Europe's telecoms firms thwarted by stricter net neutrality rules May 29, 2015

Reuters - Draft European Union proposals limiting how telecom operators manage the traffic on their networks will not make welcome reading for firms in the industry as they look to prioritise and earn potentially vast income from some types of data.

The draft text on so-called "net neutrality" put forward by Latvia, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, and seen by Reuters, would force telecom companies such as Orange and Telefonica to treat all data equally, something they say is technically impossible.

It is due to be discussed by EU ambassadors on Friday, ahead of the third and possibly final round of negotiations next week between EU member states and the European Parliament to find an agreement on net neutrality and ending mobile roaming charges across the 28-member bloc.

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Report: EU member states seek to dump net neutrality completely May 21, 2015

Ars Technica - Glyn Moody - The French digital rights organisation La Quadrature du Net claims to have obtained a leaked copy of a "non-paper" on the hotly-contested matter of net neutrality, apparently written by the presidency of the Council of the EU, currently held by Latvia. As well as completely gutting protection for net neutrality in the EU, the "non-paper" also postpones and waters down earlier proposals to abolish mobile roaming charges.

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Report: EU member states seek to dump net neutrality completely May 21, 2015

Ars Technica - Glyn Moody - The French digital rights organisation La Quadrature du Net claims to have obtained a leaked copy of a "non-paper" on the hotly-contested matter of net neutrality, apparently written by the presidency of the Council of the EU, currently held by Latvia. As well as completely gutting protection for net neutrality in the EU, the "non-paper" also postpones and waters down earlier proposals to abolish mobile roaming charges.

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After victory for net neutrality in the US, the battle moves to Europe Apr 15, 2015

Ars Technica - Following what is widely regarded as a victory for strong net neutrality in the US, the battle to maintain a level playing-field online has now moved to the European Union, with the relaunch today of the campaign site "Save the Internet: Defend Net Neutrality in Europe." Its aim is to head off an attempt by a majority of the 28 EU Member States in the Council of the European Union to derail earlier proposals to enshrine net neutrality in European law, as Ars reported last month.

The EU's net neutrality bill began as a 2013 proposal from the European Commission. It contained a number of major loopholes. In particular, it would have allowed "specialized services" that had privileged access to the Internet—and thus broke net neutrality. The proposal also explicitly allowed the discriminatory blocking of websites, applications, and content, a clear threat to freedom of expression in Europe.

Those loopholes and discriminatory measures were removed when the 751 MEPs in the European Parliament voted in favor of a modified version of the text in April 2014. Last month, the third EU institution, the Council of the European Union, made up of representatives of the Member State governments, revised the text again, reinstating many of the original problems.

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After victory for net neutrality in the US, the battle moves to Europe Apr 15, 2015

Ars Technica - Following what is widely regarded as a victory for strong net neutrality in the US, the battle to maintain a level playing-field online has now moved to the European Union, with the relaunch today of the campaign site "Save the Internet: Defend Net Neutrality in Europe." Its aim is to head off an attempt by a majority of the 28 EU Member States in the Council of the European Union to derail earlier proposals to enshrine net neutrality in European law, as Ars reported last month.

The EU's net neutrality bill began as a 2013 proposal from the European Commission. It contained a number of major loopholes. In particular, it would have allowed "specialized services" that had privileged access to the Internet—and thus broke net neutrality. The proposal also explicitly allowed the discriminatory blocking of websites, applications, and content, a clear threat to freedom of expression in Europe.

Those loopholes and discriminatory measures were removed when the 751 MEPs in the European Parliament voted in favor of a modified version of the text in April 2014. Last month, the third EU institution, the Council of the European Union, made up of representatives of the Member State governments, revised the text again, reinstating many of the original problems.

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HP, EC launch public sector cloud pilots in several European cities Mar 27, 2015

Business Cloud News - HP announced it is working with the European Commission on several pilot cloud implementations in a bid to test how internal and citizen-facing public sector services cloud be moved off legacy platforms into more elastic cloud environments. The move is part of the Commission’s broader efforts to catalyse the use of cloud services in the public sector.

HP is working with the EC on the organisation’s ironically-named STORM (Surfing Towards the Opportunity of Real Migration) cloud project, which envisions the establishment of a public services cloud that allows services and data to be securely shared between the public and private sector partners.

The project currently includes three HP-led trials in Valladolid, Spain; Águeda, Portugal; and Thessaloniki, Greece. As part of the initiative HP is defining, designing and implementing an OpenStack-based infrastructure-as-a-service platform.

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HP, EC launch public sector cloud pilots in several European cities Mar 27, 2015

Business Cloud News - HP announced it is working with the European Commission on several pilot cloud implementations in a bid to test how internal and citizen-facing public sector services cloud be moved off legacy platforms into more elastic cloud environments. The move is part of the Commission’s broader efforts to catalyse the use of cloud services in the public sector.

HP is working with the EC on the organisation’s ironically-named STORM (Surfing Towards the Opportunity of Real Migration) cloud project, which envisions the establishment of a public services cloud that allows services and data to be securely shared between the public and private sector partners.

The project currently includes three HP-led trials in Valladolid, Spain; Águeda, Portugal; and Thessaloniki, Greece. As part of the initiative HP is defining, designing and implementing an OpenStack-based infrastructure-as-a-service platform.

