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Netherlands Cements Net Neutrality In Law 115

Posted by samzenpus
from the equal-treatment dept.
Fluffeh writes "A while back, Dutch Telcos started to sing the 'We are losing money due to internet services!' song and floated new plans that would make consumers pay extra for data used by apps that conflicted with their own services — apps like Skype, for example. The politicians stepped in, however, and wrote laws forbidding this. Now, the legislation has finally passed through the Senate and the Netherlands is an officially Net Neutral country, the second in the world — Chile did this a while back."
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Netherlands Cements Net Neutrality In Law

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  • Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meerling (1487879) on Friday May 11, 2012 @02:54AM (#39963831)
    Too bad our politicians probably won't take the hint.
    • by toutankh (1544253)

      And by "our politicians" you mean?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Canazza (1428553)

        everywhere but the Netherlands and Chile

      • by 1s44c (552956)

        And by "our politicians" you mean?

        Good question. "our politicians" doesn't really make sense in any country I've seen unless you actually work inside a political party.

        They are always "their politicians" working for their own personal gain.

    • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Interesting)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday May 11, 2012 @03:35AM (#39963995)
      Our internet is half their speed, [phys.org] and I'm guessing that we have, proportionally, less than half the options for internet providers that they do.

      Someone remind me of the specifics of when we gave telecos a bunch of taxpayer money to speed up our internet, and they, naturally, gave it to their CEOs and investors, and are now complaining they don't have the infrastructure to not throttle and cap and can't possibly afford to upgrade?

      The dutch probably didn't do that. Just a wild guess.
      • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @03:53AM (#39964057)

        Actually, we had cheap unlimited mobile internet up to about a year ago (E 9.99 for the internet add-on). Now that the customers have discovered the mobile web, mobile providers have doubled their rates three times (all in unison, fixed pricing anyone?) and adding ridiculously low data caps on their cheaper plans (100mbs a month, seriously??). Moreover, they tied the data allowance to the minutes in a plan, so if you want a 2gb cap, you'll also have to buy a ridiculous amount of minutes. Only last month some virtual providers started offering mix 'n match packages where you are free to select separate internet, voice and text packages.

        Also, most non-mobile internet providers are formerly state-owned, so they didn't have to build their own networks. And if you want cable internet (triple play packages) there is absolutely no consumer choice as the Netherlands is divided between two large cable providers and a bunch of small ones, with their networks having NO overlap. Where you live decides your ISP. The only competition the cable companies have is ADSL through KPN (and a few virtual providers) and (in a few larger cities) Fiber.

        Then again, we're not as screwed as Belgium where data caps are very normal (even on non-mobile) and competition is also absent.

        • Re:Too bad (Score:4, Informative)

          by JosephTX (2521572) on Friday May 11, 2012 @06:49AM (#39964769)

          Mobile service is irrelevant. Nobody actually WORKS from their phone or tablet.

          And bandwidth caps in most countries are still higher than what most people in America could get by downloading movies for most of the month. One of Japan's largest ISP's (NTT), for example, received alot of bad publicity when they started a policy to slow down service to anyone downloading 30GB a day. That's almost 1TB a month. Australia, one of the most notorious countries for bandwidth restrictions, has ISP's that charge anywhere from $60 (unlimited DSL) to $130 (1TB monthly).

          And the US has almost no overlap in high-speed internet networks, either. In fact, 98% of Americans have only ONE choice for broadband speeds. Everything you just complained about with the Netherlands applies to the US as well. The funny thing is that, while AT&T and Comcast both call it socialist when anyone says we should take the infrastructure back and let ISP's compete over it, they campaigned FOR that very thing in the UK because THEY were the small ISP's there.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            Mobile service is irrelevant.

            Mobile was the reason the Dutch netneutrality legislation was drafted. Carriers used to selling (mobile) phone by the minute and text messages per piece wanted to apply the same ideas to data: such as Skype per minute or pay-per-video Youtube, all to be monitored through DPI.

          • Mobile service is irrelevant. Nobody actually WORKS from their phone or tablet.

            Hey speak for yourself man. Not all of our phones or tablets are dinky little media consumption devices.

