Our Goals

Why is it important?

You Could Pay More for Less Internet Service

The EU Commission has proposed a Regulation that would allow Internet providers to charge extra money for every online service. They call it "specialised services", and it could lead to the creation of a two-tiered internet, where only companies with deep pockets can afford to be in the fast lane, leaving the rest of us in the dust.

Internet Providers Will Decide What You Can and Can't Do Online

Unless the Regulation is amended, Internet Providers will be able to block content without any judicial oversight. Internet Service Providers should not be the police of the internet. They should not be allowed to decide what content you can and cannot access.

Freedom of Speech Will Be Restricted and Innovation Stifled

Right now big companies like Microsoft and Facebook are on the same level as our Blogs or Podcasts. But if the definition of "specialised services" isn't fixed, these companies will be in the fast lane on the data highway, leaving start-ups and non-commercial websites like Wikipedia in the slow lane.

The internet's continued success is based on three foundational principles. First, the end-to-end principle, which ensures that all points in the network should be able to connect to all other points in the network. Second, the best effort principle which guarantees that all providers of the internet should make their best effort to deliver traffic from point to point as expeditiously as possible. Last but not least, the innovation without permission principle, which states that everyone should be able to innovate without permission from anyone or any entity. These principles can be collectively defined as network neutrality, which is fundamental to ensure growth and innovation in the ICT sector and safeguard the internet's core value for democracy and freedom of communication.

Net neutrality means that all traffic on the internet is treated on an equal basis, no matter its origin, recipient, sender, type of content or the means(e.g. equipment or protocols) used to transmit packets. Any deviation from this principle (for instance for congestion purposes) must be necessary, proportionate, temporary, targeted, transparent, and in accordance with relevant laws. Network neutrality is the guiding principle of the open internet. It is fundamental to ensure that the internet remains a platform for the enjoyment of human rights and innovation. Net neutrality means that all traffic on the internet is treated on an equal basis, no matter the origin, type of content or means.

The EU Commission has promised to safeguard the internet's foundational principle in a Regulation, but the proposed text fails to deliver net neutrality. Unless you take action to help the European Parliament fix the text, the internet will soon look more like cable TV, where your operator has total control over what you can access online, even charging you extra for certain services.

We need your help to tell representatives to protect the open and neutral internet - tell them to protect network neutrality!

What is going on in the EU?

Neelie Kroes, the Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, promised to safeguard network neutrality. However, in the past few years her position has changed significantly to the opposite direction. Her proposal for a Regulation for a Telecom Single Market confirms this. While we welcome the intention to enshrine net neutrality into law across the EU, the proposal fails to deliver the promise of net neutrality as it contains several problematic loopholes. However, the text itself is not far off the mark. With the right improvements, the European Union could have binding net neutrality legislation. The proposal is now in hands of the Parliament and will be reviewed by several committees, with the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) committee as the lead in charge of this dossier. The modifications introduced in some committees have regrettably worsened the problems in the Commission proposal. Furthermore, the legislation is on a very strict timeline, as the Parliament hopes to conclude negotiations before elections in May 2014, which has made the window for consultation very small.

Arguments

Specialised Services

Internet companies, quite reasonably, claim the right to provide specialised network services - such as high definition video - at guaranteed speeds for precise industrial applications. As long as these services are run separately from the internet and do not interfere with internet quality, this is clearly not a problem.

Currently, the proposed Regulation does not give a clear definition of specialised services. It would allow for the possibility of a "specialised service" to be interpreted as any kind of online service. This would lead to the creation of a two-tiered internet, where certain services would be prioritised while others would be pushed into the slow lane. As a consequence, this would restrict the freedom of communication and the possibilities and incentives for innovation. (Article 2.15)

Example: Many mobile operators already offer unmetered access to Facebook, with everything else being subject to a payment based on the volume of downloaded data. If the definition of a "specialised service" allows this kind of offer, it will restrict the possible market available to potential competitors, restricting choice and innovation in the long run.

What we need is a clarification to ensure that the "service" in question is not functionally identical to an online service and that it is run on a network that is entirely separate from the public internet. The Body of European Regulators (BEREC) definition states that such services have to be separate from the public best effort internet and shall only be provided within the European electronic communications provider's network.

The "freedom" of end-users

The text proposed by the European Commission would give users the "freedom" to choose discriminatory services. This "freedom" will ultimately be negative for internet users and negative for the broader online innovative environment (Article 23).

Example: It has been estimated that British consumers alone pay approximately 5 billion pounds a year too much, due to their "freedom" to choose between numerous confusing service options.

What we need is to replace "shall be free" with "have the right" and to ensure that the text does not allow discriminatory services to be offered by internet access providers.

"Prevent or impede serious crime"

To allow the use of "reasonable traffic management measure" to "prevent or impede serious crime" will enable internet companies to interfere with online communications, without a legal basis or a court order. This provision to law enforcement activities by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) outside the rule of law which is in clear violation of article 52 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU (Article 23.5).

Example: In the UK, for example, voluntary measures are already being carried out by ISPs to prevent individuals leading to lawless blocking of a range of legal online services. In 2012, this led to the accidental blocking of the website of the French civil rights group, La Quadrature du Net.

