Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dutch government prohibits price discrimination for internet access - EDRi

Press Release: Dutch government prohibits price discrimination for internet access - EDRi: "The Dutch parliament has approved a proposal from the government to prohibit online price discrimination (“zero rating”). Zero rating is when telecom operators do not charge customers for data used by specific applications or internet services but charge them for others. The Netherlands’ vote is in accordance with the country’s history of upholding strong net neutrality law, including the prohibition of zero rating." 'via Blog this'

Monday, May 16, 2016

UK digital bill to boost infrastructure and services (legalise content blocks under net neutrality law) - FT

Legislation will be put forward on Wednesday to improve national broadband coverage and help telecoms customers switch providers, according to people familiar with the plans. Other proposals will help mobile groups improve signal coverage, as well as crack down on nuisance calls and pornography sites that do not verify age.
The regulator has long complained that it gets bogged down in legal action by large media and telecoms groups simply seeking to delay its rulings. At present, decisions made by Ofcom can be taken to the Competition Appeal Tribunal, with some cases taking years to be resolved. Many companies in the telecoms industry have opposed the move, fearing a “judge, jury and executioner” style regulator. But Ed Richards, former Ofcom chief executive, has argued that the watchdog is defending up to 10 of its rulings in the courts in any week, forcing it to employ scores of lawyers.
The proposals mark a big change in attitude by the Conservative party towards Ofcom, which five years ago was heading for the “bonfire of the quangos”. The added protection for Ofcom’s powers will come at a point when the regulator could be handed new responsibilities over the BBC.
The bill is also expected to hand the body new powers to make telecoms providers help customers switch to rivals, as well as provide automatic compensation for faults in broadband services. The culture, media and sport department declined to comment before the Queen’s Speech.
The legislation is set to bring in powers for the government to impose a universal service obligation for a minimum broadband speed of at least 10 Mbps. The proposal could be funded through an industry levy, although the details are still out for consultation.
The bill is also expected to help mobile operators erect masts to improve coverage in rural areas by making landowners rent out sites based on the value of the land and preventing them demanding a “ransom” payment.
Intellectual property rights are expected to be strengthened with the harmonisation of jail terms for acts of piracy. The last Digital Economy Act — introduced by Lord Mandelson in 2010 — contained controversial attempts to crack down on piracy that resulted in several legal challenges.
The Information Commissioner’s Office will be handed greater protection to fine companies making nuisance calls, according to two people with knowledge of the situation, while the government is likely to crack down on pornography sites that do not bring in age verification. It is expected to stop short of imposing any network-level blocking, however.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Brazil bans zero rating - fudges specialized services

TranslatedZero rating: Civil Marco prohibits or no trade agreements with Otts? Ana Paula Lobo and Luis Osvaldo Grossmann ... 13.05.2016 ... Digital Convergence http://convergenciadigital.uol.com.br/
The Decree which regulates the Civil Marco Internet, one of the last signed by President Dilma Rousseff. Telecommunications operators, consulted by Digital Convergence portal,  itreated the subject with great circumspection, but realize that the interpretation is dubious and divided legal departments. In Brazil, TIM and Claro have, for example, offered free arrangements of WhatsApp and Facebook for their clients.
"The decree prohibits according paid for prioritization. Since I believe that zero rating is a form of priority, argue that paid agreements for zero rating would be sealed," maintains the expert in Internet law and partner of Law José Del Chiaro, Ademir Pereira Junior . He also notes that there is a point to be discussed: the zero rating of the telcos without according OTTs. It would be the advantage to own plans. "You can build the Act and the Decree prohibit these plans, but it is questionable and there is room for debate," he says.
Despite these dubious points, Junior Pereira argues that the decree takes an important step for the network neutrality protection. "It also clarifies relevant points and mainly makes any outstanding traffic management measure, thus preserving the open character of the network," he says. The expert, however, warns.
"The decree of the standards give a substantial normative framework and allowing adequate protection of neutrality. However, we need to monitor carefully the interpretation of the provisions that interpretation is not negated. For example, the item on specialized services in Art.2 needs to be read in a very strict way, so there is no real Internet fragmentation in closed communities and allegedly would be distinct from open Internet. Similarly, it is still necessary to take care practices such as zero rating may distort competition between applications without generating clear benefits, "he says.
In the case of zero rating, it is good to remember that there is an official of the federal government into force. This is the mobile application that provides health information, the 0800 Health, especially data on the zika virus, and if it's the Minicom once called 'Broadband 0800' in practice a sponsored access model it is free for anyone who has a smartphone. The app is available since March and has the support of operators -who do not charge access to the application.
But judging by what already assess the Internet Steering Committee members in Brazil, only with much wiggle you can circumvent the restrictions set out in Decree. Are expressly prohibited from traffic privileges in commercial offers, in addition to various references in the text that any agreement must preserve "the public and unrestricted nature of access."
For the president of NIC.br and member of notorious knowledge of CGI.br, Demi Getschko,  regulation of network neutrality prohibits technical privileges to data packets. You mean you can not adopt measures to speed up certain data. "That is, there is no 'fast lane'," he says. For the 'father' of the Brazilian Internet, so far there is no direct relationship to the fact that certain applications are free or paid, or paid by a third party. The problem is most evident in the block model to the end of the franchise, which in itself is legally debatable. If the blockade adopted, but some specific application can still be accessed, set up the breakdown of net neutrality. "If the service is 'Internet access' certainly violated to neutrality. If the service becomes 'access to X application', no longer access the Internet and, in this case, there is the concept of neutrality. But this 'jump' can be seen as rather artificial, "says Getschko.
CGI.br's Eduardo Parajo highlights the same issue. "The decree says that charging models need to preserve a unique internet. Of course now every article will be viewed with magnifying glass. But it is apparently prohibited agreements like 'zero rating', any privilege is locked. It will require a lot of creativity to interpret it differently, "he says. "Overall, noting that within the CGI.br several sectors, the Decree seems to have met most of the members, especially among those that we might call civil society. Some details could be different? This is always possible. Most importantly, however, it is the preservation of network neutrality guarantee. "
Parajo points to the Decree passages dealing with the custody of personal data where the registration information include affiliation, address, name, marital status and occupation. From the point of view of connection providers and applications, it went beyond the current practice. "What is the registration on the internet asking for membership? And if asked, who will put? I think this kind of thing collides with the regulation itself, which also requires that providers retain the least amount of data possible, "says the director of CGI.br.
Proteste lawyer and CGI Steering Committee member, Flavia Lefèvre, also highlights the seals to agreements not discounting data franchises. "It was clear that commercial practices such as 'zero rating' are curbed, as well as the FreeBASIC Facebook Internet.org program," she says. According to her, "the provisions relating to neutrality made it clear that contracts between connection providers and application and content providers can not involve the commitment of the public and unrestricted nature of the internet, or involve the prioritization of data packets or prioritize applications" .

