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UK Government Wants To Kill Net Neutrality In EU 287

Posted by kdawson
from the for-your-own-good dept.
Glyn Moody writes "Not content with snooping on all Internet activity, the UK government now wants to introduce changes to the contentious EU Telecoms Package, which will kill net neutrality in the EU: 'Amendments to the Telecoms Package circulated in Brussels by the UK government, seek to cross out users' rights to access and distribute Internet content and services. And they want to replace it with a "principle" that users can be told not only the conditions for access, but also the conditions for the use of applications and services. The amendments, if carried, would reverse the principle of end-to-end connectivity which has underpinned not only the Internet, but also European telecommunications policy, to date.' To add to the irony, an accompanying text cuts and pastes from Wikipedia, without attribution."
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UK Government Wants To Kill Net Neutrality In EU

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  • man, corporations oops, I mean politicians are really pushing this BS aren't they?
    • Politicians are corrupt. There is value(read: profit) in artificial scarcity. By reducing the consumer's expectations you can get them to pay more for the same service. Profit is good for the economy(in theory).

      Soon, you'll pick your ISP or your rate plan based on the sites you want to see. The content producers and ISP's will share the revenue from the increased revenue. Sadly, I really think a lot of consumers will pony up the cash.

      Regardless of what the laws say, ISP's can choose to allow universal access. If this new business model fails, they may eventually give up.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "And if you order in the next 30 minutes, you can get 100 additional websites for only $19.99/mo more"

        Sadly, this is the endgame they're envisioning

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Stanislav_J (947290)
          Sounds more and more like cable TV, with its various "tiers" of service based on content, premium channels, etc. That's probably, alas, where Internet access is heading, not just in the U.K., but here in the U.S. as well. Don't kid yourself: net neutrality will sooner or later be just a memory. You can moan and complain and fight, but personally I'm amazed the powers that be haven't already clamped down on the notion of free-roaming flat-rate uncensored Internet use already. Can't control what the masses re
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by cayenne8 (626475)
            "personally I'm amazed the powers that be haven't already clamped down on the notion of free-roaming flat-rate uncensored Internet use already. Can't control what the masses read and hear that way."

            Well, it kinda snuck up on them. The govt. never saw this coming really.....if they had, I'm sure things would have been planned out to be MUCH more restrictive at the onset.

      • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Monday March 09, 2009 @09:39PM (#27129951) Homepage

        There is value(read: profit) in artificial scarcity. By reducing the consumer's expectations you can get them to pay more for the same service. Profit is good for the economy(in theory).

        In bullshit theory, sure. In real economic theory, however, this setup is horribly inefficient, as it significantly reduces the consumer surplus. Of course, the government can't tax something quite so intangible as such a benefit to society...

      • by jabithew (1340853) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @03:17AM (#27131751)

        Politicians are corrupt. There is value(read: profit) in artificial scarcity. By reducing the consumer's expectations you can get them to pay more for the same service. Profit is good for the economy(in theory).

        Yes, yes, yes, NO! Profit from artificial scarcity causes a deadweight loss [wikipedia.org], and is bad for any other industry as well as consumers and therefore the government.

        I don't know why my government is doing this, as it sounds like the exact opposite of the changes Britain normally proposes, but I don't understand any of the UK government policies. I would say roll on the general election, but I'm not convinced that Cameron's Tory's will be much better.

    • UK Government Wants To Kill Net Neutrality In EU

      Hannibal King: "Fuck me. Fuck me sideways."

      I've just about written off the UK. Hate to say it, but they're going down a dark road. Now, as an American, I can honestly say that my country's various governments are making every effort to go travel that same road.

      I'm bitterly disappointed in both of them.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Hal_Porter (817932)

        Shouldn't you go to the UK before writing it off, rather than doing so based on a "UK is a policestate" meme on slashdot?

  • Another brick (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Renraku (518261) on Monday March 09, 2009 @09:01PM (#27129631) Homepage

    Just another brick in their wall they're building to further close them off from the rest of reality.

