The Netherlands Signs Net Neutrality Into Law

Posted May 9, 2012

Today The Netherlands has become the first country in Europe to protect their citizens by signing net neutrality into law. The Netherlands has also implemented privacy protections for users against wiretapping and disconnection by ISPs, which will no longer be able to regulate the traffic of users unless proven to be in the interest of the public.

According to Bits of Freedom, the new provisions were especially important for the privacy of citizens:

In addition, the law includes an anti-wiretapping provision, restricting internet providers from using invasive wiretapping technologies, such as deep packet inspection (DPI). They may only do so under limited circumstances, or with explicit consent of the user, which the user may withdraw at any time. The use of DPI gained much attention when KPN admitted that it analysed the traffic of its users to gather information on the use of certain apps. The law allows for wiretapping with a warrant.

Moreover, the law includes a provision ensuring that internet providers can only disconnect their users in a very limited set of circumstances. Internet access is very important for functioning in an information society, and providers currently could on the basis of their terms and conditions disconnect their users for numerous reasons. The provision allows for the disconnection in the case of fraud or when a user doesn?t pay his bills.