WhatsApp Gets Blocked In Brazil Again: What Happened This Time?

WhatsApp Gets Blocked In Brazil Again: What Happened This Time? : TECH : Tech Times: "Brazilian Judge Marcel Montalvao has ordered local mobile network carriers to block the Facebook-owned messaging app, WhatsApp, for 72 hours. Companies who will fail to comply will face a hefty fine of $143,000 for each day that they allow access to WhatsApp.

SindiTelebrasil, an association of mobile phone operations in Brazil, indicated that its member companies would comply with the order to block the messaging app. Phone operators within this group include: Nextel, Telefonica Brasil SA, Oi SA, Claro SA, and Tim Participacoes SA." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Telia’s zero rating agreement with Facebook a blow to Swedish media companies - Journalism 3.0

Telia’s zero rating agreement with Facebook a blow to Swedish media companies - Journalism 3.0 | Sveriges Radio: "State-owned Telia has initiated a close collaboration with the global media giant Facebook. Under the terms of the partnership, Facebook’s services will be distributed free to Telia customers, in contrast to the content from other media companies. Even if the user has run out of data, and the rest of the Internet is inaccessible, they will still be able to read posts on Facebook – but not from other Swedish media companies.

 This is a direct attack on net neutrality, and it is hardly a coincidence that it’s happening two weeks after the new EU net neutrality rules go into effect with the intent of securing an open Internet with equal treatment for everyone.

Net neutrality means that all traffic on the Internet is treated equally – no one should be able to buy their way to VIP treatment. No traffic should be prioritised, blocked or throttled. No one may be discriminated – in a positive or negative sense. And yet this is exactly what is happening.

 This year Sweden celebrates 250 years of press freedom. We have a history we can be proud of. The question is if we will be as proud in the future. Sweden has not taken the lead in securing freedom of the press in the new media landscape." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Telia: Our customers want social media, it's not against net neutrality

Telia: Our customers want social media | SvD:

"Here we want to be clear: Our offer is not contrary to net neutrality. We make no prioritization or blocking of traffic, there are not any commercial arrangements between Telia and the current social platforms in the form of exchange of replacement or information (other than required to be able to live up to the offer to exempt our customers' costs and our customer communication).

We do not share customer or application data with our partners." 'via Blog this'

Why a Facebook #ZeroRating Deal Has Outraged Swedish Media

Why a Facebook Deal Has Outraged Swedish Media - Fortune: "Of course, this is hardly the first zero-rating deal in Sweden, which has so far had a light-touch approach to net-neutrality regulation. For example, the mobile operator Three Sweden lets people stream music from services such as Spotify and SoundCloud without the data being deducted from their monthly limit (a similar arrangement to T-Mobile U.S.’s controversial Binge On arrangement for video traffic).

 Telia’s new zero-rating drive isn’t even specifically about Facebook — it’s also letting customers surf selected other social networks for free." 'via Blog this'