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EU Wants To Enshrine Network Neutrality In Law

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the after-that-see-if-you-can-make-watching-game-of-thrones-easier dept.

EU 76

Bismillah writes "Following the example of the Dutch, who enacted laws supporting network neutrality, the European Union is now looking at doing the same. They are pushing for an end to the throttling and blocking of services such as Skype and Whatsapp by providers hoping to drive users to their own competing services. The EU also wants a service transparency requirement for ISPs, so people know what they're buying — like minimum speed. It'll be interesting to see how this pans out."

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Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912175)

Looks like Europeans are caring more about their freedoms than Americans.

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (4, Insightful)

prefec2 (875483) | about a year ago | (#43912289)

That only looks that way, because the grass is greener on the other side. In Germany, one of the bigger EU countries, the German Telekom (former national telecommunication corporation) want to shape traffic for non-Telekom media products by 2016. The German government said: 'That is bad!' But they do not try to stop the Telekom from doing so. Sometimes there is only hope in the EU. And that is a rather strange feeling.

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912355)

Action is reaction. They must do something wrong before you can whip them.

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#43912369)

You could also try proactive solutions. One, in Germany's case, would've been to keep the telecom monopoly state-owned, rather than turning it into a private monopoly.

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912437)

Yeah, well that worked out well in the past, didn't it

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912485)

In this case you have a choice of selling country wide government owned company to many different competitors.
Once it's sold to one, it's done and done...

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43913799)

Actually, yes, it did. A prime example is Springfield, IL. CWLP, the power company, is owned by the city. It has the lowest rates, the lowest downtime, and the best customer service of any other power company in the state. After two strong EF2 tornados tore through town in March, 2006 everyone's power was back on within a week, even though huge swaths of the city no longer had standing utility poles. Three months later a weak EF1 hit the East Saint Louis area. They were without power for a month.

Amerin gives you high rates and shitty service, what can you do? Use another electric company down the street? The customer is at their mercy. If Springfield's CWLP customers get lousy service the Mayor loses his job.

Any infrastructure monopoly, like roads, bridges, electricity, gas, water, sewer, internet, should be government run. The customer has no power over a corporate monopoly and their is no free market to allow checks of abuse.

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43914699)

The example can work the other way too... a short distance away from Springfield, IL even.

In Bloomington, IL, the water company is owned by the city. In Pekin, IL the water company is privately owned.

The same size family, the same people actually. Water costed 25 dollars a month in Pekin, IL... and 140 dollars a month in Bloomington, IL.

The city charged more, well basically because they can. Why didn't the private company? I have no idea, but it's at odds with the statement above.

Never! (2)

zazzel (98233) | about a year ago | (#43912667)

Remembering the times when Deutsche Telekom was still called "Deutsche Bundespost" and a state-owned monopoly, I can only say: NO WAY!!!

Why is it that so many people believe that a monopoly "works better" if it's state-owned instead of privately held? A private monopoly must at least make sure they are not being substituted away by some related technology (and therefore stay *somewhat* attractive), while *every single* government monopoly makes sure, using the law and force, that nobody competes with them, ever.

The best thing that ever happened to the German telecommunications market was to allow competitors in, and push Deutsche Telekom aside (still profitable, paying good dividends on their stock).

Deutsche Telekom is not a "monopoly". They still own the network, but are forced to rent "the last mile" to competitors at regulated prices. Their market share is not that high. Vodafone, O2, KabelDeutschland and others are only some of their competitors.

Back on topic: Deutsche Telekom also does IPTV, and they are being accused of violating network neutrality since they want to exempt it (and phone services) from their planned DSL caps (75GB @DSL, 200GB @VDSL 50MBit). Partly correct, but it's not "internet" because Telekom has built a parallel infrastructure for it (separate VLAN, separate distribution network). Partly, because at the same time they have a sh*tty backbone connection to, for example, YouTube and want to make separate agreements with them to a) "finance better connectivity" and b) have select services exempt from bandwidth caps.

