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Category Archives: Net Neutrality

Since I started studying in 2004 the way I consume news has changed tremendously. In the begining I subsrcibed to a major daily newspaper and a monthly magazine slowly I added online sources. Especially Spiegel Online and Financial Times, others on a less regular basis. Newspages which wanted to charge me for reading were ignored and will be ignored in the future as well. Later blogs and over the course of the last two years facebook and just this year twitter became more and more important as news sources as well.

As it becomes apparent at the beginning of my studies my news sources were classical print media wheras nowadays I check at least three-four newspapers online, additionaly two tech blogs. On top of all this I subscribed to various blogs, check facebook and follow a variety of twitter users. I wouldn’t do so if all these would write the same stuff, would I. The major benefit of our digitalized world is easy access to a variety of opinions as the content stays the same across different sources. No agreement in Copenhagen will be still no agreement no matter if you watch Fox News, BBC or ARD. However, one calls it an utter failure others will call it a step into the right direction and  others again might even call it a breakthrough in history as finally everyone ackknowledged global warning as a threat. Accessing these information should be easy (and free).

Yes, it should be easy. Just connect any device you want to with the internet and you get the information you want. I wish this would be true. I started to use my mobilephone as RSS reader when we switched the internet provider in my Dutch studenthouse. As a result I can’t connect to the router with my cellphone anymore as the provider seems to block access from mobiledevices. Luckily I have a laptop but what happens if this is blocked as well because I use the wrong device? Impossible? No, it’s not. It’s already happening. My university only supports Windows user while users of a different OS aren’t helped and send away. Other cases include devices which are either banned or bound from/to certain networks and hence affect the accessibility of the internet. One might argue that it’s the economy stupid that creates demand and supply of certain connections and hence just a result of capitalism. But we live in Europe the region where we civilized capitalism to make it useful for the people and not people useful for capital! Net neutrality is not just something that effects my generation it effects everyone using the internet, it affects everyone who retrieves information from it. Hence net neutrality affects distribution and accessing information. It limits a fundamental freedom of our society, it limits freedom of speech!

If you haven’t done anything good this year or want to do more, support the idea of an Internet Bill of Rights intiated by Christian Engström (Swedish Member of the European Parliament) as well as Matthias Groote (German MEP) and other MEPs with their facebook cause for network neutrality in the EU.