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Here are the first lawsuits to challenge the FCC’s net neutrality rules Mar 24, 2015

Washingto Post - An industry trade group and a small, Texas-based Internet provider are among the first to mount a legal challenge to the federal government's new net neutrality rules.

On Monday, USTelecom — a group that includes some of the nation's largest Internet providers — filed suit in Washington, while Alamo Broadband sued the Federal Communications Commission in New Orleans.

The court filings kick-start a legal effort to overturn the FCC's regulations, passed in February, that aim to keep Internet providers from speeding up, slowing down or blocking Web traffic.

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Here are the first lawsuits to challenge the FCC’s net neutrality rules Mar 24, 2015

Washingto Post - An industry trade group and a small, Texas-based Internet provider are among the first to mount a legal challenge to the federal government's new net neutrality rules.

On Monday, USTelecom — a group that includes some of the nation's largest Internet providers — filed suit in Washington, while Alamo Broadband sued the Federal Communications Commission in New Orleans.

The court filings kick-start a legal effort to overturn the FCC's regulations, passed in February, that aim to keep Internet providers from speeding up, slowing down or blocking Web traffic.

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Finland leads Europe in cloud service take-up Mar 17, 2015

Computer Weekly - It is a common perception that the adoption of cloud computing in Europe lags behind the US, but the tide now appears to be turning - and the Nordic countries are leading the way.

According to a December 2014 Eurostat study, Finland has the highest take-up of cloud services in Europe and other Nordic countries are close behind. The Eurostat survey – conducted with 150,000 companies in 28 countries – found 51% of Finnish companies uses cloud services, over double the EU average of 19%.

“We see Finland as one of the top countries in the adoption of cloud services,” said Leena Mäntysaari, research analyst at Gartner.

Nordic countries dominated the Eurostat survey. Sweden (39%) and Denmark (38%) take up the third and fourth highest percentages in cloud adoption respectively. The surprise entry is Italy, a country which hasn’t had an impressive track record in ICT surveys, squeezed between the Nordic countries with a cloud services adoption rate of 40%.

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Finland leads Europe in cloud service take-up Mar 17, 2015

Computer Weekly - It is a common perception that the adoption of cloud computing in Europe lags behind the US, but the tide now appears to be turning - and the Nordic countries are leading the way.

According to a December 2014 Eurostat study, Finland has the highest take-up of cloud services in Europe and other Nordic countries are close behind. The Eurostat survey – conducted with 150,000 companies in 28 countries – found 51% of Finnish companies uses cloud services, over double the EU average of 19%.

“We see Finland as one of the top countries in the adoption of cloud services,” said Leena Mäntysaari, research analyst at Gartner.

Nordic countries dominated the Eurostat survey. Sweden (39%) and Denmark (38%) take up the third and fourth highest percentages in cloud adoption respectively. The surprise entry is Italy, a country which hasn’t had an impressive track record in ICT surveys, squeezed between the Nordic countries with a cloud services adoption rate of 40%.

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These are the FCC's full rules for protecting net neutrality Mar 13, 2015

The Verge - The FCC has released the full text of its new Open Internet order — the set of rules that are meant to protect net neutrality. Though the rules passed last month, the full text of the order hasn't been available until now. Even ahead of the vote, only those in the commission were able to see its actual text. That's not unusual, but considering the significance of this particular vote, a lot of noise was made by dissenting commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly about getting it released to the public. That's finally happened, though it occurred on the commission's normal timeline.

One of the big questions this document answers is which Title II regulations the commission won't be applying to internet service. It turns out to be quite a lot: more than 700 rules aren't going to be applied. "This includes no unbundling of last-mile facilities, no tariffing, no rate regulation, and no cost accounting rules, which results in a carefully tailored application of only those Title II provisions found to directly further the public interest in an open internet and more, better, and open broadband," the order says. The idea that this proposal is a so-called "light touch" approach to regulation has been touted again and again, basically as a way to quell concerns from those who oppose regulation. Of course, it hasn't exactly done that, and we're still seeing plenty of complaints from the internet providers that are now having their services classified under Title II.

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These are the FCC's full rules for protecting net neutrality Mar 13, 2015

The Verge - The FCC has released the full text of its new Open Internet order — the set of rules that are meant to protect net neutrality. Though the rules passed last month, the full text of the order hasn't been available until now. Even ahead of the vote, only those in the commission were able to see its actual text. That's not unusual, but considering the significance of this particular vote, a lot of noise was made by dissenting commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly about getting it released to the public. That's finally happened, though it occurred on the commission's normal timeline.

One of the big questions this document answers is which Title II regulations the commission won't be applying to internet service. It turns out to be quite a lot: more than 700 rules aren't going to be applied. "This includes no unbundling of last-mile facilities, no tariffing, no rate regulation, and no cost accounting rules, which results in a carefully tailored application of only those Title II provisions found to directly further the public interest in an open internet and more, better, and open broadband," the order says. The idea that this proposal is a so-called "light touch" approach to regulation has been touted again and again, basically as a way to quell concerns from those who oppose regulation. Of course, it hasn't exactly done that, and we're still seeing plenty of complaints from the internet providers that are now having their services classified under Title II.