    I've had this thought for a while now, but now's an appropriate time to say it: Will there be a day when a British tourist visits America and remarks that our cameras must be hidden really well, because they can't see them at all!

    • by Alphanos (596595)

      No; they won't be that well hidden.

    • by Maelwryth (982896)
      More likely they will have to combat a new phobia. Fear of not being watched. This will be characterised by an inability to sustain normal social relationships without the presence of a psychological moral superior leading to spontaneous religious conversions upon crossing the ditch in order to retain sanity.

      Is this already a phobia?
  • by MrMickS (568778) on Monday March 09, 2009 @09:02PM (#27129639) Homepage Journal

    This is the labour party exercising its left wing credentials. It wants total control of the populous. They don't like the internet as it is as it allows people to bypass the laws they set up to police it. They don't want to stop it being used, but they want to control what people use if for, and to have something in place that is sufficiently vague that they can use for any purpose.

    The worst thing is that the general population is that ignorant to what the government is doing that as long as this is spun as a measure to counter terrorism, or catching paedophiles, there will be no objection. After all, how could any sane person object to such a thing.

    We currently have a government that is ruled by conceit. They know what is best for people and if we ignore what they tell us to do then its because we haven't understood rather than us having understood and rejected the advice. Their next resort is to legislate to force us to do what they want us to do, for our own good of course. HMG has forgotten that they are there to serve the people, rather than the other way around.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is the labour party exercising its right wing credentials.

      Fixed that for you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Chabo (880571)

      This is the labour party exercising its left wing credentials. It wants total control of the populous.

      http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/speedcameras/Brown%20is%20stalin.jpg [talkswindon.org]

      I apologize for the squished aspect ratio on the photo.

      I first saw that photo on Top Gear, when Clarkson was comparing Brown and Stalin: that he is restricting movement by raising fuel tax, and that ID cards and curfews are to follow.

      I'm an American, and the British government has made me not want to live in the U.K., which I would otherwise like to do someday.

    • by arevos (659374) on Monday March 09, 2009 @09:25PM (#27129833) Homepage

      This is the labour party exercising its left wing credentials. It wants total control of the populous.

      And right-wing politicians don't?

    • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Monday March 09, 2009 @09:40PM (#27129959)

      This has nothing to do with left wing or right wing, and allegations that it does are simply foolish. The English Conservative Party has a well-documented history of fascist tendencies going back at least as far as WWII. There were even quite a few Tories who thought Hitler had the right idea, and said so publicly. Sir Oswald Mosley illustrates the point well. First he was a Tory, then a Labour cabinet minister, then he abandoned both parties to found the British Union of Fascists.

      You might also be unaware that in its current incarnation the Labour Party is to the right of what has traditionally been the British centre.

      In any case, this situation is just another indication of a coercive government doing what it does best: get people under its thumb and squeeze out any hint of thought and activity it doesn't either monitor or control. Just try to find real differences in the position of the Tories and Labour on any issue of substance. Currently, "Right" and "Left" are simply labels of convenience to soothe the party faithful.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jabithew (1340853)

        The English Conservative Party has a well-documented history of liberal tendencies going back at least as far as the Great War. There were even quite a few Tories who thought David Lloyd-George had the right idea, and said so publicly. Sir Winston Churchill illustrates the point well. First he was a Liberal, then a Tory prime minister.

        The Tories, like Labour, are a fairly big tent.

    • by sapphire wyvern (1153271) on Monday March 09, 2009 @09:59PM (#27130135)

      It wants total control of the populous.

      Sorry for the pedantry, but I've been seeing this particular malapropism a lot lately. "Populous" is an adjective, meaning "densely inhabited". The noun you're looking for is "populace", meaning a population of people. Yes, they're pronounced exactly the same, so it's a very common substitution.

    • by nicklott (533496)
      Please point me to some (real) evidence that New Labour is left wing in any way whatsoever...
      • by jabithew (1340853)

        Here you go [wikipedia.org].