No other provider does this. I went from Deutsche Telekom to O2, and suddenly Youtube in HD started working (it is really unuseable on DTAG's network). Also, if you use a VPN and then start Youtube, everything is fine - even if exactly the same backbone connection is used.

Re:Never! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912807)

That reminds me of the private telecoms monopoly of New Zealand, who for years kept raising prices to stay competitive. Then, one day, the government tells them the system is utterly inadequate, so they do.... absolutely nothing.

In the end, the monopoly split into two, and one half are building a "modern" fibre infrastructure. Instead of building it because they need it, they're building it because the taxpayer of New Zealand is paying them for it.

Throw in the business analysis a few years ago that revealed that Telecom NZ have caused anything up to $2 billion a year to disappear from the New Zealand economy. Two billion dollars.

This is the same privately owned monopoly who decided that it was a good idea to set their clocks 10 minutes slow, so they can charge for on-peak calls during off-peak hours. They were convicted of that, too.

So yeah, I think a state-owned one might be a little bit better.

Re:Never! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43914823)

(still profitable, paying good dividends on their stock).

That's the problem right there. Their reason they were created is to enable communication for the German population, as best as humanly possible. Dividends paid by a infrastructure company are just greedy people leeching from the public. In fact, any net profit by such an organisation is a waste of resources, much better invested in upgrading the network or driving prices down.

That said, there's no reason why you shouldn't force them to rent out the last mile and allow private competitors. If these can compete, very well! If they can't, the market obviously wasn't there.

captcha: shouted

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (1)

xelah (176252) | about a year ago | (#43913937)

That tends to come with another problem: the government who should be regulating the industry also runs it. That can lead to governments using laws to maintain revenue, and not using laws which would be good for the functioning of those industries but would lead to political embarrassment. No government will pass tough environmental or consumer protection laws covering their industry, for example, if they're worried they're only going to be embarrassed later by failing to meet them themselves.

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912379)

That only looks that way, because the grass is greener on the other side. In Germany, one of the bigger EU countries, the German Telekom (former national telecommunication corporation) want to shape traffic for non-Telekom media products by 2016. The German government said: 'That is bad!' But they do not try to stop the Telekom from doing so. Sometimes there is only hope in the EU. And that is a rather strange feeling.

Ha strange feelings for Germans maybe, not for Italians. The EU (barring the non democratic fiscal pact) is our saving grace.

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (2)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a year ago | (#43912393)

What should the government do?
Write a Lex Telekom, especially targeting this company?

The consumer protection agencies and the Federal Cartel Office are on the case and inspect if the Deutsche Telekom is breaking laws.
That's how it should be.

I'm opposed to the government changing legislation 'on the fly' just because one company does something bad.
First, we need to make sure that the current laws don't cover this action.
Then the parliament can look into the matter and if necessary make a new law after proper deliberations.

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about a year ago | (#43912471)

I'm opposed to the government changing legislation 'on the fly' just because one company does something bad.

True, they should analyze the problem first, which they have, because the already concluded that the proposed action of Deutsche Telekom would harm net-neutrality.

First, we need to make sure that the current laws don't cover this action.

It doesn't. Otherwise it would have been pointed out by now. The law should also not be designed to address the direct issue, which came up recently, but it should address net-neutrality in general.

Then the parliament can look into the matter and if necessary make a new law after proper deliberations.

The government should have started this process by now, but instead they decided to wait. They did not say "We look into it.". they said: "We look into it, when it really become an 'issue'." where the "issue" part is not accompanied by some rules, which would indicated that they ever find the behavior of Deutsche Telekom an issue.

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912497)

It doesn't. Otherwise it would have been pointed out by now.

I'm not so sure. It might violate laws about fair competition, where not the government but the competitors have to act, and they might have decided that it is more profitable to sue them after they did it, than to prematurely point out that it is not only bad, but actually against the law.

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (2)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a year ago | (#43912743)

First, we need to make sure that the current laws don't cover this action.

It doesn't. Otherwise it would have been pointed out by now. The law should also not be designed to address the direct issue, which came up recently, but it should address net-neutrality in general.

