back to article Web giants, Sir Tim slam Europe's net neutrality rules on eve of vote

Netflix, Reddit, Tumblr, Kickstarter and other tech companies, as well as the creator of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, are urging European politicians not to vote in favor of net neutrality regulations on Tuesday. Both have sent letters highlighting a number of "loopholes" that have been introduced as the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People who want to be politicians should not politicians.

    We are limited in the choice we have of politicians we can vote for.

    We also are limited because even the politician of your political colour is probably not worth voting for.

    We need a system whereby politicians have proved themselves worthy in a field of expertise before they are able to run for election.

    No, I haven't worked out how to define that yet, but I'll think about it.

    We'd probably need to pay them more too. A price worth paying in my opinion. We don't need to pay Dido Harding salaries but we can have good value by paying more for qualified people whose sole interest isn't politics.

    1. Mark 85

      Re: People who want to be politicians should not politicians.

      That applies all over, particularly here in the States as well as the EU. My theory is that anyone who wants to run for office, should not be allowed to. Seems that for all almost all of them, their lust for power and ego-feeding far and away exceeds their brain power.

    2. Fraggle850

      Re: People who want to be politicians should not politicians.

      I'd vote for someone who actually promised to do the job they're paid to do: represent the people who voted for them, rather than playing party politics. Someone who fed accurate information to their voters rather than spin and bullshit. Someone who voted according to the will of their electorate rather than following some party line that has been modified by lobbyists.

      1. Ogi

        Re: People who want to be politicians should not politicians.

        If I remember my school classics correctly (It has been a long while, so apologies), the Ancient Greeks, when developing democracy, had two rules: One could not be a career politician, or a career orator (lawyer).

        In court both sides had to represent themselves, one could ask someone else to represent you, but it must not be in exchange for payment of any kind. Plus said orator could not represent multiple people at once or in quick succession.

        As for leaders, a citizen (rather than a slave) would be nominated for election. People would then vote from a list of nominees. This meant 3 core things:

        1) The nominee lived in the society and were well integrated, so were relatively down to earth

        2) You would have a pool of all people, including those who are not interested in seeking power for powers sake., to nominate from (unlinke now, where politicians are self selected for those who crave the power), and

        3) Said nominee would have a business or job unrelated to their stint in politics/government, plus a social standing, that relied on the society continuing to function as well as before, or better

        You would also go back to the society after your tenure, and if you did a lousy job it would be remembered by the rest, and would reflect on your social standing and family reputation. As such being chosen as leader was a privilege (if you do very well, it would increase your social standing in society), and a duty as a citizen to do a good job. It was seen as a necessary evil, rather than a career job for life kind of thing, as it is now.

        Of course, the system is not without its problems, and you can argue whether it would scale to today's complex, global interconnected political societies, but even back then, thousands of years ago, the developers of democracy saw the inherent danger of politicians and lawyers to the system. Food for thought :-)

    3. lambda_beta

      Re: People who want to be politicians should not politicians.

      The problem with politicians is that are clueless and useless; their only drive is to get re-elected. Paying them more for doing nothing is stupid because they wouldn’t do anything differently.

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    So loosely worded each of those provisions are basically a blank cheque to ISP's

    Yes making a profit being an ISP is tough.

    But that's all I want out of you.


    Give us a service that does what it says (no "Super Duper fast Broadband delivers 200mbs* " BS )

    and fix it when it goes wrong.

    And stop f**king spying on us like Stalk Stalk.

    *Averaged over a 5 sec period at 215am and where the other 49 subscriber you're contended with are all pensions who don't use the internet).

  3. Turtle

    Interesting Proposals

    "Fast lanes; Zero-rating; Class-based throttling; Network congestion"

    I'm impressed because the way that these are defined will actually let the ISPs do whatever they want, whenever they want, to whomever they want, for whatever reasons they want.

    So that's very efficient on the MEPs' part - they've been very thorough.

    This will insure that "net neutrality" will never exist except by the benevolence, largesse, and grace of the incumbent ISPs.


  4. Yes Me Silver badge

    Give users what they want, not what they think they want

    It's hard to tell without reading the actual text, but all four of these changes sound like what is needed to actually give users what they want: adequate performance differentiated by service class, rather than munging all traffic into one congested pipe. Specifically, WebRTC will have a much better chance of working in this regime than it does today.

    The way to prevent discrimination against encrypted traffic is to encrypt everything.

    (Er, Mr Vulture, why haven't you switched to HTTPS yet?)

  5. Steve Knox

    Class-based throttling: Currently the rules would allow ISPs to define certain classes or content and speed up or slow down traffic in those classes. Critics argue that not only would this almost guarantee the slower transfer of encrypted traffic (since it can't be read and hence classed),...

    Critics are idiots. The packet type and transport metadata (upon which any efficient class-based packet prioritization system is built) of "encrypted" data is ... not encrypted. It can't be, because it would prevent the packet from making it from source to destination.