      • by Verunks (1000826)

        that's the average speed though, Netherlands is quite small and there are no mountains as far as I know, the US on the other hand is huge, you can't expect fiber optic connections in rural areas, that's also the reason why South Korea and Japan come out on top, they are very small country, of course they are also usually better than the rest of the world when it comes to technology

        • Re:Too bad (Score:4, Informative)

          by dingen (958134) on Friday May 11, 2012 @05:37AM (#39964459)
          Finland is huge and has mountains. Super fast internet for everyone over there.
          • by Verunks (1000826)
            according to wikipedia Finland has a very low density and most of the population lives in the south of the country, the mountains in the south are quite small as well and Finland is still very small compared to the US
            • by Anonymous Coward

              Please explain why metropolitain areas are still not that fast and very expensive? High relative population densities should have fast and cheap providers.

            • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

              by dingen (958134) on Friday May 11, 2012 @08:22AM (#39965245)
              Of course Finland is small when compared to the US. So lets compare the EU to the US. Why is the internet faster in the entire Eurozone, with all their different countries, cultures and languages, than in the US?
        • by s73v3r (963317)

          The thing is, your argument completely falls apart when you look at the speeds in urban areas of the US, and they are still extremely shitty compared to their urban areas.

        • you can't expect fiber optic connections in rural areas

          Does that mean I CAN expect fiber optic connections to me, living in a non-rural area and still getting about the US average?

          AT&T and comcast will be disappointed to hear that.

      • by Jedi Alec (258881)

        The dutch probably didn't do that. Just a wild guess.

        Actually, we did. And then we noticed that may not be the best approach and we forced the main ISP to make the phone lines available to anyone who wanted to start an ISP over ADSL.

        Separation of infrastructure and service. Try it, it works. Of course, in yank country that would be "hating freedom", "destroying job creators" and other anti-monopolist tripe.

        • by lxs (131946)

          It works, somewhat, for telecoms. It has been a waste of time and money for energy providers and a disaster for the railways. So much so that even our most privatisation-happy party is calling for renewed nationalisation of the rail infrastructure to repair the mess that separation of infrastructure and services has created.

        • by s73v3r (963317)

          Actually, we had that, a loooooooong, loooooooong time ago. Then the Bush FCC decided that it was stupid, and so the line owning telcos were allowed to jack line rental rates up to astronomical levels. Needless to say, that put an end to that.

    • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Eraesr (1629799) on Friday May 11, 2012 @04:44AM (#39964239) Homepage
      Too bad our (as in: the Dutch) judges don't take a hint. Yesterday a judge ruled that a bunch of additional Dutch telcos needed to block access to The Pirate Bay. A few months back that very same judge already ruled that two telcos (XS4ALL and Ziggo) needed to block access to TPB. Not that it matters, research by an independent company has indicated that usage of TPB by XS4ALL and Ziggo customers hasn't decreased the slightest bit.
      • And why exactly should a judge take new 'netneutrality' legislation into account when he's asked to make a decision on existing copyright laws? The new telecom law still allows for specific anti-piracy measures.
    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday May 11, 2012 @06:36AM (#39964703) Journal

      I am dutch, our politicians are taking the hint and have sold out en-mass to big media by ordering the blocking of The Pirate Bay despite wasting millions on a free internet project.

      This means nothing, it is just a load of drivel enacted by politician who have spend the last 2 years one enacting and revoking a 130km/h speed increase, a ban on burka's now canceled again and the privatization off the rail roads now to be reversed and the admittance that the privatization of the post office was a mistake...

      It is not like the economy is down the crapper, un-employment is rising and the Euro/EU is a stinking pile of crap or anything.

      Be very careful what you wish for when looking at other countries, KPN, which set of the rush for this law is the company that wanted to charge extra for whatsapp recently announced with other mobile operators that they would introduce a limited business only roll out of LTE, just enough to satisfy the license demands so if you pay a premium, own a business and are in the right street, you can have modern tech before the end of the decade. The rest? Get stuffed, we are making to many millions of 3G still.

      • by Nugoo (1794744)

        This means nothing, it is just a load of drivel enacted by politician who have spend the last 2 years one enacting and revoking a 130km/h speed increase, a ban on burka's now canceled again and the privatization off the rail roads now to be reversed and the admittance that the privatization of the post office was a mistake...

        At least you guys get rid of your crappy laws.

    • Too bad our public won't take the hint, and then start to vote for real politicians.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @03:06AM (#39963867)

    Net neutrality?? What were they smoking??

    Gigity :)

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Nothing illegal!