As I wrote: the consumer protection agencies (Verbraucherzentralen) and the cartel office (Bundeskartellamt) are analyzing the situation. So I'd say your wrong: It is not yet clear if the actions of the Deutsche Telekom can be addressed with current laws.

(BTW: I'm German, so I follow this situation in the German media.)

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (1)

GNious (953874) | about a year ago | (#43912623)

I'm opposed to the government changing legislation 'on the fly' just because one company does something bad.
First, we need to make sure that the current laws don't cover this action.
Then the parliament can look into the matter and if necessary make a new law after proper deliberations.

What country do you live in?

Where I'm from, the government is doing 50% kneejerk laws, without checking if existing laws covers the case (which is often the case)

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a year ago | (#43912749)

Yes, they do that.
Doesn't mean that I can't wish they worked differently.

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (1)

YoungManKlaus (2773165) | about a year ago | (#43912601)

Except, they do. There are examinations ongoing if the Telekom is using its market leader position for unfair practices, pecisely because of this.

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (1)

hweimer (709734) | about a year ago | (#43913393)

There are examinations ongoing if the Telekom is using its market leader position for unfair practices, pecisely because of this.

Nice try. The head of the Federal Network Agency has recently been replaced by a party shill [golem.de] . Same guy who has now to explain a thing or two about how he secured a job [spiegel.de] for the ex-lover of one of Germany's top politicians of the Christian right.

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43914027)

Well, then it is probably good luck that the Federal Cartel Office is not part of the Federal Network Agency.

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (1)

longk (2637033) | about a year ago | (#43912727)

Two simple reasons for that:

1) Your government realizes that they don't have a say in the matter. Don't forget the Lissabon treaty is not really a treaty. Germany is no longer a sovereign state.

2) By letting the EU do something "for the people" rather than doing it themselves they improve the image of the EU with the naive citizens. Good cop/bad cop standard story.

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (3, Funny)

VirginMary (123020) | about a year ago | (#43912863)

By letting the EU do something "for the people" rather than doing it themselves they improve the image of the EU with the naive citizens. Good cop/bad cop standard story.

You're probably also wearing a tinfoil hat! Sheesh!

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (1)

richlv (778496) | about a year ago | (#43913049)

in germany, there are no free/open wifi networks.
copyright groups have owned the government and there are laws that make owner of the wifi connection guilty of whatever happened through it. coupled with insane laws on copyright (and spending money on enforcing them), this has resulted in eradication of anonymity. actually, thinking about it, government might like that a lot...

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43913287)

And, ironically, The Pirate Bay is currently being hosted in Germany, on a network dubbed "OPENAP-WIRELESS-NETWORKS" (AS39138) lol. Make of that what you will.

Re:Democratic Europe, plutocratic America. (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43913059)

In this case it is more of a consumer rights issue, something that the EU seems to take a lot more interest in than the US with its free market approach.

Please EU, more laws! (0, Troll)

sosume (680416) | about a year ago | (#43912187)

This is coming from the same politicians who claim that directing traffic from someone in Zimbabwe to a server in Zimbabwe is discrimination. European Union politicians simply cannot be trusted as none have been elected by the people, so one can only wonder whose interests they serve.

Re:Please EU, more laws! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912243)

Obviously they know what is best for the common man.

Re:Please EU, more laws! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912247)

So are you telling me US politicians are better? Elected by the people but actually serving big companies? At least with the Europeans we don't yet know for sure if they serve the people :D

Re:Please EU, more laws! (4, Informative)

Zumbs (1241138) | about a year ago | (#43912253)

European Union politicians simply cannot be trusted as none have been elected by the people, so one can only wonder whose interests they serve.

That is quite a blanket statement. Members of the EU Parliament are politicians and directly elected by the people, so it is also wrong. Note that I am not saying that the European Union does not have serious democratic problems. The EU Parliament holds few of the powers usually attributed to parliaments and the EU Commission is appointed by the EU governments, so it is "buffered" against the people.

Re:Please EU, more laws! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912341)

There is an inverse relation between the number of direct votes and the level of competence.

