06 May 2009

Malcolm Harbour Doesn't Get Net Neutrality

It seems that one of the main architects of the disgrace that is the Telecoms Package is the UK MEP Malcolm Harbour. Here's an indication that he doesn't know what he is talking about:

According to rumours in cyberpsace the proposed new rules will impose conditional access to internet, providers will be able to limit the number of site you're visiting and Skype could be blocked. Is Internet freedom really at risk?

That's pure fantasy. The Telecoms package has never been about anything to do with restrictions on the internet. I am astonished to see this remarkable text from Black-out Europe. There is absolutely nothing in this proposal that says anything about that.

The questioner is wrong to frame this in terms of blocking *sites*: it's about blocking *services*, particularly ones based on new protocols piggy-backing on TCP/IP. The Telecoms Package gives telecoms companies the possibility of blocking anything it doesn't like at this level - killing net neutrality - provided they tell people what they are doing.

So Mr Harbour is absolutely incorrect to say "The Telecoms package has never been about anything to do with restrictions on the internet." He obviously doesn't understand what Blackout Europe is saying, as the latter's own post on the topic points out.


Anonymous said...

Here's another fine statement from Malcolm Harbour (be sure to read the last parts of it):

What we can do at European level is to make a general requirement for consumers to have information about sites that are restricted, so you as a consumer are entitled to know if a provider is limiting access to certain sites and for what reasons. You might choose to have a service-limited package; nobody has ever suggested that we have a general rule that if you buy an electronic communications service package you will have access to everything. That's like saying that if you have a bookshop you are legally obliged to stock every book.


Glyn Moody said...

Thanks for that, er, gem.