Friday, June 24, 2011

Net neutrality and the Dutch

Book recommendation: Internet Laws: How to Protect Your Business Website Without a Lawyer
The Dutch are all set to become the first European country to adopt net neutrality. Reporting in PC Mag Chloe Albanaseus writes:

The lower house of the Dutch Parliament this week voted to approve net neutrality legislation; if passed, it will make The Netherlands the first EU country to pass a law addressing the subject.
The Dutch Senate must now approve the bill, but according to the Telegraph and the BBC, it is expected to pass.
Specifically, the Dutch bill would ban Internet service providers from charging higher fees or blocking Web-based communications services like Skype. It would also require providers to get consent before placing "cookies" on a user's computer, a concept known in the states as "do not track."
Providers in the region are not pleased. According to the Telegraph, T-Mobile and Vodafone were looking to block services like Skype on their smartphones. Vodafone did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but told the BBC that the legislation will "lead to a large increase in prices for mobile internet for a large group of consumer," while provider KPN said Parliament should have taken more time crafting the bill.
The Dutch law, however, is part of a package of EU telecom bills adopted in 2009, which had an implementation deadline of May 25, 2011, according to an EU spokesman. All member states have to notify the commission about any legislative measures they've taken to implement these rules so that the commission can verify compliance. The Dutch, therefore, will notify the EU once the Senate has given its approval to the measure. "National law must comply with EU law, notably in cases where EU law harmonizes legislation in a particular area," the spokesman said. "Where EU law does not impose harmonised requirements, member states remain free to legislate as they please as long as they do not violate the fundamental principles of EU law laid down in the Treaty. The Commission would only challenge Dutch law if, after studying it carefully, it considered that it was not in compliance with EU law."
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