I just made that up as any good 21st century politician would do, left or right.

Re:Please EU, more laws! (1)

pr100 (653298) | about a year ago | (#43912651)

Indeed and there's more to it than that. Serious policy changes cannot happen without the consent of the Council of Ministers. This is a body made up of government ministers from member states. You don't get to be a government minister without some kind of democratic legitimacy. Of course the exact process by which people get appointed as ministers varies by member state.

Of course policy is also made by the courts. We like to maintain the fiction that courts just apply the law. But there's much more to it than that. This is not exclusively a European issue tho'. Nobody can sensibly say that the decision in Row v Wade, for example, isn't really a policy decision. Every knows this which is why appointment of Supreme Court Justices is so political.

Re:Please EU, more laws! (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#43913209)

They're not just directly elected by the people either, they're directed through a form of proportional representation so they're actually more representative of the make up of each nation's vote than most national parliaments are.

Certainly the consistency and spread of EP representatives of the UK are much more representative of popular support than our national government is.

Re:Please EU, more laws! (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#43945313)

But that's not a problem with the EU. The Comission and the Council of Ministers are bad exactly because it's left to the national governments to pick them.

Re:Please EU, more laws! (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about a year ago | (#43912261)

[Citation needed]

Re:Please EU, more laws! (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about a year ago | (#43912315)

The EU-parliament is elected by the European people. The EU-commission is initiated by the governments of the EU-member states, which are either directly elected by the people or elected by their national parliaments. furthermore, the commission have to be approved by the parliament. It is true, however, that the EU-commission should be more transparent and it would be a great step forward if it would be initiated by the parliament or elected by the public. These changes would have been possible in the Lisbon-Agreement, but some member state thought that would be too much Europeanization. The EU would then be equally or sometimes even more legit than some national parliaments and governments. And we will end to be [name your nationality].

I personally think, that is rubbish. You do not lose your identity just because there is not country attached to it. I am Swabian (South-West German folks) and are presently living in North-Germany. Of course I have a German passport, but I still feel like a Swabian and a German and a European (in descending order ;-)).

Re:Please EU, more laws! (1)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#43912331)

Damn right! This is Brussels bureaucracy gone mad! What's next? Banning heavy metals from childrens toys? How dare those damn Eurocrats protect my interests!

Re:Please EU, more laws! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912443)

Implying that elected politicians are entirely trust worthy........

Id take technocracy over sham corporate shill democracy any day of the week.

And this is why (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912271)

i love europe, because we have people that have a life themselves (UNLIKE FRIGGING AMERICA) MONSANTO COOKIE ANYONE?!?

EU is divided, good side may be winning though (4, Interesting)

captainpanic (1173915) | about a year ago | (#43912399)

There is Kroes and a number of others who want to keep the internet free, so it can defend democratic values and such.
And then there are those who are bought by lobbyists, and who support the ISPs as well as the music/movie industry and wish to tie it down and control it, in the name of The Economy and Profit.

It's a good thing that Neelie Kroes is quite a big shot in the EU government (the "European Commission digital agenda vice-president" is important in this matter)...

Re:EU is divided, good side may be winning though (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912553)

I must admit I wondered which side commissioner de Gucht [europa.eu] is on--certainly not on the side of the European people.. bloody USA shill..

Re:EU is divided, good side may be winning though (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912627)

but what if the good side isn't... It shines like an honest proposal, something to defend the right to acess a neutral net, where no traffic can be throttled. But read the proposal closer... Yes, it allows the ISP to offer internet "à la carte"... Which means: "Yes, we do offer an internet access starting from 19.99 €, unthrottled and unlimited in bandwidth - but in order to have access to youtube and wikipedia, you must pay 5 € more".

not good.

Re:EU is divided, good side may be winning though (2)

captainpanic (1173915) | about a year ago | (#43913045)

Well, in the Netherlands the scam as you describe it has not started yet. In fact, the Netherlands has a healthy competition among ISPs, and an internet connection for 20 euro/month will get you a very reasonable 20 Mb / 1 Mb connection, and the wifi modem/router is included (free).