What we need is a deletion of the dangerous exception for arbitrary interferences in communications traffic flows of reasonable traffic management.

To find out more, read our analysis and amendments on how to improve the proposed Regulation:

To follow the Dossier on the european level you may consider these links:

Famous Critics

The proposed Regulation has been criticized by many different institutions and individuals. Already before the draft was publicly announced, one part of the European Commission criticized another because they considered the proposal as a threat for net neutrality and fundamental rights.

A second vocal critic is the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communication (BEREC). This independent expert group of national regulators helped the factual discussion about net neutrality a lot and came up with many useful definitions (e.g. for specialised services). Furthermore, BEREC provided statistical data which showed that half of Europe's population is already affected by net neutrality violations in the mobile sector. Also, the European Data Protection Supervisor warns about loopholes in the net neutrality provisions and highlights the danger for data privacy in the new legal situation.

Some more things you want to know about net neutrality:

Take action now!

The European Parliament will decide over your rights and freedoms! On 3rd April,
the Plenary of the European Parliament is scheduled to vote.

Spread the word!

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How to Contact Your MEP

Act now to tell your representatives to protect our rights and freedoms. The best way to do this is by calling a Member of the European Parliament (MEP). But you can also send them a Fax, a letter or an E-Mail - we provide you with all the information, and calling them is free of charge.

General advice

Stay polite and be yourself. Whatever happens, don't forget the basic rules of courtesy and common sense. Whether you agree or disagree with the individual answering to you, and whatever the views of other members of her/his political group, don't give a negative image of people who are advocating with the same purpose as you.

Most of the time, you will talk with a Parliamentary assistant, and not directly with a MEP. It's not a problem: engage in the conversation. Assistants play an important role in the development of the MEPs' positions.

If a question to which you don't have the answer comes up, don't panic. You are not expected to be an expert, only a concerned citizen. Tell the MEP you will research the answer and contact him/her back with more information, and come and ask us.

If you're still not comfortable with the arguments, don't give up. Ask what is the MEP's position on the subject, and ask what their arguments are.

During a phone call don't hesitate to offer to call back with more information, to meet the MEP, to send documents, references, etc. Sometimes, Parliamentary assistants will ask you to send an e-mail. Don't hesitate to call back later to check if they've read it and what they thought of it.

Phone Call

The best way to carry your message to a MEP is to develop your argument verbally. In this way, you can adapt your speech to her/his answers, and express your great concern about the subject on which you are calling. MEPs do not receive many calls from citizens, thus they are particularly sensitive to them.

Generally, conversations look like that:

Hello, I'm [YourName], I'm an European citizen calling from [YourCountry], and I would like to talk to Mrs/Mr MEP, please.

Mrs/Mr MEP is not available, I am her/his assistant. Can I help you?

There will be a vote on net neutrality on April 3rd in the Plenary, as far as I understand, and I want to know what Mrs/Mr MEP is going to vote.

I see. We had calls before. I have no time.

But it is very important! Specialised services in the current definition endanger the neutral and open internet and hinder innovation. Specialised services have to be seperated from the internet like the Body of European Regulators has already suggested.

Don't worry. The text is not as bad as you've heard, everything will be fine.

There are many critics that warn if this regulation is passed unammended we will lose the positives effect the internet has on our democracy and economy. We have to prevent Internet Providers from introducing a second class internet for everyone that can't afford the fast lane. Mrs/Mr MEP should vote against destroying the open and neutral internet.

Ok, I'll speak with Mrs/Mr MEP about it.

Thank you very much for listening to me. If you wish, I can send you reference documents. I'll call you again shortly to know what he/she thought. Have a good day.

And now... Call the next MEP ;)

Mail

If you are not comfortable calling, you can also contact your MEP by email. Their addresses are available in the mail widget above or on Memopol.

Some people sometimes propose to send generic form emails to all MEPs (and even to those who do not vote on the related subject). We believe that such emails are counterproductive. MEPs and their assistants know how to use a spam filter as well as you, and those emails end up in spam folder quickly. Generic form emails give the impression that you do not want to take the time to get interested in the matter, and do not reflect the number of people involved in it (a single person can send several messages). Worse, such emails increase the risk that the MEPs do not read the personalized emails on the same dossier, and finally hurting your cause.

The best solution is to send personalized emails based on your own approach and your knowledge of the matter (Remember: you are not expected to be an expert, only a concerned citizen) and, if possible, according to the positions of the MEP's political group.

Contact Us

You can reach us under info@savetheinternet.eu

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One thing we always need is help with translations, if you speak a language that we haven't covered here so far, please get in contact with us.

Press Inquiries

Our media team is happy to answer all press inquiries. Just send us an e-mail under press@savetheinternet.eu.

Local experts from several european countries are avaible for interviews.
Picture material can be found here (zip archive).

