The Netherlands becomes first in Europe to pass net neutrality law

By Lee Kaelin on May 11, 2012, 10:30 AM

The Netherlands has become the first EU member country to pass into law new net neutrality regulations, following in the footsteps of Chile, which became the first country in the world to make net neutrality laws back in July 2010. The new Telecom Law was approved unanimously by the Dutch Senate and is set to ensure that access to the internet remains neutral and unfiltered.

The move follows plans announced last year by Dutch telecoms provider KPN to increase mobile broadband prices and make allowance changes in the wake of increased data consumption for certain services over 3G, such as Skype and Whatsapp. KPN noted that the increased usage of these apps was reducing their average revenue per user and hurting profits.

Passing net neutrality regulations into law will mean that wireless operators will not be allowed to throttle or block any individual's internet services or price them differently according their internet usage. ISPs will still be allowed to throttle traffic in order to reduce congestion or protect their network, but they will be required to treat all traffic equally. Also, traffic can no longer be blocked unless it's absolutely necessary in order to protect the integrity and security of the network or users' computers.

Interestingly, there is one notable exception to this, with the inclusion of a clause that allows internet users to request their ISP to filter their connection as well as block certain services and applications based on religious or ideological grounds. Despite this, Dutch politicians remain concerned that the clause, added to the proposed law last year at the request of the Reformed Political Party, will open the doors to internet censorship. It's therefore unsurprising that they want to see it removed in a "repair amendment" set for May 15.

"Bits of Freedom, the Dutch digital rights movement which campaigned for these provisions, applauds the new law. It considers this a historical moment for internet freedom in The Netherlands and calls on other countries to follow the Dutch example," the Dutch privacy group, Bits of Freedom said in a statement on their blog.

Also included in the newly approved law is the requirement for websites to ask internet users for permission to store cookies in their browsers before they can be used, although these provisions won't go into effect until 2013 as the EU requires time to address issues surrounding user tracking.

User Comments: 10

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Tygerstrike said:

Leeky great article!! Now if there was some way the rest of the world could pass these net neutrality laws!! Im all for cellphone and ISP getting their FAIR share of profits. This law, at least on the surface, looks like it could stiffle all that throtling that they are known for. And maybe give the consumer a better web experience w/o having to worry about how much time it will take to download any particular file.

Guest said:


Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Yeah, good for the Dutch.

The day it passes in the UK will probably be the day pigs start to fly...but, we can still hope.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hopefully many others will follow in their footsteps ....... okay probably many won't.

Guest said:

Did anyone else see the "Also included in the newly approved law is the requirement for websites to ask internet users for permission to store cookies in their browsers before they can be used", because as a web developer this is a very dumb clause. It would be super annoying to users to have to ask each user for approval for both my coding and for the users. Cookies are used for everything from keeping your session on facebook open to storing items in Shopping carts on the web. You can also use them to store user preferences,etc, etc. I feel like a more reasonable method for the EU to use would be a cross browser do not track setting that all websites would be required to obey by law with some sort of punishment for not complying with. Because this won't work for me. Just my 0.02$.

Guest said:

Wow, talk about a huge crime against the Dutch.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Wow, talk about a huge crime against the Dutch.

Please explain how the passing of net neutrality laws are a crime against the Dutch?

Guest said:

The law must be clear and final, to never allow censorship and privacy up to the ISP. Censorship and Privacy should be up to the user. Also no loop holes to limit the customer for choosing Censorship or Privacy. Another note would be pricing. The pricing should be fair to the user and ISP, inflation is never a good practice. Internet cost for the isp and users requirements needs to be fair. These cost should remain low which will grow internet business and bring plenty of revenues to each country. ISP's gouging prices are not practical. Flat rates should be provided at a reasonable rate. Innovation will only be hindered with exceeding internet prices, censorship and lack of privacy. Government/ Corporation snooping is a violation of freedom for all and is at a cost that no country should allow, the end cost is horrendous. Remember always be alert when laws have names that sound good, usually they define the opposite.

Guest said:

I may be one of the few, but I would love it if countries all throttled torrents.

Guest said:

on the other hand The Netherlands have taken a huge step towards censored and government controlled internet:


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