I believe that in the (near?) future, ISPs must also list a minimum up and download speed (if they are the bottleneck themselves), next to the maximum that they advertise with.

If the ISP wishes to scam you into paying a few euro more, they can already do that. But they don't want to lose to the competition, so they don't.

Re:EU is divided, good side may be winning though (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43915189)

Actually, I live in the Netherlands and am on a 20 euro/month line. It's a 30/3 VDSL2 I believe, which actually connects at 32mbit down and 3 mbit up (I get more than I pay for). It's unlimited as well.

A lot of stuff isn't right in NL, but internet access isn't one of them.

Re:EU is divided, good side may be winning though (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#43945315)

The problem is that both sides fight by introducing more regulations on the net. Whichever side wins, the free Internet will lose.

Hypocrites (3, Insightful)

Brusco (697112) | about a year ago | (#43912415)

Let them first stop censoring the internet [torrentfreak.com] .

Re:Hypocrites (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912451)

Actually not. Hosting copyrighted content and the infringement is dealt with according to law. But this does not mean that legitimate uses of bittorrent should suffer. There is nothing hypocritical about this. Just common sense.
Not everything in the EU is roses and sunshine, but this is right and I welcome the effort.

Re:Hypocrites (2)

LubosD (909058) | about a year ago | (#43912539)

TPB hosts none of the content, but I suppose you already know that.

Re:Hypocrites (2)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#43913255)

How is that hypocritical and which idiots modded this up?

What has a historical national court ruling got to do with future EU wide law planning?

There's nothing hypocritical there because you have two distinct bodies going different ways.

A dutch court has absolutely zero control over or relevance to future European Parliament legislation. If the EU goes ahead with this the dutch court will have to comply once it's government implements the relevant legislation.

Why this happened in the Netherlands (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912461)

Before you start accusing the Netherlands or the EU over being overzealus about this, consider that these laws were a response to the biggest mobile internet provider in the Netherlands announcing plans to block WhatsApp access, and only allow access to it to those who payed up, after people stopped text-messaging in droves in favor of WhatsApp. This didn't come out of the blue, and I personally feel stopping this sort of thing is a good(tm) thing.

Re:Why this happened in the Netherlands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912541)

It is not. They simply increased the price for everyone now... And most providers started using data caps.

Re:Why this happened in the Netherlands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912661)

But that is because the data cost was paid for by sms since that was simplest, not by the data itself. We are now finally paying for the data itself instead of being subsidized by sms-happy teens. So yes that sucks for everyone that didn't sms a lot, but it is a lot fairer since sending messages isn't as expensive as sms made it out to be.

Re:Why this happened in the Netherlands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43914115)

They are also overselling less now, which too increased prices.

But we happen to have something that looks a lot more like a free market than the US does, so even the increased prices don't look that bad.

Re:Why this happened in the Netherlands (1)

Evtim (1022085) | about a year ago | (#43913237)

Which will bite them in the ass so badly, it will hurt their ancestors:)

Because, you see, all I hear is "stream, stream, stream, cloud, cloud, cloud". If the content providers want my money they'll have to figure out that my monthly cap on my phone is 250 MB which is 1/4 of a movie, if you go HD even less. So, no streaming on my device. I don't even watch youtube there....

What do you think - who makes more money (therefore hold much larger political power) - the pipe-provider or the content-provider?

A good speech (4, Interesting)

Hrshgn (595514) | about a year ago | (#43912489)

Just finished reading Neelie Kroes' speech an I really like it. Good to see that an influential politician has a long-term vision of how the internet has evolved and into which direction it should go.

You can read the speech here and also leave your comments on specific sections: http://commentneelie.eu/speech.php?sp=SPEECH/13/498 [commentneelie.eu]

Re:A good speech (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#43913289)

She's one of those rare politicians that has an actual clue.

Website blocking (1)

LubosD (909058) | about a year ago | (#43912511)

Now I wonder how this will play with website blocking in the UK, Italy, Denmark, ...

