The European Parliament has just adopted a resolution (version subject to technical modifications) to which Amelia and the Pirate Party played a central contribution, that underlines the importance for the EU and its Member States to preserve a free and open internet as a condition for democracy and social inclusion.
This resolution was needed in the context of the reforms of the International Telecommunication Regulations that will be discussed and voted by the UN International Telecommunications Union (the ITU, where all the 27 EU countries take part) at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in early December in Dubaï.
Some of the reform proposals constitute a serious threat to the open and free internet as we know it today, by transferring the regulatory powers (i.e. deciding how someone can be connected online and communicate with others) from global multi-stakeholder organisations such as the Internet Society or ICANN to the intergovernmental-exclusive ITU. These proposals would also provide nation states with explicit sovereign rights over the management of the digital information that enters or exits their territories, and encourage monopolies based on rent and information discrimination between citizens. A proposed reform from ETNO, the European voice of the main telecom operators, wants to implement interconnection charges to ”enable” the good flow of information between their networks. These charges could lead to disastrous price increases for small telecom operators, the internet content providers and users, and dramatically harm competition and innovation on the internet. Only the big players would be able to pay these charges without affecting the quality of their service.
This resolution is without any doubt a political achievement.
Although the European Parliament resolution sends a significant signal to the outside world in the defence of a free and open internet by refusing these negative telecommunication reform proposals, it is also important that the EU citizens ask their Member States to do the same at the WCIT conference, since currently the EU itself is not a negotiating party at the ITU, but its individual Member States are.