        Yes, you can say it's not real evidence, but some right-wing governments, or any government that wasn't reliant on support from client regions, or any government that wasn't more interested in saving its own testes than doing what was right for the country* would have allowed the bank to collapse.

        *You never know, it might happen. I can only think of one example at the moment, and that was Maggie's first term.

  • by BountyX (1227176) on Monday March 09, 2009 @09:21PM (#27129785)
    Sorry, you do not have the rights to access and distribute this slashdot comment.
    • But I can see it, which means that... I...

      Oh my God. Should I go and turn myself over to the police now, or just jump off the nearest bridge?

      A helicopter outside! Too late to ponder, they are already here! I hope [NO CARRIER]

  • by nightfire-unique (253895) on Monday March 09, 2009 @09:29PM (#27129873)

    Those against net neutrality represent the gravest threat the Internet has faced. The Internet routes around damage, yes. But if concerted, simultaneous attacks occur by various governments around the world, Internet freedom can be defeated.

    Not to sound overly melodramatic, but our children's children will judge us based on how we react to these assaults, today. If we successfully defend the Internet from those who wish to corrupt it for political, religious or profit reasons, we will have provided the greatest gift humanity has ever received - a free, open, and entrenched global communication network. A step in the evolution of our species.

    If we fail in our duty, and the Internet is globally subverted, becoming yet another one-way broadcasting network for advertisers and propagandists, we will have left our descendants to another hundred years of suffering and misery.

    Consider some of the things the Internet threatens:

    - War: The Internet connects people in warzones with people outside the warzone. This makes it difficult to perpetrate a war without upsetting the aggressor's citizenry, as they will be exposed to the consequences of the war. Youtube, blogging from Baghdad, and english.aljazeera.net are just the start.
    - Police brutality: Videos can circle the globe within minutes. The watchers are now watched, and this has a powerful effect on their behavior.
    - Propaganda: .. is far less effective when the citizenry can check the facts
    - Financial scandals: Anonymous communications help whistleblowers uncover financial scandals-in-progress

    Now consider some of the things the Internet enables

    - Global scientific collaboration: For both amateur and university-scale scientists, the Internet permits the free exchange of ideas
    - The liberation of "intellectual property": (not so good for the profit-seekers, but ultimately necessary for humanity)
    - Force multiplication for sellers: individuals can sell their products with the same efficiency and legitimacy as a large corporation, enabling more competition and a true free market (ie. ebay)

    All of this has a negative effect on entrenched players, explaining our current situation. And this is the reason we need to fight, and fight hard. Because if we don't, we, and our descendants, will lose.

    • by fractoid (1076465) on Monday March 09, 2009 @10:07PM (#27130193) Homepage
      Excellent post. It's more than a little scary to think about how much the Internet has improved humanitarian matters through exposing abuses. It shrinks the globe far more than the airlines did - Iraq is generally way, way outside Joe Citizen's monkeysphere, but that guy in his WoW raid is definitely inside it, and when that guy says "sorry, I have to go, someone's bombing my block"... that has an impact.

      Government propaganda likewise, I'm increasingly disgusted by the pile of steaming ad hominem and blatant misrepresentation in politics these days. I'm also disgusted by the fact that most of the populus just gulp it down through their TV straw and don't even check to see how it tastes, but that's another story...

      That said, I don't think the 'net as a whole is under any long-term threat, simply because due to scalability requirements it will eventually turn into a wireless mesh system. As networks grow very large, they _must_ become increasingly decentralized and therefore increasingly resilient to attacks of the kind that net neutrality seeks to prevent.
      • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Monday March 09, 2009 @10:39PM (#27130381) Journal

        due to scalability requirements it will eventually turn into a wireless mesh system.

        I would guess that'll happen because of the threat of censorship, and the relative cheapness, more than anything else. Fiber is pretty scalable.

        As networks grow very large, they _must_ become increasingly decentralized and therefore increasingly resilient to attacks of the kind that net neutrality seeks to prevent.

        Keep in mind, the Internet currently is very centralized in other ways as well.