Re:Website blocking (1)

Teun (17872) | about a year ago | (#43912851)

No connection what so ever, this is about blocking commercial entities deciding what's good for them needs to be good for you.

Re:Website blocking (1)

LubosD (909058) | about a year ago | (#43912979)

Well, too bad the government thinks it *knows* what's good for us when blocking "illegal" websites.

Define it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912543)

Is this the sort of network neutrality we the users want and expect?

Or is this the buzzword sort of "network neutrality" that the companys want where it pretty much means the opposite of what common sense and logic say and the users want....?

I can't tell which version they are actually talking about... Especially comming from the EU who has gone all censor happy lately... Kind of the exact thing this is supposed to prevent...

Sounds like a bullshit snowjob to me...

Re:Define it... (4, Informative)

Teun (17872) | about a year ago | (#43912841)

As this comes from European Commission digital agenda vice-president Neelie Kroes we can be sure it's covering the Real Thing.

She has an exemplary track record of protecting the consumer, the common man, and hitting at corporate interests that try the opposite.

Because the already existing Dutch example was mentioned we can assume the EU rules would follow a similar path and that's again a sign for a consumer-friendly ruling.
When the ruling is consumer friendly it will be a bonus for all, not just the single company that wants to bent the rules it's own way for profit.

Although Europeans have to remain vigilant about the various restrictions set on public speech, via the Internet or any other means, there is a wide agreement among many Europeans not all needs to be allowed.
Europeans will typically sooner accept a restriction set by a democratically elected legislature than by a commercial entity.

Rules & Exceptions (1)

demon driver (1046738) | about a year ago | (#43912563)

Europe, like any other region of this world, is dependent on its member states' economies being successful in maximizing their profits. That, and the fact that the EU in its heart is an economic union, not a civil rights institution, is the reason why there are, by conservative estimation, 15,000 lobbyists working in brussels, making 20 per member of the European Parliament, 550 per member of the European Commission. Which is why the EU, just as any other governmentorial institution in this world, usually creates laws and decisions in favor of the big money, not the people. And which is why a decision in favour of network neutrality, which would interfere with the profit maximization of the biggest European telcos, is improbable even if suggested by a top-rank commissioner. And if it really should become reality, it will be one of the rare exceptions to the rule.

The level of democratic legitimization of the European Commission is, by the way, completely irrelevant in this context. In this so-called civilized world, the only puropose of elections is to hold up the illusion that people could influence politics, while politics will, as a matter of economic necessity, always be dictated by profits, no matter in which cases people are allowed to vote, or, for that matter, whom they do elect.

Re:Rules & Exceptions (2)

Teun (17872) | about a year ago | (#43912761)

the only puropose of elections is to hold up the illusion that people could influence politics

That's a nasty demon driving you.

As an European I don't agree with you at all, the breadth and width of the political spectrum is so great you can't possibly claim all is stitched up.

Re:Rules & Exceptions (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912885)

I don't know. It appears to be the case in the UK, anyway - given that no-one actually wanted the current trainwreck of a government (secret last-minute coalition!).

CAPTCHA: Fooled. Fitting.

Re:Rules & Exceptions (1)

demon driver (1046738) | about a year ago | (#43922335)

That's not the point. The political spectrum can be as broad and wide as it may, within the general conditions of the existing economic world system nothing can be done without money, and money can only be extracted from the proceeds of a profitable domestic economy. So politics is, as a simple matter of fact, always and completely at the mercy of economy.

Re:Rules & Exceptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912875)

In this so-called civilized world, the only puropose of elections is to hold up the illusion that people could influence politics, while politics will, as a matter of economic necessity, always be dictated by profits, no matter in which cases people are allowed to vote, or, for that matter, whom they do elect.

And that is why SYRIZA [wikipedia.org] almost won the Greek elections... yeah right.. gimme a break :-(

Re:Rules & Exceptions (1)

demon driver (1046738) | about a year ago | (#43922279)

No, that's why even SYRIZA couldn't have helped Greece much without being able to extract substantial amounts of money from a profitable domestic economy, which unfortunately doesn't exist (while its remains are being squashed to death by the strict requirements attached to the EU financial aids).

