Net neutrality campaign SaveTheInternet.eu
A broad coalition of civil rights organisations launched SaveTheInternet.eu, a campaign to protect Net neutrality in Europe. A recent proposal from the European Commission would restrict freedom of speech on the Internet, increase prices and stifle online innovation unless urgent action is taken. Citizens can now contact their Parliamentarians in the European Parliament’s Industry Committee (ITRE) and urge them to defend the open Internet.
After four years during which no action was taken to protect the open Internet, the Commission’s new proposals would achieve the opposite result. The Regulation would allow Internet companies to arbitrarily interfere with Internet traffic, prioritising the services of cash rich online companies to the detriment of innovation and free speech. Some of the worst Net neutrality violations we have seen in Europe over recent years will become legal through loopholes in the proposed rules on so-called “specialised services”. What is more, the Commission’s text would allow “voluntary” ad hoc policing and surveillance activities for Internet access providers – in clear breach of the European Union’s own legal obligations. Our analysis of the Parliament’s draft report, opinions and amendments can be found here.
There is unanimous criticism from NGOs of this draft Regulation. Civil society groups are very concerned that the proposal does not reflect the balance of views presented to the Commission in the consultations held on the subject. Groups are also critical of the fact that the measure is now being rushed through the legislative process. Of biggest concern is the fact that big telecoms operators are being offered the chance to impose old, inefficient, expensive and outdated telephony business models on the currently efficient and cost-effective internet.
Citizens now need to weigh in this crucial debate for the future of the Internet. The Regulation is now in the hands of the European Parliament, who has a golden opportunity to correct the text’s dangerous loopholes and introduce necessary safeguards to protect the open and neutral Internet.
Time is running out. The European Parliament’s Industry Committee will adopt amendments to the draft Regulation on February 27th. In the coming six weeks, everyone who cares about the free, open and neutral Internet should contact members of the European Parliament. SaveTheInternet.eu is the portal that offers all the necessary tools and information to do just that. It provides facts and information on the Regulation, the process and the arguments against it. Through SaveTheInternet.eu, every citizen can call their MEPs free of charge or send them an e-mail to urge them to amend the text and bring strong legal protections to fundamental rights and innovation on the Internet.