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Zero Rating Becomes ‘Hot Potato’ in EU Net Neutrality Debate Mar 11, 2015

Communications Daily  - The story is published today in Communications Daily (attached) and in the Washington Internet Daily. Relevant bits below :

“It’s a tricky issue” and everyone is in “waiting mode” to see what others do, said Maël Brunet, director of European policy and government relations for OpenForum Europe, which advocates for “open, competitive choice for IT users.” Zero rating can seem like a pure consumer benefit, but it raises problem questions on the supply side, he said in an interview. It creates bars to market entry for competitors that are difficult to control under antitrust law, because companies that are blocked from entering a market in the first place aren’t in a position to complain, he said. Zero rating also could force new entrants to come up with high upfront costs to be able to participate, he said. Zero rating also throttles other services, Brunet said. Providers that offer zero-rated services deny it, but effectively, if a company is giving free and faster access to some services, it can decide not to raise normal speeds even when it expands its infrastructure, he said.

Tuesday 11tth March - Comunications Daily - Page 9 and 10

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Euro ministers ditch plan to ban roaming charges Mar 06, 2015

The Register - National ministers do U-turn.

Europe’s telco ministers appear to have done a U-turn over a proposed total removal of mobile phone roaming charges by the end of the year.

In 2013, the European Commission proposed a plan - backed by MEPs - to end costly roaming surcharges by the end of 2015. No longer would holidaymakers or business travellers be surprised and horrified by shock bills for calls or data sent and received outside of their home country.

This would have been part of the the so-called Telecoms Package, which includes proposals related to net neutrality.

But this utopian dream was shattered on Wednesday by the council of national telecoms ministers. According to the draft text on new EU rules for telecom providers seen by your correspondent, national representatives now argue that “a transitional period is needed to allow roaming providers to adapt to wholesale market conditions”.

Although an element of ex-Commissioner Steelie Neelie Kroes’ roam-like-at-home plan is retained - phone companies should offer a roaming allowance “at levels not exceeding those applicable for domestic services” - the council text says providers will be allowed to add a surcharge.

It does not specify what the basic allowance should be before companies can start slapping on the extra fees.

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Euro ministers ditch plan to ban roaming charges Mar 06, 2015

The Register - National ministers do U-turn.

Europe’s telco ministers appear to have done a U-turn over a proposed total removal of mobile phone roaming charges by the end of the year.

In 2013, the European Commission proposed a plan - backed by MEPs - to end costly roaming surcharges by the end of 2015. No longer would holidaymakers or business travellers be surprised and horrified by shock bills for calls or data sent and received outside of their home country.

This would have been part of the the so-called Telecoms Package, which includes proposals related to net neutrality.

But this utopian dream was shattered on Wednesday by the council of national telecoms ministers. According to the draft text on new EU rules for telecom providers seen by your correspondent, national representatives now argue that “a transitional period is needed to allow roaming providers to adapt to wholesale market conditions”.

Although an element of ex-Commissioner Steelie Neelie Kroes’ roam-like-at-home plan is retained - phone companies should offer a roaming allowance “at levels not exceeding those applicable for domestic services” - the council text says providers will be allowed to add a surcharge.

It does not specify what the basic allowance should be before companies can start slapping on the extra fees.

More
EU annoys industry and activists with net neutrality proposal Mar 06, 2015

The Register - GSMA, MEP and others queue up to give it a kicking.

Europe’s telco ministers have finally come to an agreement on net neutrality – but it’s one that makes both digital activists and industry unhappy.

On Wednesday, a council made up of EU member states' telecoms ministers published its position on the so-called Telecoms Package and managed to alienate almost everyone with a stake.

The proposed law, if enacted in the form preferred by the council, leaves the door open for a two-tier internet, say activists. Yet, according to the council: “The draft regulation sets out to ensure that companies that provide internet access treat traffic in a non-discriminatory manner.”

It sets out new rules on traffic management that ban blocking or slowing down specific content or applications. There are a number of exceptions – for example in situations where customers have requested spam blocking or to prevent cyber attacks. The draft also allows for “specialised services”.

If approved by the European Parliament, the law would apply from 30 June 2016. Getting parliamentary approval, however, may prove tricky. Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake, of the left-leaning Democraten 66 party, said the proposals were “disappointing to the point of insulting”. Schaake’s home country is the only one in the EU to have a national net neutrality law. And it’s being enforced: both KPN and Vodafone were fined in the Netherlands in December.

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EU annoys industry and activists with net neutrality proposal Mar 06, 2015

The Register - GSMA, MEP and others queue up to give it a kicking.

Europe’s telco ministers have finally come to an agreement on net neutrality – but it’s one that makes both digital activists and industry unhappy.

On Wednesday, a council made up of EU member states' telecoms ministers published its position on the so-called Telecoms Package and managed to alienate almost everyone with a stake.

The proposed law, if enacted in the form preferred by the council, leaves the door open for a two-tier internet, say activists. Yet, according to the council: “The draft regulation sets out to ensure that companies that provide internet access treat traffic in a non-discriminatory manner.”

It sets out new rules on traffic management that ban blocking or slowing down specific content or applications. There are a number of exceptions – for example in situations where customers have requested spam blocking or to prevent cyber attacks. The draft also allows for “specialised services”.

