back to article Nothing says 'Taliban' quite like net neutrality, eh, EU Digi Commish?

Gaffe-prone Gunther is at it again. This time the EU Digi-Commissioner Gunther H-dot Oettinger has described the enforcement of "uniform" net neutrality as "Taliban-like". Unsurprisingly digital rights activists have not been pleased at being compared with a fundamentalist organisation judged by the UN to be responsible for …

  1. Anonymous Coward

    In America, Al Gore invented the internet

    In Europe, the internet invented a Joe Biden :)

  2. hplasm



    Idoitti? What is he on?

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Oetti?


  3. james 68


    "Here we’ve got, particularly in Germany, Taliban-like developments. We have the Internet community, the Pirates on the move, it’s all about enforcing perfect uniformity,”

    So according to him the internet community and pirates are one in the same? what an arsehole.

    As a fan of broad reaching comparisons I am sure he will not mind if I state: Here we have the politicians, cock gobbling child abusing con artists talking shite again, it's all about making money from their corporate cronies.

    Because it is obvious that since some politicos have been caught doing those things, that all politicians are therefor tarred with the same brush.

  4. Malik01

    Who, apart from the tax payers, is funding him? Could some real journalist draw light on the matter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Given many of his statements the one thing we can be sure of it isn't Google.

      That suggests it's ALL of Google's competitors.

      1. Jedit Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        "Given many of his statements the one thing we can be sure of it isn't Google"

        I don't know - Google said "Don't be evil", but they never mentioned anything about "Don't be a fucking idiot".

        And if Oettinger has been critical of Google, who's going to listen to him now?

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Paul Crawford Silver badge


    Not just him, but anyone who has a car the depends on internet access for safety deserves to be dismissed and the design scrapped. Have you tried getting even GPRS around a large number of rural roads in hilly areas?

    1. Mark 85

      Re: Ass-hat

      I think you've hit on where this clown is coming from. I've heard this from the US also so I'm thinking that these guys are now using "safety whilst driving" your automated car to come up with regulations. The question is, who's spewing this? And why are they believing it? Those behind IoT maybe doing the spewing?

      1. noominy.noom

        Re: Ass-hat

        @Mark 85

        I've never heard that argument in U.S. media. I've only recently heard it and only after recent events in Europe.

        Regardless of where the nonsense is being spewed, it is certainly nonsense.

        1. james 68

          Re: Ass-hat

          The car safety thing was originally spewed out by the boss of Nokia at the mobile world congress in Barcelona several days ago. As daft as US politicians are (often surpassing the European ones) it cannot be blamed on them, though I do not doubt that they will start using it as an excuse soon enough.

          1. dan1980

            Re: Ass-hat

            Actually, this is part of the problem - people like this numpty just regurgitate crap they've heard without understanding it. Or, worse, they do understand it (not this guy though) and deliberately mislead people.

            Get a sound bite - something extreme is good - and run with it. Repeat it every chance you can. If questioned, double-down.

            There are hordes of politicians and 'public servants' who are opposed to something either ideologically or at the behest of their corporate donors (or both) but who don't have the subject knowledge to argue against it intelligently. Cue statements like these - often they are ridiculous but designed to sound extreme and paint whatever they are opposed to as nefarious and dangerous but sometimes they are well-crafted half-truths that are easy to spurt out and 'sound right' but take disproportionately long to dispel.

            This kind of thing is a favourite of creationist apologists, where they are talking to lay-people to whom incorrect statements seem reasonable because they don't have the specialist knowledge to know any better.

            Understanding 'net neutrality' and what it really means requires a technical understanding of the way the Internet works that most people just don't have and can't be taught anywhere near as quickly and as easily as misinformation can be spewed by opponents in evocative 1 minute sound bites.

  7. codejunky Silver badge

    Hang on

    Did he say Taliban or a telly ban because youtube may stutter? Because for some people that could be life or death!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sack this man


    That is all.

    1. TitterYeNot

      Re: Sack this man

      Unfortunately, if you sacked the him, he wouldn't learn how to stop being a gobshite.

      I suggest an instructional experience with the Taliban. Like being dropped from a helicopter into Taliban territory in Helmand Province, wearing a T-shirt with a picture of the prophet Muhammad on the front and trousers made out of bacon.

      Then he might be able to find something slightly more appropriate to compare net neutrality to...

      1. FrankAlphaXII

        Re: Sack this man

        Agreed. Except that Helmand's far too nice of a place for him.

        Send his ass to the Korangal Valley in Kunar. It looks like less of a hell-scape, but looks can be very deceiving. Its actually much worse, at least in regard to psycho locals.

