Parliament’s vote “a profound disillusion for all those who, throughout the years, battled to ensure net neutrality in Europe.”
by Nadia Prupis, Common Dreams:
In a major setback for net neutrality, the European Parliament on Tuesday passed widely-maligned internet regulations without the amendments that rights groups said were crucial to protect free speech, democracy, and innovation online.
Wide loopholes in the rules open the door for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to discriminate against networks, speed up or slow down internet traffic, charge companies for faster loading times, and strip users of protections. The legislation passed 500-163.
“Today, Europe took a giant step away from its vision of becoming a world leader in the digital economy,” said Anne Jellema, CEO of the digital rights group World Wide Web Foundation. “These weak and unclear net neutrality regulations threaten innovation and free speech. Now, European start-ups may have to compete on an uneven playing field against industry titans, while small civil society groups risk having their voices overwhelmed by well-funded giants.”
Paris-based advocacy organization La Quadrature Du Net called the vote “a profound disillusion for all those who, throughout the years, battled to ensure net neutrality in Europe.”
“Today [members of Parliament] had the chance to stand their ground against the Council and the Commission but they only showed a timid face in front of the threats to abandon the text or prolongation of the negotiations. By voting this incomplete and non-protective text, they sell off citizens’ rights and liberties and they also hamper small and innovative companies, in favor of big telecommunication companies,” said La Quadrature legal and policy analysis coordinator Agnès de Cornulier. “They also give a bad signal on their weakness, thus endangering all future negotiations.”
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