If approved by the European Parliament, the law would apply from 30 June 2016. Getting parliamentary approval, however, may prove tricky. Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake, of the left-leaning Democraten 66 party, said the proposals were “disappointing to the point of insulting”. Schaake’s home country is the only one in the EU to have a national net neutrality law. And it’s being enforced: both KPN and Vodafone were fined in the Netherlands in December.

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Europe to Vote on Less Strict Net Neutrality Rules…a Week After U.S. Approves Stricter Guidelines Mar 05, 2015

The Blaze - As the Federal Communications Commission begins to implement strict new Internet rules in the U.S., Europe appears to be taking steps at making its online rules more lenient.

On Wednesday, ambassadors and representatives of the European Union will vote on a preliminary net neutrality measure that would allow Internet service providers across the pond to deliver speedier access to companies that are willing to pay more, the Wall Street Journal reported.

... If the vote passes, the proposal will then go to the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Union Council. Those three bodies would debate the issue over the coming weeks and if they can reach an agreement, the proposal would then become law.

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Europe to Vote on Less Strict Net Neutrality Rules…a Week After U.S. Approves Stricter Guidelines Mar 05, 2015

The Blaze - As the Federal Communications Commission begins to implement strict new Internet rules in the U.S., Europe appears to be taking steps at making its online rules more lenient.

On Wednesday, ambassadors and representatives of the European Union will vote on a preliminary net neutrality measure that would allow Internet service providers across the pond to deliver speedier access to companies that are willing to pay more, the Wall Street Journal reported.

... If the vote passes, the proposal will then go to the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Union Council. Those three bodies would debate the issue over the coming weeks and if they can reach an agreement, the proposal would then become law.

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Enisa looks to UK for government cloud security guidance Mar 03, 2015

Computer Weekly - Doubts have been raised about Enisa's decision to look to the UK for guidance on how to create a security framework that accelerates adoption of government cloud services across Europe.

The European cyber security agency is among a number of EU-focused organisations keen to drive adoption of G-Cloud-like services within local and central governments for economic reasons.

“Very few EU member states have currently developed approaches for cloud computing based on a well-defined and thorough cloud security strategy (including risk profiles, classification of assets, security objectives and measures),” Enisa’s Security Framework for Governmental Clouds report stated.

To this end, Enisa has set out a multi-part framework to guide EU member states through the steps needed to deploy a secure government cloud.

“The final result is a security framework modelled into four phases, nine security activities and 14 steps that detail the set of actions we believe each member state should follow for the definition and implementation of a secure [government] cloud,” the report continued.

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Enisa looks to UK for government cloud security guidance Mar 03, 2015

Computer Weekly - Doubts have been raised about Enisa's decision to look to the UK for guidance on how to create a security framework that accelerates adoption of government cloud services across Europe.

The European cyber security agency is among a number of EU-focused organisations keen to drive adoption of G-Cloud-like services within local and central governments for economic reasons.

“Very few EU member states have currently developed approaches for cloud computing based on a well-defined and thorough cloud security strategy (including risk profiles, classification of assets, security objectives and measures),” Enisa’s Security Framework for Governmental Clouds report stated.

To this end, Enisa has set out a multi-part framework to guide EU member states through the steps needed to deploy a secure government cloud.

“The final result is a security framework modelled into four phases, nine security activities and 14 steps that detail the set of actions we believe each member state should follow for the definition and implementation of a secure [government] cloud,” the report continued.

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What The FCC's Net Neutrality Ruling Means For You Feb 27, 2015

Huffington Post - In a landmark move Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission approved new rules supporting net neutrality. The regulations aim to ban Internet service providers (ISPs) from giving preferential treatment to companies that would pay extra to get their content to consumers.

The debate over this principle has raged for years. Proponents like Tumblr CEO David Karp say net neutrality protects the little guys, ensuring that their voices have as much of an opportunity to be heard as those belonging to large conglomerates.

Opponents, including several ISPs like Verizon, AT&T and Comcast, argue that services like Netflix and Amazon should have to pay for the disproportionately high bandwidth they use. Streaming a movie takes a much greater toll on a network than loading a blog, for example. During peak hours in North America, Netflix accounts for over one third of "downstream" Internet traffic, which is the data received (rather than sent) by computers.

The FCC's new decision is a win for net neutrality proponents. But it's not final, and it awaits refinement from the courts and Congress, in addition to an expected heap of lawsuits from telecoms.

So, what will this mean for you?

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What The FCC's Net Neutrality Ruling Means For You Feb 27, 2015

Huffington Post - In a landmark move Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission approved new rules supporting net neutrality. The regulations aim to ban Internet service providers (ISPs) from giving preferential treatment to companies that would pay extra to get their content to consumers.

The debate over this principle has raged for years. Proponents like Tumblr CEO David Karp say net neutrality protects the little guys, ensuring that their voices have as much of an opportunity to be heard as those belonging to large conglomerates.

Opponents, including several ISPs like Verizon, AT&T and Comcast, argue that services like Netflix and Amazon should have to pay for the disproportionately high bandwidth they use. Streaming a movie takes a much greater toll on a network than loading a blog, for example. During peak hours in North America, Netflix accounts for over one third of "downstream" Internet traffic, which is the data received (rather than sent) by computers.