        For example: How do we find anything on the Internet? Google. How does eBay allow individuals to become sellers? By routing them through the corporate hub of, well, eBay. Who decides how to allocate DNS and IP? The IANA.

        And yet, when you completely decentralize it, you open yourself up to spam. That is, if everything is defined by a consensus of peers, all someone has to do is control a large number of those peers, either by infecting real peers, or by fabricating them.

        I don't have a good solution, and I have no idea what a good solution would look like, unless it went entirely peer-to-peer. But then we'd have to set about building a web of trust that spans the planet, and any one entity might still not have a good path to trust another entity.

      • Government propaganda likewise, I'm increasingly disgusted by the pile of steaming ad hominem and blatant misrepresentation in politics these days. I'm also disgusted by the fact that most of the populus just gulp it down through their TV straw and don't even check to see how it tastes, but that's another story...

        It's not just because it's propaganda. That's not far from how politicians really are.

        On Danish TV, there's a live transmission from the parliament every day the parliament meets (last I checked). It's a fun watch, in a depressing kind of way.

        The politicians present their pieces of legislation and other work (let's form a task force to set down a committee to ...). Then they debate it, then they vote (sometimes).

        The debate consists mostly of calling each other "Mr. Fogh" and "Ms. Thorning-Schmidt" and th

    • by LoRdTAW (99712)

      Okay wait, where do I go with my guy fox mask and looooooooooooong cat banner again?

  • by presidenteloco (659168) on Monday March 09, 2009 @09:29PM (#27129875)

    From the 1960s, draconian British radio broadcasting restrictions forced would-be music broadcasters to park ships in the North Sea and transmit "pirate radio" stations to the UK.

    Perhaps its time for pirate radio 2.0 : unlicensed digital packet radio mesh edition.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 09, 2009 @09:33PM (#27129897)

    I am a proud EU citizen I am tired of the UK being an EU member. UK (both government and population) behaves like stubborn child, like the black sheep. It does not want to adopt Euro, fully implement Schengen Treaty, European Charter of Human Rights, etc.; UK doesnâ(TM)t respect the symbols of the Union (e.g. the flag). Yet they want to rip all the benefits of the common market. Eastern EU workers were good when their citizens did not want to fill in raw work positions. Same Eastern-EU workers are scapegoats now, while their own British born citizens from the former Empire population blow themselves up. And now they want to infect the rest of the Union with their Stalinist type of police state. Frankly, I want UK out of the EU, let them be spied on their island only, have all the raw jobs they hired cheap hard working foreigners they despite, ask them to have a visa to visit EU, be finger-printed, etc. Let's have them alone on their pathetic island, also known for many reason as "The Perfidious Albion". Many of their politicians still behave like 100 years ago when they were a global empire, now the empire is gone and they just pay the price of arrogance. We need the Union to evolve without the hand-brake on. Brits, keep your politicians, CCTV cameras, and KGB-style police at home! Let the European Union alone!

    • De Gaulle, and gaullists in general, was very much against the UK joining the EU. His major objection was its overseas empire and is connection to it. A connection that would preclude any stronger connection with the continent.

      These days, I think it must be said that De Gaulle was certainly correct, except that he mistook the connection. The UK is not so much linked to its former empire, as it is inextricably linked to its former colony [metro.co.uk], and now arguably its master, the United States. There is also the concept of the Anglosphere in general.

      The Anglosphere is a very real cultural and economic force, if not a political one. This is what De Gaulle saw, and is why he did not want the UK forcing that worldview onto the EU. With English now being used as the dominant language in the EU, and with the UK promoting measures such as this, and all but standing in for the US in the commission, I think his objections were valid.

      The UK should not have been let in.

      • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:27PM (#27130769)
        The Europeans have nobody to blame but themselves for the kind of people that the British are. Stronger connection with the continent? Heh, yeah, what like when the Romans invaded? The Danes? The Viking raids and invasion attempts? The Normans? The Spanish would have if they could have, same with the French both under their monarchy and Napoleon, and lastly the Germans under Hitler (we'll let the cold war Russian threat slide). I think I'd be a little schizophrenic about 'the continent' with that much 'history'.

