I have just completed an article on the UK as a ‘bad example’ to the rest of Europe, and lo and behold another piece of regressive, repressive idiocy by the British government appears. It seems that the UK is trying to amend the proposed EU-wide Telecommunications package to destroy the principle of net neutrality. Their proposals will “remove the principle of users’ rights to access and distribute Internet content and services”, and replace it with “a ‘principle’ that users can be told not only the conditions for access, but also the conditions for the use of applications and services.”
In other words, they want to make the entire Internet work by End-User Licensing Agreements (EULAs) rather than the general principle of end-to-end connectivity. It is a kind of digital enclosure, an attempt to impose on the Internet the same kind of removal of common rights that the British ruling classes imposed on the land from the Seventeenth Century onwards. There is nothing about the Internet Age about this, indeed it is pre-industrial – it is pure justification of the same powerful economic interests that the British state has always represented. And, as the original report points out, this is particularly bitter because both the British (OFCOM-originated) amendments and their duplicate Czech mini-me amendments have a lot of their substantive justitifications cut’n’pasted wholesale from Wikipedia!
Like the thieves who stole our land, they are utterly shameless.
(I think I originally saw this in BoingBoing, and sorry for not linking it, but it keeps crashing my little computer right now…)