The FCC's new decision is a win for net neutrality proponents. But it's not final, and it awaits refinement from the courts and Congress, in addition to an expected heap of lawsuits from telecoms.

So, what will this mean for you?

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F.C.C. Net Neutrality Rules Clear Hurdle as Republicans Concede to Obama Feb 26, 2015

NYT - WASHINGTON — Senior Republicans conceded on Tuesday that the grueling fight with President Obama over the regulation of Internet service appears over, with the president and an army of Internet activists victorious.

The Federal Communications Commission is expected on Thursday to approve regulating Internet service like a public utility, prohibiting companies from paying for faster lanes on the Internet. While the two Democratic commissioners are negotiating over technical details, they are widely expected to side with the Democratic chairman, Tom Wheeler, against the two Republican commissioners.

And Republicans on Capitol Hill, who once criticized the plan as “Obamacare for the Internet,” now say they are unlikely to pass a legislative response that would undo perhaps the biggest policy shift since the Internet became a reality.

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F.C.C. Net Neutrality Rules Clear Hurdle as Republicans Concede to Obama Feb 26, 2015

NYT - WASHINGTON — Senior Republicans conceded on Tuesday that the grueling fight with President Obama over the regulation of Internet service appears over, with the president and an army of Internet activists victorious.

The Federal Communications Commission is expected on Thursday to approve regulating Internet service like a public utility, prohibiting companies from paying for faster lanes on the Internet. While the two Democratic commissioners are negotiating over technical details, they are widely expected to side with the Democratic chairman, Tom Wheeler, against the two Republican commissioners.

And Republicans on Capitol Hill, who once criticized the plan as “Obamacare for the Internet,” now say they are unlikely to pass a legislative response that would undo perhaps the biggest policy shift since the Internet became a reality.

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US Ambassador: No, net neutrality will NOT allow the UN to seize control of the internet from us Feb 06, 2015

The Register - US Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda has blown up hyperbolic claims that enforcing net neutrality rules in America could lead to the United Nations taking control of the internet.

Sepulveda, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and US Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, is strongly in favor of net neutrality, arguing that it is needed to protect the internet as we know it at home.

He serves as Uncle Sam's ambassador to the UN's International Telecommunication Union, which coordinates crucial stuff like the global use of radio frequencies, satellite orbits and communications infrastructure.

Significantly, given that Sepulveda is the US official in charge of international telecoms policy, he says that recent claims that net neutrality rules would limit the US government's ability to push back against other governments meddling with the web are "fundamentally flawed."

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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: This Is How We Will Ensure Net Neutrality Feb 06, 2015

Wired - After more than a decade of debate and a record-setting proceeding that attracted nearly 4 million public comments, the time to settle the Net Neutrality question has arrived. This week, I will circulate to the members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed new rules to preserve the internet as an open platform for innovation and free expression. This proposal is rooted in long-standing regulatory principles, marketplace experience, and public input received over the last several months.

Broadband network operators have an understandable motivation to manage their network to maximize their business interests. But their actions may not always be optimal for network users. The Congress gave the FCC broad authority to update its rules to reflect changes in technology and marketplace behavior in a way that protects consumers. Over the years, the Commission has used this authority to the public’s great benefit.

The internet wouldn’t have emerged as it did, for instance, if the FCC hadn’t mandated open access for network equipment in the late 1960s. Before then, AT&T prohibited anyone from attaching non-AT&T equipment to the network. The modems that enabled the internet were usable only because the FCC required the network to be open.

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Expected FCC net neutrality proposal would regulate the Internet like a utility Feb 06, 2015

PCWorld - FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is about to propose strong net neutrality rules that would ban paid “fast lanes” and cover both fixed and mobile networks, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Wheeler will seek so-called “Title II” regulation that would treat all broadband providers like telecommunications companies rather than less restricted information services, the Journal reported on Monday, citing unnamed sources. Wheeler is expected to present his plan on Thursday for a vote by the full Federal Communications Commission on Feb. 26.

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US Ambassador: No, net neutrality will NOT allow the UN to seize control of the internet from us Feb 06, 2015

The Register - US Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda has blown up hyperbolic claims that enforcing net neutrality rules in America could lead to the United Nations taking control of the internet.

Sepulveda, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and US Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, is strongly in favor of net neutrality, arguing that it is needed to protect the internet as we know it at home.

He serves as Uncle Sam's ambassador to the UN's International Telecommunication Union, which coordinates crucial stuff like the global use of radio frequencies, satellite orbits and communications infrastructure.

Significantly, given that Sepulveda is the US official in charge of international telecoms policy, he says that recent claims that net neutrality rules would limit the US government's ability to push back against other governments meddling with the web are "fundamentally flawed."

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EU net neutrality: Don’t worry, we’re now safely in the hands of … Latvia Jan 09, 2015

The Register - EU member states will push for a “compromise” on net neutrality over the next six months, after Latvia, which took over the six-month rolling presidency of the European Council of Ministers last week, published its list of priorities for the first half of this year.

Notably, it says it will seek “an overall compromise” on the so-called telecommunications package. Such language has raised warning flags from net neutrality advocates.