        It's funny that the EUropeans hold Britain's former colonies against her. All the major states of Europe had colonies, the only difference was that they all came to nothing. Mexico doesn't have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, Algeria sure as hell didn't save Europe from the Germans (twice), Indonesia never managed to put men on the moon, etc. etc. Many of the British colonies were the only European colonies to achieve a 'European' level of rule of law and quality of life, and I think that makes the other European powers jealous. I think it bothers the French that no matter how many words they make up for new technology, it's still only English that's accepted as the universal language of air-traffic control (because English-speakers invented powered flight). I think it bothers the great Universities of Europe that no matter how good they are, they'll never carry the gravitas of Oxford and the Rhodes Scholarship simply because that's what Britain impressed on all her colonies and sphere of influence as the excelsior achievement. Anyway, the point is well enough made.

        The transfer of global primacy from the British in the 19th century to the Americans in the 20th represents a very unique event in known history. Never has the center of the primary political and military power on earth shifted such a vast geographic distance without a similarly vast shift in language or culture. As a grand coincidence, those two English-speaking centuries oversaw the production, dissemination, and regulation (or lack thereof) of virtually every new technology that has changed human civilization, including the internet. This made the 'Anglosphere' into the primary progenitor of the coming modern monoculture. Any scion of the other major cultural powers who understands these things would be justifiably miffed, and I believe they are.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Your argument has many flaws. USA becomes a great nation by becoming independent from the British influence. Without the revolution, we would have become another docile Canada (sorry, no pun intended to our good neighbor from the North) because of the spirit of its citizens and the genius of its founding fathers!

          We had to fight against British arrogance in our American Revolution to become free. While most of the original 13 colonies were British ones, many other territories and states had a much diverse Eu

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward
            The Revolutionary War was about sovereignty, not society or culture. Aside from giving up tea for coffee and banning titles, American society was solidly derived from English society, most importantly common law.

            While the French, Spanish, and Dutch had some significant holdings, they were not as well populated as the British holdings, nor as solidly held. The lands in the south such as Florida and Louisiana bounced between Spanish, French, British and American control like pinballs, and the Dutch didn't
      • by Petrushka (815171) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:17AM (#27131035)

        You've got some interesting points, but I suspect that if de Gaulle were around today he'd be thoroughly in favour of keeping the UK in the EU. It really specifically was the Commonwealth that he was concerned about, and the UK has wholeheartedly and thoroughly done its best to bring the Commonwealth to an end.

        Today the major powers in the EU -- France and Germany, and to a lesser extent Benelux -- very much want to keep the UK in the EU, and I suspect that's precisely because of the UK's trans-Atlantic links. The UK may have always been ambivalent about the EU -- it so happens that the yea-sayers have been winning so far -- but since the Commonwealth became moribund, the EU has been working remarkably hard to appease the UK and keep them in. Perhaps the UK's importance in the field of banking is another reason to keep the UK. If not for those two things, I would imagine that France in particular would have given up on UK-appeasing long ago.

      • by houghi (78078)

        Cut the naval cord called Channel and push the island over to the USofA. Or perhaps we can exchange the UK people with the Canadians. Europe happy for getting some friendly people, USofA happy, because they have their 51st state closer.

        To the Canadians: Don't worry, we have experience in dual-language situations. A list of countries that I know of that have more then one language:
        Spain, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Finland.

        Yep, would be a great exchange and better for all. (And to the Canadians, thanks aga

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kegon (766647)

      UK (both government and population) behaves like stubborn child, like the black sheep. It does not want to adopt Euro, fully implement Schengen Treaty, European Charter of Human Rights, etc. [.....] Yet they want to rip all the benefits of the common market.

