net neutrality

A slew of amendments to a regulation on the management of Internet traffic in Europe were rejected by Members of European Parliament (MEPs).

Instead, existing regulation will likely be developed into regulations, a move which proponents of net neutrality have criticized.

Net neutrality proponents demand that web traffic be treated equally by networks, regardless of what type of data it might be. It is possible to give more priority to certain types of data, for instance, if the originators of such data agree to pay a fee to ensure their content gets ferried across the web quickly. This move is particularly worrying for sites with large data, such video streaming sites, which may start paying fees just to ensure their users continue to experience the same type of experience they are accustomed to.

Some worry that the provisions for protecting net neutrality in the existing text of the rules are not clearly defined, which could make it easy for internet companies to make other arrangements with content providers that may not favor everyone.

The major worry is that this could stifle innovation by locking out the small content providers from the scheme of things, threatening free speech, and leading to more privacy concerns.

The inventor of the world wide web Sir Tim Berners-Lee and a significant number of tech companies – including Netflix, Reddit and Kickstarter – had expressed their support for the amendments and urged MEPs to vote them through, prior to the vote.

These proponents of net neutrality had signed a letter to the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, asking that the MEPs adopt the amendments.