miércoles, 4 de junio de 2014

Beyond #NetNeutrality : The need for #DigitalNeutrality

Since April, a lot of fuss has been created around the net neutrality concept at both sides of the Atlantic. On one hand, the European Parliament included some amendments  in the European Commission´s regulation proposal for a Telecom Single Market in order to reinforce net neutrality. On the other hand, the FCC in the USA has been forced to re-open the debate in the USA after a decision of the Court of Columbia rejecting its previous rules on the issue.

According with wikipedia, net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication. This idea introduced in 2003 has been the cornerstone that has helped edge service providers to grow. Netflix, Amazon or Google would not be what they are today it they had had to foot the bill for the traffic generated or received by their services. Neither it would have been possible to have other services that are now part of our digital life, like facebook or twitter. To end up, net neutrality has contributed to promote freedom of expression through an unlimited  amount of user generated contents.

Personally, I think that net neutrality principle should be preserved. Nevertheless, I also think that it should be part of a more broader concept, you can call it "digital neutrality", a similar principle to net neutrality but for the service and application layer. For instance, the concept of "search neutrality" recently introduced by the Open Internet Project or the idea of "app neutrality" proposed by a Huffpost blogger.

The debate on net neutrality is debate from the past. In the terms that it is on the table, it is negative for innovation and freedom. Telecom operators are trying to gain a battle already lost and returning to a dominant position, but edge service providers are also trying to fight innovation maintaining a status quo that clearly favour their economic interest. 

The fierceness of the battle for  net neutrality between both sides can be followed in the press, representatives of both sides release press releases at the peak moments of the fighting. And the battle in the offices behind this press releases is even fiercer according with the scarce knowledge we have of lobbying activities. For instance, google and telco operators are among the top spenders in lobby activities in the U.S.. But we should not let them to hide us what should be the real debate, the debate for a "digital neutrality" that guarantee us freedom of choice as consumers and civil liberties as citizens in our digital life.


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palyginti kainas