 

The law, pushed by ex-digi tsar Steelie Neelie Kroes, is a sprawling piece of legislation covering telecoms companies regulation, coordination of the use of radio spectrum, roaming charges, and yep, you guessed it, net neutrality.

The draft of the law passed by the Parliament in April significantly strengthened net neutrality rules, but at its last meeting of national ministers in November, the Council appeared to be moving the opposite direction.

“When I read the Council suggesting a compromise on the telecoms package, I get concerned," Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake told El Reg.

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Tom Wheeler says FCC will vote on net neutrality on February 26th Jan 09, 2015

The Verge - FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has announced that his office will vote on an official proposal for net neutrality on February 26th. "We're going to circulate it to the commissioners on February 5th and vote on it February 26th," Wheeler told CEA President Gary Shapiro in a public interview at CES. Wheeler did not specifically say whether the commission was selecting a hybrid approach or reclassification of broadband as a utility, but he did speak highly of Title II's regulatory abilities. In November, President Obama urged the FCC to classify internet traffic under Title II, although Wheeler has declined to explicitly endorse the proposal.

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Europe project aims to promote cloud in public sector Dec 17, 2014

PublicTechnology - A European partnership has launched a tender aimed at overcoming obstacles to the adoption of cloud computing by the public sector.

The Cloud for Europe project is seeking suppliers for three framework lots, worth a total of €4m to provide research and development services.

The aim is to reduce barriers to the use of cloud computing by public bodies, particularly addressing security concerns.

Mauro Draoli, project manager at lead procurer Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale, said, “This announcement marks the beginning of a significant opportunity for potential procurers and suppliers to learn from the experience of the Cloud for Europe project in enabling the procurement of cloud computing services by European public administrations.”

The first lot relates to solutions that ensure “easy and reliable” brokerage of cloud services provided by national cloud service providers.

Lot two is aimed at archiving and storage cloud services “that meets governments and citizens requirements on privacy and security of stored data”.

The final lot will seek solutions that meet requirements imposed upon cloud services by national or international legislation.

Each lot will have three phases – solution design, prototype development and the development of first products and services.

The deadline for submission is 20 February 2015.

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A Ton of Tech Companies Just Came Out Against Net Neutrality Dec 12, 2014

GizModo - More than 60 huge tech companies including Intel, Qualcomm, Cisco, and IBM have written a letter to leaders in Congress and the FCC opposing net neutrality. The free and open internet isn't going to happen without a fight.

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One digi market to RULE 'em all: Get with the net neutrality plan, guys, moans EU digi-veep Dec 09, 2014

The Register - Europe’s new digi chief has told telecoms ministers to get their act together and deliver strong net neutrality rules.

Andrus Ansip, European Commission veep for all things digital, said he had “no illusions” that this would be easy, adding: “I really hope that an agreement can be reached over the coming months. Otherwise, I fear that we may lose momentum.”

 

Ansip was frustrated that, despite discussing it for over a year, telecoms ministers still haven’t been able to agree a common position on the proposed Telecoms Package – a collection of EU laws aimed at creating a digital single market. Without that common position, they cannot enter the last phase of negotiations with the Commission and the European Parliament.

“I encourage EU ministers to intensify and complete the technical discussions so that these negotiations can start as soon as possible,” said Ansip.

The digital veep identified spectrum, net neutrality rules and roaming as the biggest issues. Many member states are keen to water down net neutrality rules, but Ansip says the principle of net neutrality must be enshrined in EU law.

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Merkel speaks out against net neutrality Dec 05, 2014

The Local - Chancellor Angela Merkel is calling for preferential services for certain providers on the web at her keynote speech at a conference in Berlin on Thursday.

Merkel said that some key services for the digital economy would require reliable transmission quality and should therefore be treated differently than other data.

At the Vodafone-hosted Digitising Europe conference in Berlin, she called for a splitting of services, "one for free internet, and the other for special services", adding that it was up to Brussels to negotiate how it would work.

"An innovation-friendly internet means that there is a guaranteed reliability for special services," she said. "These can only develop when predictable quality standards are available".

Merkel added that these special services would run over existing internet infrastructure.

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Help Defend EU Net Neutrality (Yes, Again) Nov 26, 2014

ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - As I noted at the end of last week, there is yet another attack on EU net neutrality underway. Here's a further indication that this is part of a concerted action: a new site called "Make the Net Work for Europe" has popped up. Behind it are most of the major EU telecoms companies: Alcatel-Lucent, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Liberty Global, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Telenor, TeliaSonera and Vodafone. The top-line message:

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Europe Takes Another Look at Net Neutrality Nov 26, 2014

New York Times - Just as the United States takes steps to secure people’s unfettered access to the Internet, Europe may soon backtrack on its own proposals.

The idea of so-called net neutrality — or the concept that everyone should have equal access to all online content — will again take center stage on Thursday as politicians from the 28-member bloc meet to discuss how the rules should be put into effect across the region.

In the United States, President Obama recently called on the Federal Communications Commission to adopt rules that would stop broadband companies from slowing down certain types of online content. The European Parliament outlined similar rules earlier this year.

Now, though, some European lawmakers are pushing to loosen the rules somewhat, allowing companies to potentially charge for faster access to their networks.