Re:Rules & Exceptions (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#43913317)

"Which is why the EU, just as any other governmentorial institution in this world, usually creates laws and decisions in favor of the big money, not the people."

Do you have any evidence of this? From what I've seen the EU seems to enact laws that are more in favour of the people than the laws enacted by the constituent governments of the member nations.

"And which is why a decision in favour of network neutrality, which would interfere with the profit maximization of the biggest European telcos, is improbable even if suggested by a top-rank commissioner. And if it really should become reality, it will be one of the rare exceptions to the rule."

Why do you think this? from laws on protecting natural woodland to laws limiting the charges mobile providers can charge when roaming through the EU to various human rights laws the EU has passed an awful lot of pro-citizen, anti-business laws.

The problem is that you seem to have assumed that your 15,000 lobbyists are all lobbying for big business, I don't think that's the case. Whilst there are a lot of big business lobbyists there the cost of lobbying the EP and EC is quite prohibitive due to it's relative size and broadness of languages and views such that corporate lobbying ends up being much less effective than it does at a national level.

In contrast, national groupings such as human rights charities and so forth tend to exist in every European nation and share the same goals, so it's easier for these to work together to lobby their respective national representatives in their native languages than it is for a company to do so. Having a few hundred staff on hand just for lobbying in the EU is going to rarely be worth it when you're out-lobbied by national groups with shared interests.

Re:Rules & Exceptions (1)

demon driver (1046738) | about a year ago | (#43922417)

Of course there are exceptions to the rule, otherwise ecology and resources and general living conditions would have already deteriorated to the point of being beyond all bearing.

EU lobbyism is nearly exclusively for big economy and big industry and there can be no doubt about it as it is, as of today, closely watched (e.g. by groups like http://www.alter-eu.org/ [alter-eu.org] ). The notion that charity lobbies may have more influence in Brussels than big money is more than ridiculous.

But all the lobbyism wouldn't even be necessary for what I said, because it's the general conditions of the world's economic system which dictate the leeway in decision-making for politics. Because there's nothing that politics could do without money, and money can only be extracted from a successful economy.

Light a candle (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43913827)

They should enforce truth in advertising: "Warning. We deliberately slow down Skype and YouTube to make their product seem worse compared to ours. Do you want to sign up with us?"

Unitymedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43914153)

Cool! Hopefully this EU law cover Germany as well.
Here it's nearly impossible to watch YouTube(r) without constant hick-ups. Big part of the content is blocked, but that's not as annoying as having to waste 5 minutes on watching a 2 minute video.
Funnily enough this bandwidth-limiting/proxying doesn't apply to all services and pronz play smoothly in HD.
Germany tends to get discounts / exemptions on EU regulations though.

Re:Unitymedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43917081)

I'm with Unitymedia as well and I don't experience such problems.

The Devil is in the Definition (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43914741)

What if I'm a customer and I want streaming audio prioritized, for the obvious reason that it's better not to have it burp when some software updater checks for patches?

It would be hard enough for technical people to define "network neutrality", let alone government. Don't get me wrong. I like the concept of network neutrality. Violations are like obscenity though. "you know it when you see it".

I think the best thing the government can do is define "the spirit of the law" and then let judges decide in civil class action suits or something similar. Anything else risks throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Re:The Devil is in the Definition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43923393)

Your example doesn't really hold water.

When you say you "want streaming audio prioritized", you're presumably talking about having YOUR streaming audio prioritized over YOUR other bandwidth uses. This is generally accomplished on your side of the connection, so it wouldn't require any traffic shaping/prioritisation on the ISP's side.

Also, i can't imagine a law like this would outlaw the ability for contracting a serviceprovider to provide you with a custom solution if thats what you really want. It most likely only applies to their generic offerings and their ability to advertise their services as "Internet" products.

Good tactics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43916133)

If this is a ruse to get me to vote "in" in a potential future "in/out" referundum on the UK's membership of the EU, it's working.

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