'Save the open internet in Europe' pleads web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee
In an open letter, the inventor of the web warns that loopholes in EU regulations could spell the end for net neutrality.
FRANCIS DEAN, Corbis via Getty Images
by @lukewestaway /
Inventor of the world wide web Sir Tim Berners-Lee has made an impassioned bid in favour ofnet neutrality in Europe, calling on European citizens to stop legislation that could see the creation of so called internet "fast lanes".
In an open letter published by the World Wide Web Foundation , Berners-Lee, along with law academics Professor Barbara van Schewick and Professor Larry Lessig, warn that "potential loopholes" in EU guidelines -- which are being written following a European Parliament vote on net neutrality in October -- could threaten the open nature of the internet. With public consultation on those guidelines due to end on 18 July, the open letter urges EU citizens to have their say on regulators' next steps.
Net neutrality proponents argue that all web traffic should be treated equally, and that providers should be stopped from prioritising data based on, for instance, the popularity of a given service, or whether a company has paid to have its traffic moved into the fast lane. Internet service providers meanwhile argue that more flexibility in rules could help them manage online traffic, and encourage investment in network infrastructure.
"The internet has become the critical infrastructure of our time -- for our daily life, for our economy, for our democracy," the open letter reads. "Strong guidelines will protect the future of competition, innovation and creative expression in Europe, enhancing Europe's ability to lead in the digital economy.
"They will ensure that every European, no matter the colour of their skin or the size of their wallets, has an equal chance to innovate, compete, speak, organise and connect online."
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