    Deep packet inspection (wot would fail on encrypted packets) is undesirable as it requires scanning the whole payload every time.

    No, the real problem with class-based throttling is that 90% of internet traffic falls into one class: HTTP/HTTPS, because sloppy web designers are pushing everything from binary file downloads to streaming video to VPN services over a single protocol designed specifically for text transfer*.

    Putting, for example, file downloads back into FTP/FTPS/SFTP would not only allow them to be prioritized differently from HTTP/S more efficiently even when encrypted, but would allow for class-based optimizations within client and server as well. But that would require intelligent design.

    * Or, more accurately, a single protocol ostensibly designed for text transfer, but which is actually just a hack of a hack of telnet.

    1. P. Lee

      Hmm telnet...

      I was just wondering how awkward it might be to revert to old-style terminal sessions with some modern JS to flag when field focus changes and pass input from fields and output to divs. It was too slow in the 90's because we had to resend a page for every screen rewrite. I wonder if it would be possible now?

    2. Slx

      Does this mean we'll have working class, middle class and upper class Internet in Britain?

  6. Slx

    It just shows why we need to be paying a bit more attention to who we elect to the European Parliament.

    Accountable, directly elected commissioners would be a lot better too. They've allowed too much power to go to the commission without modifying it to make it democratic. I don't really think it's fit for purpose anymore.

    As an Irish resident, I'm really a lot more "Euro Critical" than I might have been a few years ago as various T&Cs were attached to our loans that basically compelled things like establishing a hugely expensive easy to privatise water utility and spending billions rolling out water meters. This obviously had absolutely everything to do with a property bubble and banking collapse. If there's one thing that definitely prevents banking crisis situations from developing, it's a high tech water meter!

    I'm not in favour of just abolishing the EU but it needs serious reform to make it function more like a democracy and less like a board of governors.

    That little dictat has really caused me to question just who exactly the European Commission is listening to. I suspect it's large utilities more than anything else. I'd assume someone wanted to buy a prepackaged state owned Irish utility and someone own wanted a huge water infrastructure project to rollout metering.

    I'd say the parliament will vote against it but the commission will be listening to the large Euro telcos and ignoring everyone else.

    Meanwhile they're negotiating TTIP in total secrecy, which is worrying and leaves me with almost no confidence in it at all.

    1. John Crisp

      Think you have got the common misconception that your MEPs hold the power. Quite simply they don't. Neither really does the Commission.

      Note where all the 'escape clauses' come from... the real power in Europe which is the Council of Ministers... i.e. your elected representatives....

      Living in Europe as I do I have no problems with 'Europe'. The issue I have is that it is controlled by governments each fighting for their own agenda (and their paymasters) in preference to Europe as a whole.

      Until national governments cede proper control to the European Parliament including finance et al (yes, a properly federated United States I guess) then the infighting does nothing but work against the better interests of the majority of people.

      Currently we have a half way house that just doesn't really work that well. It 'could' be so much better. But no government is going to give up their bit of power, unless THEY are the ones who can get themselves to be leaders of the whole of Europe. They spent too long climbing greasy poles to be able to see a wider vision and do what is right rather than what is in their own self interest.

      After all, if they are no longer seen as powerful, where would all the perks go ?

      Downvotes expected for being pro Europe :-)

  7. Filippo Silver badge

    As usual, there's a lot of confusion between something called "net neutrality" and QoS. We really don't want ISPs to take money from Amazon or Flickr to give them priority over small-scale ecommerce sites or personal photos sites. But we also really DO want ISPs to give priority to VoIP or online gaming over FTP and emails.

    Those two requirements are really rather clear and evident once you actually spend thirty seconds thinking about the problem. So, I figure there should be a way to craft a law that respects both of them.

    Now, personally, I don't know how to do that. Which is why I pay politicians to do it for me. So far, I'm not satisfied with the result.

  8. Alan Denman

    Simple capitalism at work

    Obviously here, by creating partnerships the networks get control of the likes of Netflix etc.

    You could even see deals between the likes of Microsoft and networks.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I find it amazing that we are even having the conversation about neutrality let alone having to pass (broken) laws that protect it. The great thing about the internet though is it routes around damage and I don't see this being any different in the long run. Before long enough data will be encrypted that DPI won't be viable for throttling. In fact this might be a good kick in the pants to move everything over to running on an encrypted connection. Someone above mentioned taking downloads off http and putting them back on ftp. One of the reasons we moved away from ftp was because ftp ports were being blocked, not an entirely different form of "damage".

  10. Slx

    Well, there you go the amendments have been voted down.

    Welcome to two-speed internet land, brought to you in association with .... and ....

  11. Tom 13

    Idiots one and all

    This is the sort of thing you get when you have one group of lobbyists arguing on behalf of one niche community arguing with the lobbyists of a different niche community with both claiming it's what The People want when the truth is The People themselves are divided about what they want.

    In such situations there is only one answer: choice with full disclosure of terms.

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