      Show me an EU member country that is doing any different. They all act for their own benefits, none of them are selfless. All countries have negotiated these treaties and agreements, are you saying other countries were unfairly forced to sign and the UK

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        It's "interesting" because it reflects a widely held view of Britain and the British people throughout the European continent. It's not "flamebait" for the same reason.

        If you wish to defend the British historical record as being positive for the EU, then you're welcome to do so. Perhaps your interpretation will end up deserving an "Interesting" mod, too.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by kegon (766647)

          It's "interesting" because it reflects a widely held view of Britain and the British people throughout the European continent. It's not "flamebait" for the same reason.

          Having a widely held view does not make that opinion interesting or less provocative.

          The post does not have an argument it is purely hostile. As I said before, EU treaties were all negotiated and signed by more than one party. If the original poster is unhappy with this he should ask the politicians of his country to negotiate differently a

          • Having a widely held view does not make that opinion interesting or less provocative.

            Keeping your head in the sand about unpleasant facts does not generally make them go away. That said, I'd argue that for many Americans on this site (possibly even the majority of slashdot users), learning about widely held opinions in Europe may certainly qualify as interesting.

            AFAIK Britain has kept to her end of all the EU treaties she has signed, or is that defined as "perfidious" ?

            Translation: Poor virtuou

    • The problem isn't the British politicians. The EU is much too big for them to be threatening us with their paranoid laws.

      The problem is that in the EU, you're not sure that they won't listen. There are other idiots, from other countries, who might think the same. The model of the police state might be more wide spread than you think. This is the issue. We do not know what the program of the European Government is.

      That's why it's so important to vote in June 2009 for the European Parliament!!!
      http://en.wikip [wikipedia.org]

  • by Hordeking (1237940) on Monday March 09, 2009 @10:37PM (#27130365)

    To add to the irony, an accompanying text cuts and pastes from Wikipedia, without attribution.

    So, who does Gpl-violation file suit against? In fact, if a law quotes you unattributed, doesn't that mean the government is somehow liable for copyright infringement?

  • Yet another definition of Net Neutrality.

  • I really still don't get it, why are the ones who are supposed to be liberals doing such things? I could understand if a douchebag like Cameron wanted to turn the UK into what the Labour party is turning it into, but why does the Labour party do that? Since when is that sort of agenda anything like the liberal agenda? Socialists in France aren't pushing for anything even vaguely similar, neither are the Social Democrats in Germany or the centre-left coalition of Italy, or anywhere else I know of where the m

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      I really still don't get it, why are the ones who are supposed to be liberals doing such things?

      Because, uh, liberals want to tell everyone what to do and prevent them from offending anyone with 'bad speech' or seeing bad things?

      Conservatives, of course, want to do the same, only with slightly different definitions of 'bad'.

      • by 4D6963 (933028)
        So why don't other liberals in other countries do the same? Why are "liberals" in the UK this isolated in that regard?
        • by 0123456 (636235)

          So why don't other liberals in other countries do the same?

          In what Western country are liberals _not_ trying to tell everyone else what to do at gunpoint?

          'Political correctness' (aka wet Marxism) is the norm throughout the West. Though I guess Britain was responsible for Marxism in the first place.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bongomanaic (755112)

      So where on Earth did these guys get their agenda from? Why the fuck are they pushing for stuff like that? What's wrong with these people? That's not how being a liberal is supposed to be.

      The Labour party isn't a liberal party, it's a populist pro-business centre right (by European standards) party. It's platform since the early 1990s has been "the third way", i.e. the pursuit of egalitarian aims such as reducing poverty and improving education coupled with traditionally right-wing concerns such as the

  • Why is it that... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AlgorithMan (937244) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @02:31AM (#27131561) Homepage
    Why is it that every time I read "UK" in a news headline I instantly think "what stupid nazi-like decision did these idiots make this time?"?

    And why is this sense of forboding always correct?
  • Don't be fooled, there is no way this ammendment will go through, and the UK government knows this. The only motviation for proposing such ridiculous changes is to be seen to be tackling piracy and copyright issues, which they can then blame on the EU when they refuse these new powers.

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