink is king here and it would be a miracle if BOF placed this comment and didnt delete it.

  28. Mario

    I hope that is a joke. Julian Assange pisses upon the quality of the law in this country. The Netherlands fears the copyright overlords and they fear the United States even more!

  29. Balder

    Its sad to see that so many people reading this actually think that the dutch government is protecting internet freedom, or that we have sane politicians. This is a good thing yes, but we are far from internet freedom, and far from privacy, I don’t trhink Bits of Freedom meant to say that we aren’t, they know how far we still have to go.

  30. Anoniem

    Ha ha ha, sane politicians in The Netherlands?
    Don’t make me laugh

  31. Niek

    What à bull of crap. Easy to say al that shit and give no sources to check.

  32. Niek

    Minder bier drinken en meer nadenken.

  33. Eglefino

    It’s indeed propaganda, because in the Netherlands all is going with words of a Ministry (Ivo Opstelten, Fred Teeven) and it’s not a rule by law yet! Changing the Dutch law takes almost 5-years, so that Ministry tells the Dutch inhabitants his words by media (national papers, TV) his thoughts about ‘Safety & Justice’ on the internet will be the same as other intelligences, because urope have no system as the COMNIT XKeyscore. So the Netherlands Intelligences will be cooperate to get their own information if it is all by law, I don’t ink so… They did not ask me per example!

  34. Eglefino

    Freedom of Speech is not in the Netherlands any more. There was a moment (a long period) but with the invasion of persons from outside Europe with an Islamic culture and another religion as accepted here in general; Free of Speech wasn’t their because all our words were weighed by the moment, the text which was spoken could be a sort of discrimination to another culture/religion. So Free of Speech isn’t in Europe any more even not in the Netherlands.

    By the way those work-immigrants (in Dutch: gastarbeiders) should work here for a short time (1 – 2 years) and after a period of time they should return to their families, but they never went back. The whole population changed in a by the government promote ‘word’ in a multicultural nation. If you don’t think/talk the same way as the government want (!) than you are someone with fascistic ideas and a person which need extra police/intelligence attention. So does the Netherlands or Europe have a free speech? No!
    I love Italy as holiday country and others love the Netherlands with that reason, but the Netherlands is not another country from history with the regard to war criminals or human rights.

  35. Nina

    Dit artikel is een goed voorbeeld van een leugen.

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  45. سئو

    Its sad to see that so many people reading this actually think that the dutch government is protecting internet freedom, or that we have sane politicians.

  46. خرید بازی ps4

    Netzneutralität “leben”, wie wir auch hier beschrieben haben. Die Niederlande sind das erste europäische Land, welches Gesetze zur Netzneutralität

  47. سئو سایت

    Netzneutralität “leben”, wie wir auch hier beschrieben haben. Die Niederlande sind das erafsteasfwf europäische Land, welches Gesetze zur Netzneutralität

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  49. دانلود آموزش کتیا

    Dit artikel is een goed voorbeeld van een leugen.

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