Posted in Net Neutrality

Laws and Legislation to ensure Freedom of Internet

Amongst the recent debates over Freedom of Internet and analysing Facebook’s strategies, it would be interesting to observe the various solutions adopted by countries around the world for ensuring a free Internet; for the purpose of inspiration and implementing a similar (or better) solution towards this problem!

The Net Neutrality debate has a global impact. In recent years, many countries have adopted regulations regarding the Internet, whereas some are still struggling. It would be appealing to know  that countries such as Chile and Netherlands, already have enforced laws specifically aiming to keep Internet at an equal availability, primarily desiring to maintain a balance between the user demands and industries. 

Let us take the example of European Union to better understand the scenario, as it appears to have achieved a Europe-wide net neutrality using certain regulations and standards. One of the most intriguing rules E.U. has adopted is the exceptions list to traffic management. Certain situations have been step aside where a network provide is allowed to perform actions such as

  • Blocking
  • Throttling (enhancing speeds for the particular service)
  • Degradation (diminishing access speeds to a service)
  • Discrimination (assigning higher priorities to certain service in comparison to others)

of data over the open Internet.

Following are the exclusive situations which entail the above mentioned acts:

  1. If ordered by law
  2. If the network is temporarily congested
  3. If threat of Cyber-Attacks

Also, E.U. has legalised the provision of better speeds to innovative services such as IPTV or Telesurgery on the condition that

  • these come on top of existing free Internet, but never used as a substitute.
  • their working does not affect the internet.
  • these services utilise the same protocols as the rest of the Internet.

As easy and small they may seem, the solutions are actually exhaustive. E.U. is well on their way to set up a standard level regulatory committees which ensure penalty in a state of violation.

Also, above mentioned solutions need not necessarily hold efficient throughout the globe, like in case of India, the network congestion issue is a much more frequent issue than the desire for allowing exceptional services as in the case of E.U. because such services are not a primary need for India in the near future.

Solutions will vary, based on the individual instances from country to country, however, it would be beneficial to establish a national level regulatory body for Internet and issues regarding the same. Such a body can not only guide the much needed direction but also ensure the fair practices are exercised and Internet is free for all.

 

 

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