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Ex-EU digi supremo Steelie Neelie's net neutrality bid in tatters? Nov 26, 2014

The Register - Former EU digital tzar Neelie Kroes’ net neutrality plans for the Continent may be chucked out by national governments.

The latest draft of a law prepared by Italy for national delegations to mull over – a copy of which was leaked by digital rights group EDRi here [PDF] – suggests replacing a definition of net neutrality with a side note alluding to the “objective of net neutrality.” The document says this new approach will allow innovation to flourish.

 

EDRi head Joe McNamee says the draft waters down proposed protections, claiming that “without meaningful and enforceable net neutrality provisions” the law would achieve exactly the opposite of an open internet.

This latest draft leaves the door open for big online players to strike deals with ISPs for preferential treatment of their content while in transit. This could prove especially attractive for bandwidth-hungry services such as Netflix or YouTube.

According to EDRi, allowing “free” access to certain services and metered access to everything else is “as damaging an infringement” as blocking access to websites.

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FCC is taking its time with net neutrality because 'the big dogs are going to sue' Nov 25, 2014
The Verge - Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler is getting blunt about why we don't have net neutrality rules yet: "The big dogs are going to sue regardless of what comes out," he said today, according to Reuters

. Internet providers are pretty staunchly against the type of heavy regulations that net neutrality advocates want to see, and it's expected that they'll oppose any light regulations too, simply because it would restrict them from doing various things with their businesses, like giving certain websites and apps preferential treatment. The commission has reason to fear a lawsuit, too. The reason that we don't have net neutrality rules right now is because Verizon sued over the last set of rules and won in court earlier this year.

"We need to make sure that we have sustainable rules," Wheeler reportedly said, "and that starts with making sure that we have addressed the multiplicity of issues that come along and are likely to be raised."

 

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FCC may delay release of Net neutrality rules until 2015 Nov 10, 2014

CNet - FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who had promised to deliver proposed new rules for managing Internet traffic, may be finding the task more complicated than anticipated, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The US Federal Communications Commission, working on complicated rules about how Internet providers can handle video and other traffic that crosses their networks, may delay offering up its guidelines until 2015 so it can "ensure they are defensible in court and people understand them," The Wall Street Journal reported, citing FCC officials.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who wanted the proposed rules out by the end of this year, has been working to appease advocates of so-called "Net neutrality," as well as providers, who don't want more regulation over their services. Wheeler needs to have his proposed rules completed by the end of the month to submit them in time for the FCC's last open meeting of the year on December 11, but FCC lawyers are pushing for more time, the Journal said.

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Net Neutrality: President Obama's Plan for a Free and Open Internet Nov 10, 2014

The White House - More than any other invention of our time, the Internet has unlocked possibilities we could just barely imagine a generation ago. And here's a big reason we've seen such incredible growth and innovation: Most Internet providers have treated Internet traffic equally. That's a principle known as "net neutrality" — and it says that an entrepreneur's fledgling company should have the same chance to succeed as established corporations, and that access to a high school student's blog shouldn't be unfairly slowed down to make way for advertisers with more money.

That's what President Obama believes, and what he means when he says there should be no gatekeepers between you and your favorite online sites and services.

And as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) considers new rules for how to safeguard competition and user choice, we cannot take that principle of net neutrality for granted. Ensuring a free and open Internet is the only way we can preserve the Internet's power to connect our world. That's why the President has laid out a plan to do it, and is asking the FCC to implement it.

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Hungary's internet tax cannot be allowed to set a precedent, says EC Oct 30, 2014

The Register - We cannot allow Hungary to set a precedent with its internet tax, the European Commission’s digital agenda spokesman said on Tuesday.

In response to questions from The Register, Ryan Heath – official mouthpiece for unelected digital czar "Steelie" Neelie Kroes – was scathing about Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s plans to impose a tax on internet service providers of around €0.50 per gigabyte of data that travels over their networks.

 

“This must be seen in a wider context as part of a pattern to limit media and internet freedom,” said Heath. “That is why it is so important to tackle this now before a law is enacted. We have seen the pattern in Hungary where they announce a very tough law and then they moderate it in an effort to seem reasonable. But we cannot allow this issue to fade away.”

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NIST puts a sharper point on cloud computing Oct 27, 2014

ZDNet - The National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) definition of cloud computing is considered by many to be the final word on cloud.

The definition embraced by so many reads as follows:

"Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction."

Now, the agency has published the final version of the US Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap, which describes the thinking that should go into designing and managing clouds within the US government and beyond. The guidelines may help guide commercial organzations' efforts as well.

Here are the requirements that need to be part of a cloud computing initiative, outlined by NIST:

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UK.gov sinks another £1.6m into Internet of Stuff spec HyperCat Oct 22, 2014

The Register - Blighty has announced another £1.6m in funding for its Internet of Stuff standard HyperCat, courtesy of the government’s Technology Strategy Board.

In a bid to go all Tim Berners-Lee on the much-hyped Internet of Things, UK.gov has teamed up with tech heavyweights like IBM and ARM to deliver an interoperability standard for devices that will allow them to discover each other. The so-called HyperCat specification can browse machines and search by metadata using standards like HTTPS, Restful APIs and JSON as data formats.