        1. dan1980

          Re: Sack this man

          Not really on-topic but the 'trousers made of bacon' reminded me of this:

  9. Sir Sham Cad

    What if

    The YouTube videos are educational videos on how to cross a road safely and, because of the buffering, the pedestrian thinks "well the Internet hasn't told me I *shouldn't* step out in front of this bus..." and is killed all because traffic jam updates were given network priority?

    See, Herr Oettinger, I can make up completely hyperbolic bullshit to support my opinion too.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My understanding is that we currently do not have true net neutrality. Every ISP I've looked at has some form of traffic shaping. (Even if you find a consumer ISP without traffic shaping, it will have an edge to another upstream ISP that does.) If I want a 'road safety web service' that needs priority traffic, then its the architects job to make sure there's a VPN tunnel between endpoints that isn't traffic shaped. This is available today. Although god help me if they decide to run driverless cars on Google Maps API, or put the controller of my boiler into the cloud... (too late).

    What would make more sense is a CDN that major ISPs subscribe to that lets you host localized endpoints using some form of international standard for DNS. This will at least level the playing field for international hosting. At the moment, CDNs are proprietary and hosting is generally tied to specific ISPs.

    1. Mr Anonymous

      Anne-Lise Pasch

      NN is not about traffic management per se, it as about traffic management for economic benefit, you aren't the only person to not understand that, the new EU digi commish doesn't understand it either.

      NN is not about limiting bandwidth to spewtube because the ISP doesn't have the upstream bandwidth they have "sold" to their customers, (which is bad, but another story, change your supplier) it's about when they limit the badwidth because vimyo pay them to prioritise streaming to their site.

      In the UK, Sky, the TV company run a major ISP. Without NN, they might de-prioritise traffic to Netflix. Why, because they want the service to appear poor, even though it isn't and moneytise their ISP clients getting them to trial NowTV, an OTT video outfit owned by Sky. NowTV would then appear to offer a better service to the user than Netflix, because the service to Netflix has been artificilly degraded by the ISP's traffic management system.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        My understanding on Net Neutrality was that all data packets are created equal. But I swear my data packets are not.

      2. Mark 85

        What is or isn't NN is currently being shaped and pushed on those who legislate and regulate by the money people. The lobbyists and their corporate bosses have shaped the discussions and the mouthings of idiots like the FCC and Oettinger. Since they are in charge, it's presumed by the great unwashed and those who write the laws that they know what they're talking about. Ah.. politics.... you don't need smarts, just someone who will tell you what to say and when to say it.

  11. Chairo
    Thumb Down

    He was just uttering lobby talk in public

    The car industry is now working seriously on automatic driving and other bandwidth heavy in-car applications like on-line vehicle data tracking, content streaming, you name it...

    They need some serious mobile traffic for that. Unfortunately the internet is not really well suited for real time data exchange, but prioritizing traffic might help in this case. So they are lobbying heavily to get their way. Looks like he grabbed up some lobby phrases and slung them around in public.

    Not a smart move, but he was sent to the EU commission for a reason - that was probably not "being a good politician".

    1. Brent Beach

      Re: He was just uttering lobby talk in public

      Why would vehicle tracking need higher priority service? A location every few minutes should be fine.

      No one could base an automated vehicle on the need for high priority internet service in real time. There are blind spots in cell coverage - would the vehicle just stop?

      In fact, the makers of these systems want NN because it would prevent the ISPs from charging them more for assured service.

      To me, the only people against NN are ISPs since it prevents them from blackmailing their customers.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Mr. H dot

    Dear Mr. H. Dot,

    I would like to apply for a role as your technical adviser. Whilst I think that you have made some bold, challenging IT statements that are making your audience sit up and think, I feel perhaps that maybe what they are thinking isn't quite what you are thinking.

    As your new technical adviser, I would be able to prepare you with easily digested technical briefings on all the hot topics of the day in the IT world. In fact 'digested' is that perfect phrase: each would be just five pages long - perfectly designed for studying a page per course during your daily lunch. Strong black typefaces will ensure that no critical information is lost should a drop or two of red leave the glass and encroach on the page.

    Examples of my published work can be found in "The Ladybird Guide to the Internet" and "Net Neutrality for Fishermen".

    I'm sure you'll find my proposed fee quite modest, and to ensure that I was always available at your earliest convenience I would be happy to stay at the same 5 star hotels as you do and fly first class as well for no extra disruption allowance.

    Yours expectantly,

  13. Anonymous Coward


    It's incredible how really bad are 99,99% of european politicians...

    " He frequently gives public statements on issues that are not under his brief, recently calling Greece “a bull in a china shop” in its financial negotiations with Brussels."

    I'm sure he came with this after the only thing at which he is really good: chit chat at the hairdresser...

