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Friday, July 16, 2010

Chile: net neutrality and parental filters in one Bill

Chile has been debating its new Internet law for three years and 4 months and it finally passed on 14 July, amending its Telecommunications Law. While I know very little about the debate, clearly universal access to broadband is key to development for a middle-income country with such a diverse geography as Chile, as the Minister stated at the passing of the Bill.

1. Prohibition to interfere, to discriminate or to interfere in any way with content, applications or services unless they are proven measures to ensure the privacy of users, virus protection and security of the network;
2. provide parental control service;
3. provide clients with written evidence to correctly identify the contracted service (transparency);
4. ensure user privacy, virus protection and network security, and
5. ensure access to all types of content, services or applications and offer a service that does not distinguish between content, applications or services. It also prohibits activities that restrict users' freedom to use the content or services unless at the specific request of users. 

The details are laid out in Memorandum 8874 to the President, detailing ISPs' duties.

a) May not arbitrarily block, interfere with, discriminate against, hinder or restrict the right of anyone on the Internet to use, send, receive or provide any content, application or service over the Internet legal and any other activity or use made legal across the network.
However, [ISPs] may take the measures or actions needed for traffic management and network management ... provided that this not designed to perform actions that affect or could affect competition. 
b) No law may limit a user to enter or use any class of instruments, devices or appliances on the network, provided they are legal and that they do not damage or harm the network or service quality. 
c) They must offer, at the expense of users who request services, parental controls for content that violate the law, morality or decency, if the user is informed in advance and clearly and precisely about the scope of such services. 
d) To be published on its website, all information on the features offered Internet access, speed, link quality, differentiating between domestic and international connections, as well as the nature and service guarantees.
Article 24 I. - For the protection of the rights of Internet users, the Ministry, through the Secretary, shall punish infringements of the legal or regulatory obligations associated with the implementation, operation and performance of network neutrality [using] the procedure referred to in Article 28a of Act No. 18 168, General of Telecommunications. 
J. Article 24 - A regulation will establish the minimum conditions to be met by providers of Internet access service on the obligation to maintain and update published on its website information regarding the level of the service, to include routing criteria, access speeds available, or oversold level of aggregation of the link, link availability in time and reset time, the use of management tools or traffic management, as well as those factors specific to the type of services offered and corresponding to international quality standards of general application. Also, the regulations will establish the actions to be considered restrictive practices to freedom of use of content, applications or services provided through the Internet, according to the provisions of Article 24 H. 
This is very obviously legislation to enshrine net neutrality, and is a world first (though all 27 EU countries must follow by May 2011) - of course how it is enforced will be critical.


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