Keep the Internet weird

14 Jul 2017

Across the pond in America, there's a huge battle going on over something called net neutrality. It's between the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and the internet service providers - ISPs - (AT&T, Comcast, Verizon etc), versus a whole load of internet based firms such as Netflix, Amazon, Reddit etc, and a whole load of activists too. 


The FCC wants to repeal Title II of the Communications Act, which provides the legal foundation in the US for net neutrality. 


See the video below for information on the importance of net neutrality:

 Over here in the UK, net neutrality is part of the provisions of the EU's regulation on Open Internet Access, which came into effect in October 2015. As we leave the EU, this will be part of the Great Repeal Bill that, if passed, will convert much of EU law into British law. However the government has also expressed that it might need to alter these laws once the Bill is passed. To do this, they can plausibly use "Henry VIII clauses" which gives the government the power to change old laws that have been passed by Parliament. The Labour Party have said that this will avoid proper Parliamentary scrutiny. 


The government has not been clear on which laws they might seek to amend, however if the FCC in the US manages to repeal regulations on net neutrality, it is not inconceivable that the government over here might try and at least water down the regulations, especially if they are keen on sealing a trade deal with the US. It's certainly one issue (of many) to keep a close eye on.


I am therefore calling on the government to explicitly rule out making any amendments to this regulation. 


I am also calling on the Labour Party to explicitly rule out the same if they get into power in the near future. I would very strongly urge every party to include this in their manifesto for the next election, whenever it may be.



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