      • by azalin (67640)
        In the Netherlands that still leaves a LOT more options than in most other countries. Why are they called "coffee shops" anyway?
  • Note this will not keep them from charging high rates for datatraffic, or setting very low caps, and charge lots more if you go over your allotment. Has cost me hundreds of euros per month for several months.

    My iPhone appeared to be very uninformative about which apps were the data hungry culprit, and Apple has blocked API's for third-party developers. Also it seems that when you enable sending diagnostics info to apple, crashdumps will be sent AT NIGHT OVER 3G EVEN IF YOU ARE AT HOME ON WIFI!

    My Dutch prov

    • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Friday May 11, 2012 @03:11AM (#39963889)
      Android means Droidwall. You can block access to 3g, wifi or both on a per-app level with that.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'm a bit of a "fandroid", but even I have to point out that you can only use Droidwall if you root your device. Rooting your device is similar to jailbreaking an iPhone (in a lot of cases, but not all as some manufacturers will allow you to [rom] unlock their phones).

        If you jailbreak your iPhone, you can install Firewall iP which afaik will give you the same results.

      • If you dont really need a firewall, and are looking to just block 3g/wifi on a per-app basis, you should try LBE Privacy Guard. It allows you set pretty much every permission on a per-app basis (3g, wifi, location, contacts, call information etc).

        • by St.Creed (853824)

          I use Onavo. Free and similar.

          Also, since I upgraded to Android ICS I've seen more options to control the data from the settings so I recommend people check that out first.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Dunno about iPhone but Android lets you disable WiFi or mobile data very easily. Switch it on only when you need it. Best adblocker possible, too.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A day after this was announced all Dutch ISPs were ordered to block TPB.

    http://torrentfreak.com/five-more-dutch-isps-given-10-days-to-censor-the-pirate-bay-120510/

    The US isn't the only country that is getting destroyed by lobbyists and religious nutjobs.

    • I'm not sure how net neutrality, TPB, lobbyists, and religious nutjobs are connected.

      I can see the links between pirate bay being blocked and lobbyists, but the line from either to net neutrality I'm a little blurry on. I was under the impression that was copyright law and didn't overlap much with ISPs charging content providers more for preferential treatment.

      The religious nutjobs I really don't see the connection between, but given that they're just bad news in general, I'll go ahead and assume the
      • by sFurbo (1361249) on Friday May 11, 2012 @04:11AM (#39964111)
        I don't see how blocking TPB is not related to net neutrality. Net neutrality can be boiled down to "treat all package the same", which includes packages to and from TPB. The mechanism of package discrimination are different (pay us more or we won't allow this package to come through vs. we won't allow this package to come thorugh), but they are both examples of package discrimination, and thus breaks net neutrality (as I see it, at least). Of course, there is an immense differnce between an ISP deciding to do it themselves versus an ISP being ordered by a court, so they aren't equivalent in all respects.

        The religious nutjobs, I have no idea how they fits in.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          With this law an ISP is not allowed to block domains. But there are exceptions for court orders (like the piratebay) and when a customer *wants* to have domains blocked .

      • Religious nutjobs as such don't, but they do heavily overlap with the anti-regulation faction of conservative, who are involved. They oppose net neutrality on the grounds that it means more regulation, and they view more regulation as intrinsicly bad.

        The religious nutjobs do sometimes like to mutter a line about copyright infringement being theft and thus sinful, but it's so far down their long list of priorities that they hardly ever even think about it. They have a hundred things they consider more impor
        • by s73v3r (963317)

          Religious nutjobs as such don't, but they do heavily overlap with the anti-regulation faction of conservative, who are involved.

          To be pedantic, they aren't "anti-regulation". They are very much in favor of regulation. Just for things they like. In the US, for example, they claim to be for "smaller government", yet invite the government into the bedroom, and want to regulate who can marry whom.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      The US isn't the only country that is getting destroyed by lobbyists and religious nutjobs.

      What in hell does religion have to do with Net neutrality? Would you fucking offtopic antitheists give it a god damned rest? In very few slashdot discussions is religion relevant at all. Offtopic+flamebait-troll. So please knock it the fuck off.

      Mods, I'm offtopic, sorry, but these assholes are getting under my skin.

  • by lxs (131946) on Friday May 11, 2012 @03:11AM (#39963887)

    Net neutrality is a great step, but on the same day a judge ordered all ISPs in the Netherlands to block the Pirate Bay. You win some you lose some.

