Menu
EU net neutrality proposal threatens privacy, says data protection supervisor

EU net neutrality proposal threatens privacy, says data protection supervisor

The proposed law leaves the door open for traffic management, Peter Hustinx says

The proposed European Union-wide net neutrality law would not protect citizens' rights to privacy, the European data protection supervisor said Friday.

The proposal from the European Commission in September leaves the door open for certain types of Internet traffic management to scan and discriminate between various

types of content, Peter Hustinx, the European data protection supervisor (EDPS), said in a published opinion.

The Commission's proposal aims to allow providers to offer electronic-communication services across the E.U. based on a single authorization rather than the current 28 different national provisions. It is also supposed to further harmonize the conditions of radio spectrum assignment for Wi-Fi services and safeguard net neutrality.

However, net neutrality as defined by the EDPS has as its basis "the impartiality of Internet service providers towards the different types of information accessed and transmitted by end-users, and thus the absence of discrimination in the quality of Internet access services based on the content, source or destination of such information."

Article 23 of the proposal allows Internet traffic management measures for "implementing a legislative provision" and "preventing and impeding serious crimes." Traffic management allows service providers to block or filter the flow of information, so Hustinx is concerned that would significantly limit net neutrality and interfere with end-users' rights to privacy and the protection of personal data.

In particular, Hustinx warned that techniques such as deep packet inspection presuppose "a detailed analysis of the content of information transmitted over the Internet, which may thus reveal substantial and detailed information about users." He has called for an alteration of the proposal's text to provide clear information on which inspection techniques are allowed and that national data protection authorities have a greater role to ensure privacy and data protection rights of users.

The grounds of implementing a legislative provision should be scrapped from the proposal, while preventing serious crime is already covered for the purposes of implementing a court order, he wrote.

"Any monitoring and restriction of the internet activity of users should be done solely to achieve a targeted, specific and legitimate aim," Hustinx said.

However, Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes has said that the proposed law provides guarantees for a more open Internet in the E.U. since the text explicitly bans traffic throttling.

Currently, 26 of the E.U.'s 28 member states lack net neutrality rules.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securitylegislationgovernmentprivacy

Featured

Slideshows

A snapshot of the Kiwi partners set to shine at the Reseller News Awards

A snapshot of the Kiwi partners set to shine at the Reseller News Awards

With the 2017 Reseller News ICT Industry Awards only weeks away, Reseller News profiles the power line-up of partners set to dominate the biggest night on the channel calendar. ​Ranging from the enterprise, down through the mid-market and small business sectors into the heart of the start-up scene, the end result is the most diverse and wide-ranging partner line-up in the history of the Awards, playing host to the leading innovators of the past 12 months.​

A snapshot of the Kiwi partners set to shine at the Reseller News Awards
Channel celebrates as HP marks 50 years in NZ

Channel celebrates as HP marks 50 years in NZ

HP marked 50 years in New Zealand at an event in the vendor's Auckland's headquarters last night, with a host of key channel figures coming along to celebrate. Photos by HP.

Channel celebrates as HP marks 50 years in NZ
Show Comments