    "I think downloading YouTube can wait a few seconds."

    Translation: "We need a two-tier internet because I need a better speed to watch that lovely videos on RedTube much faster"

    1. dan1980

      Re: WOW


      It's incredible how really bad are 99.99% of European politicians . . .

      Fixed, etc . . .

  14. Mr Anonymous

    Not unexpected

    Given that a modicum sense and some desicions on the side of constituents were made by the previous holder of this EU post that a candidate with "better aligned views" would be installed as the next post holder.

  15. Schultz

    My favourite moment... when the CEO of Telekom talks about the speed of light being too slow to transmit traffic data to a server (for self-driving cars, I assume). I quote "The speed of light is not enough".

    I of course totally agree and I think they should get somebody working on the issue. Going beyond c would really open new markets! Else they have to limit German cars to sub-relativistic speeds, but that would never fly with the voters.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gunther Oettinger...

    ... sounds like a total Deutsche Bag

  17. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    This needs to be investigated closer

    Perhaps he should be sent on an urgent fact-finding mission to Kandahar.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The socialist net

    As I understand it, Network Neutrality prevent service providers having different levels of service (with the exception of bandwidth). So traffic which very sensitive to latency and jitter, e.g. telephone/video calls, has to be treated identically to traffic which is much more robust, e.g. file transfers.

    So it is a bit rigid in the way that service providers can offer services.

  19. T. F. M. Reader

    A clear need for a crash course in QoS

    Someone needs to explain to the Commish that of all things YouTube and games should not be "slowed down" as they are sensitive to latency and jitter. Uploading and downloading EU (or any government's) forms and documents, however, will not suffer noticeably if throttling is applied.

    As for emergency calls over a mesh of loosely connected "best effort" networks...

  20. Telecide

    speed management

    Gunther says that car management systems (or medical monitoring systems as given by a US GOP recently) should and presumably would be given priority over YouTube and other entertainment streaming services. Would they if YYouTube, Netflix, etc were prepared to pay more than the car management system operators? Surely a two-tier system would be introduced for profit, not as a public service.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funny that last week the Nokia CEO was claiming the exact same reasons for not wanting net neutrality. Makes you wonder if their cue cards are coming from the same group?

    Don't we have QoS for preferential traffic in the examples these mouth breathers are using...

  22. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    What a bunch of idiots

    What a bunch of idiots -- youtube or games interfering with traffic safety?

    a) Surely they don't think that anybody will be willing to use up their expensive cellular-based per-MB data allowance on feeding information to their car? I sure as hell wouldn't. I would assume if any of these systems are ever built, they would use the large amount of spectrum that have already been set aside for vague future car systems usage. Sonny can pull all the youtube he wants without affecting this. And I'd assume any outside connection this system would need, the highway administration would be competent enough to buy a business-class connection, which (every ISP I've seen) already gives it guaranteed throughput by giving it priority over the home-class connection.

    b) Wouldn't the bigger concern be, what system would be so incompetently designed that a delay of data would lead to some kind of crash? I would hope a system like this would be found to be flawed and never implemented to begin with.

    "Funny that last week the Nokia CEO was claiming the exact same reasons for not wanting net neutrality. Makes you wonder if their cue cards are coming from the same group?"

    Oh I'd say it's quite likely they are. Next they'll try claiming net neutrality helps terrorists (check -- he's already alluded to this by comparing net neutrality advocates to the Taliban); and try to come up with a "please think of the children" argument like claiming that netflix will clog things up enough to prevent them from getting an online education or some faff like that.

  23. Maty

    Politicians and the net ...

    ... go together like monkeys and nuclear physics.

    There are two issues here. Firstly, politicos - and today's specimen is a fairly typical exhibit - are mostly from a generation that thinks using email puts them on the cutting edge of the digital revolution. So people who can't tell a browser from an operating system are making legislation about the internet. Unsurprisingly, since they don't understand the Net, and have trouble controlling it, politicians fear it, and their legislation reflects this.

    Secondly, legislation is a slow, cumbersome business designed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when there was little urgency, and plenty of time for checks and balances to swing ponderously into place. Meanwhile the internet moves on and evolves. So we get laws made today that address issues relevant in 2005.

    So we get stories like this one. Politicians who do not understand the present proposing legislation about the future based on an irrelevant and misinterpreted model from the past.

  24. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Riiiight.. So this politician thinks we should entrust our lives to a certain IP packet arriving in time? And therefore it follows that we must segregate internet usage?

    I somehow don't think the real motivation for internet segregation has anything to do with real time life-and-death decisions. At least I hope it doesn't.

    My guess is that this politician simply has no idea what he is talking about.

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