Media Coverage

Medium Date Title Language
Le Soir (print) 21/03/2014 Roaming contre internet neutre : le grand marchandage French
arstechnica.com 18/03/2014 EU net neutrality vote would let ISPs charge for Internet “fast lane” English
Vize Magazin Motherboard 18/03/2014 EU-Ausschuss macht den Weg für Zwei-Klassen-Internet frei German
Zeit Online 18/03/2014 EU-Ausschuss akzeptiert Zwei-Klassen-Internet German
internauts 18/03/2014 Europeos, "salvemos nuestra libertad en internet" Spanish
hojaderouter 18/03/2014 Save the internet’: contra el reglamento que amenaza la neutralidad de la Red Spanish
dw.de 18/03/2014 EU net neutrality vote addresses fate of Internet English
Futurzone.at 18/03/2014 Europa auf dem Weg zum Zwei-Klassen-Internet German
Radio Dreyeckland 18/03/2014 Die Abschaffung der Netzneutralität ist auf dem Weg German
derStandard.at 18/03/2014 EU: Aus für Roaming-Gebühren und Netzneutralität German
NDR 24/02/2014 Netzneutralität: Worüber wird gestritten? German
attac.tv 21/02/2014 La neutralidad de Internet en peligro - Estelle Massé German
Tagesspiegel 18/02/2014 Netzneutralität: Wirtschaftsministerium will Nutzerinteressen wahren (wochenwebschau-Video) German
ZiB1 ORF 14/02/2014 Netzneutralität German
Ö1 Digital.Leben 05/02/2014 Datenregulierung in der EU German
technology review (print) 02/2014 Zutritt nur für VIP Kunden? German
Radio Dreyeckland 24/01/2014 Focus Europa Spezial #38: Eine Debatte Über unsere digitale Zukunft und die Netzneutralität in Europa German
Huffington Post 22/01/2014 Web 3.0: So könnte das Internet ohne Netzneutralität aussehen German
derStandard 21/01/2014 Google und Facebook dominieren in Entwicklungsländern den Internetzugang German
FM4 ORF 21/01/2014 Internet-Freiheit in Gefahr German
Berliner Zeitung 21/01/2014 Deutschland droht Zwei-Klassen-Internet German
Frankfurter Rundschau 21/01/2014 Zwei-Klassen-Internet droht German
Unwatched.org 20/01/2014 Jetzt handeln! - SaveTheInternet.eu: Kampagne zum Schutz der Netzneutralität German
Linuxfr.org 19/01/2014 Internet La fin de la neutralité du net ? Français
Radio Corax 17/01/2014 Die EU will die Netzneutralität faktisch Abschaffen - Bedeutung und Auswirkungen auf das heutige Internet German
tevac 17/01/2014 La rete è in pericolo e TU puoi salvarla Italian
Huffington Post 16/01/2014 Netzneutralität - "Ruf deinen Abgeordneten an": So kämpft das Netz für ein gerechtes Internet German
Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten 16/01/2014 Kommerz und Zensur: EU und USA wollen das Internet verkaufen German
La Tribune 16/01/2014 Dans la bataille Internet contre télécoms, les opérateurs gagnent une manche Français
Kurier (print) 16/01/2014 Kampf um das offene Internet German
Dziennik Internautów 15/01/2014 Neutralnosc internetu przegrywa w USA, a w UE walka trwa. Dolaczysz sie? Polish
Punto Informatico 15/01/2014 USA, scacco matto alla neutralità? Italian
Huffington Post 15/01/2014 Web 3.0: What The Internet Could Look Like Without Net Neutrality English
Futurezone.at 15/01/2014 Kampf um das offene Internet in der EU und den USA German
t3n 15/01/2014 EU entscheidet über Netzneutralität - Fordere deinen Abgeordneten auf, das Internet zu retten! German
Netzpolitik.org 14/01/2014 SaveTheInternet.eu - Kampagne zur Netzneutralität German
La Quadrature du Net 14/01/2014 SaveTheInternet.eu : Agissons pour la neutralité du Net ! French
PC INpact 14/01/2014 SaveTheInternet.eu : la neutralité du net et la « priorisation » en question French
PC World 14/01/2014 European civil rights groups join forces to defend net neutrality English
Heise 14/01/2014 EU-Kommissarin Kroes verteidigt Pläne zur Netzneutralität und Abschaffung der Roaminggebühren German
Reuters 14/01/2014 Schneller gegen Aufpreis: US-Gericht kippt Netzneutralität German
derStandard.at 14/01/2014 SaveTheInternet: Bürgerrechtler fordern Netzneutralität per Gesetz German
Logbuch Netzpolitik 10/01/2014 LNP089 Botschaft bedeutet Botschaft German
N24 09/01/2014 Netzpolitik: Ausblick auf 2014 German
panoptykon.org 09/01/2014 Powiedz: NIE dla Internetu dwóch prędkości! Polish
ZDF 09/01/2014 Letzte Rettung für die Netzneutralität? German
TAZ 08/01/2014 Internetaktivist über Netzneutralität: "Uns bleibt nur noch sehr wenig Zeit" German
Reddit 08/01/2014 savetheinternet.eu on reddit.com English
Gulli.com 28/12/2013 30C3: Der Kampf um die Netzneutralität German
30c3 Talk 27/12/2013 30C3: Der Kampf um Netzneutralität - Wer kontrolliert das Netz? German

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