    • This is challenged (Score:4, Insightful)

      by thrill12 (711899) on Friday May 11, 2012 @04:26AM (#39964179) Journal
      There are already voices in the Dutch parliament calling for an investigation into copyright law, and whether censoring sites for commercial purposes/civil law is allowed : this would then only allow the blocking of sites illegal under criminal law. This story has not ended by far, and a similar thing as what happened to KPN (calling netneutrality into question) could happen to Brein (our "MPAA", using censorship for commercial purposes).
    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Exactly. This is just banning deep packet inspection not true net nutrality.

    • by Adriax (746043)

      Ahh, damn. I was about to go find 10 cubic meters of obsidian and build myself a portal.

      3 fist sized diamonds and 10m^3 of obsidian is cheaper than a plane ticket, and non-invasive.

  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Friday May 11, 2012 @03:15AM (#39963901)

    On the one hand, net neutrality would be great. On the other hand, our (American) politicians don't have a snowball's chance in Hell of getting the legislation right. [sigh]

    • by will_die (586523)
      That Dutch law would probably have a really good chance of being passed in the USA.
      The problem with the bills that have been submitted in the USA use a different definition of net neutrality than you see in the Dutch and other laws.
      The Dutch law limits blocking protocols unless they are don't to all, in the USA the bills have been more about not being able to block sites or to provide sites. So under the USA bills ISPs would not beable to block a site to MANBLA or even SPAM that followed the rules on the
  • Nice, but incomplete (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately it contains an exception that still requires ISPs to block websites deemed copyright-infringing by a judge. Soon, almost all ISPs will be blocking the Pirate Bay (although they are still on appeal). Fortunately, free proxies are popping up like mushrooms, so it doesn't have must direct effect, but it still effectively requires ISPs to set up theur system for censorship through DNS+IP blocking.

  • by DerPflanz (525793) <bart.friesoft@nl> on Friday May 11, 2012 @03:22AM (#39963927) Homepage

    And, in other news, a Dutch judge approved blocking of the piratebay, as requested by a private party Brein (dutch RIAA).

    The net neutrality law actually allows blocking of sites through court orders.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @03:25AM (#39963953)

    ..because all you need is a judge to agree otherwise. The law specifically includes an exception to allow the Dutch court to deviate from neutrality.

    Gettings a judge to agree in the Netherlands is not that hard as some recent court cases show.

    • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Friday May 11, 2012 @06:00AM (#39964559) Journal
      I think you misunderstand the reasons for the creation of this law. It is not to safeguard us from censorship, or to protect providers from having to censor certain sites. It is to protect us consumer from those providers, preventing them from blocking certain traffic selectively and ask for a premium to have that block removed, and to prevent them from throttling bandwidth to services that compete with premium services they offer themselves. Since the providers were poised to do exactly that, this law is far from meaningless.

      There is another exception, by the way: providers are still allowed to block certain sites at the request of the subscriber. There is a Dutch provider (Kliksafe) which offers pre-filtered Internet connections that are deemed safe for members of the Dutch Reformed church, whatever that means (maybe they shut off on Sunday...)
      • by longk (2637033)
        How does this matter to me as a consumer? Whether it's the telco charging extra for Whatsapp or the MPAA/RIAA blocking TPB through a court order. In both cases a money hungry entity took something that worked perfectly fine and crippled it for me. Telco's strategize, lobby both with government and standards bodies and have sizable legal departments. It's just a matter of time before they manage to stack the cards in their favor and find a way to legally cripple Whatsapp [if that's what they want to do.]
        • by gl4ss (559668)

          of course it matters. if you can't see the difference in being blocked to visit tpb. vs. being billed per torrent downloaded..

        • by s73v3r (963317)

          Well, with one, the Telco can control exactly what you can and cannot do online. With the other, they still have to convince a judge that the one site needs to be blocked. The second one has a level of judicial review and due process. The first one does not.

  • How can they be net neutral yet block pirate bay? Either it's all just internet traffic or it's something to stick your dirty fingers in in order to increase profit for you and your cronies.

    They are as conflicted and subject to legal trolling as any other country.

  • I had no idea Netherland was part of the Axis of Evil.
  • I'm very happy this law passed over here. What does annoy me some is that the major telcos are now having large marketing campaigns about how they decided to no longer charge for these plans out of the goodness of their hearts. But I guess that's inevitable.
  • ...ahead of its corporations' greed. What a novel concept! We should try that here in North America!

    It's so much fairer and more sensible when the dog wags the tail instead of vice versa

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