Dutch ratify net neutrality law

Summary:The upper house of the Netherlands parliament adopted on Tuesday a new Telecommunications Act, making the country the first in Europe to put net neutrality into law. The lower house approved the act in June last year.

The upper house of the Netherlands parliament adopted on Tuesday a new Telecommunications Act, making the country the first in Europe to put net neutrality into law. The lower house approved the act in June last year.

According to Dutch news site www.volkscrant.nl [in Dutch], the law follows an intense national debate in 2011, after mobile operator KPN started to charge for access to WhatsApp, a free online service that sends text messages. The new law specifies that no carrier can impose charges or special conditions for any internet service, nor can they determine what sites their users can visit. However, court-ordered site blocking can still take place.

Among many provisions, the new law also specifies that sites which use cookies must explicitly ask for user permission before setting them, and provides safeguards against user disconnection or intrusive monitoring by ISPs.

Dutch privacy group Bits of Freedom said in a blog post "Bits of Freedom, the Dutch digital rights movement which campaigned for these provisions, applauds the new law. It considers this a historical moment for internet freedom in The Netherlands and calls on other countries to follow the Dutch example."

The only other country to enforce net neutrality is Chile, which passed a law in June 2010 that came into effect in May 2011.

Topics: Emerging Tech

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