 

“In the same way that Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s world wide web specification unlocked the potential of the internet, the HyperCat specification will unlock the full potential of the internet of things by creating a world wide web for machines,” enthused IoT firm and consortium member Flexeye in a canned statement today.

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The Future of the Internet - 20 Years Ago Oct 22, 2014

ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - Netscape Navigator was released 20 years ago today. Thank you to everyone who supported us at Netscape & built the Web with us then and now!

That was posted by a certain Marc Andreessen. You probably know him as a successful venture capitalist, but before that, he was one of the people who helped popularise the Web. He did that by creating the Mosaic browser back in 1993 - first for Unix, and later for the Apple Macintosh and Windows (version 3.1). Mosaic was written at the University of Illinois, and was freely available for non-commercial use. But once the appeal of a graphical Web browser became evident, it was natural for people to start to think about turning it into a business.

The company that resulted was Mosaic Communications, and was set up by the entrepreneur Jim Clark, the founder of Silicon Graphics, along with Marc Andreessen. The University of Illinois wasn't too happy about the company using Mosaic in its name, and so it adopted that of its first product, Netscape. Netscape's August 1995 IPO – the most successful in history at that point - saw the 18-month old startup valued at $3 billion, paving the way for the new generation of rich and hugely powerful Internet startups we know today.

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Berners-Lee calls out governments and ISPs over online snooping, net neutrality Oct 09, 2014

TechRadar - Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has spoken about the importance of net neutrality, making data open and sharable, and a need for the public to hold governments to account over their online surveillance activities.

Speaking at a press Q&A at IP Expo, he said: "We all need to make sure that when contingency powers are put in place, there needs to be a system that we all know about where an agency watches the watchers and guards the guards.

"It needs public discussions and it's tricky. it's a difficult problem but we need something more powerful and transparent."

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What Will Run The Internet of Things? Hint: It's Fully Open Oct 06, 2014

ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - As you may have noticed, the Next Big Thing is the Internet of Things. It's certainly true that in addition to computational capabilities, connectivity is also being added to an ever-wider range of everyday objects. On the other hand, in the light of Snowden's leaks about pervasive surveillance of our online activities, you might have thought people would be a little more cautious about wiring up even more of their lives.

Leaving aside such thorny issues, a more technical question is: will one platform come to dominate the Internet of Things? The unanimous answer of companies, is of course "yes", because they all dream of offering it. But some players are better-placed than others to aspire to that position. One of them, arguably, is the UK company ARM, which has just made an interesting move in this sphere:

ARM has announced a new software platform and free operating system to simplify and speed up the creation and deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) products. The ARM mbed IoT Device Platform has been built around open standards and will bring Internet protocols, security and standards-based manageability into one integrated solution optimized for energy and cost-constrained devices. It is supported by the established and expanding mbed hardware and software ecosystem that will provide common building blocks for IoT devices and services. This new platform will accelerate the growth of the IoT by enabling innovators to focus on value-add features and differentiation.

As you can see, it is announcing a "free operating system". Although details are a little sketchy at the moment, the company says that it will be "free of charge and mainly open source. Some elements such as crypto are not open." Here are some more details:

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EU telecoms nominee stands up for net neutrality Oct 02, 2014

Reuters - Telecoms operators should not be allowed to strike lucrative deals with bandwidth-hungry content providers such as Netflix and Google to provide them with quicker Internet access, the incoming EU telecoms commissioner said on Monday.

Net neutrality, the principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally, has emerged as the main sticking point in discussions on a legislative package to overhaul Europe's ailing telecoms sector, which Germany's Guenther Oettinger will inherit from his predecessor Neelie Kroes.

"Net neutrality is a common interest for all users and for all citizens, and additionally in the public interest - emergency cases and so on - there may be an exemption, but not for businesses, not for business cases, therefore we need neutrality for all users," Oettinger said.

The European Parliament voted in April for strict rules preventing internet service providers from blocking or throttling content to manage the traffic on their networks.

But telecoms operators say that charging for different speeds and services would help them invest in upgrading their networks, an area where Europe lags the United States and Asia.

 

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World Wide Web inventor slams Internet fast lanes: ‘It’s bribery.’ Sep 22, 2014

The Washington Post - A quarter-century ago, Timothy Berners-Lee designed the world's first Web browser and server, kicking off a thing that people started calling the World Wide Web.

In a visit to The Washington Post, on Thursday, Berners-Lee said that system is now in danger from Internet service providers (ISPs) who stand to amass too much power over what was intentionally built as a decentralized network — one where no single actor could dictate outcomes to everyone else.

Berners-Lee pushed back against opponents of net neutrality regulation who argue that applying new rules on ISPs is tantamount to regulating the Internet. There's a difference between regulating providers of broadband and the services that run on top of it, said Berners-Lee. Strong net neutrality rules would help preserve that line dividing the two and limit the incentive of ISPs to meddle in the market for services.

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Net Neutrality Advocates Make Last FCC Push as Comment Window Closes Sep 16, 2014

TIME - The Commission's proposed rule for "fast lanes" on the Internet that would cost extra has generated millions of comments since July

Net neutrality advocates mounted a large video billboard outside Federal Communications Commission headquarters Monday, on the last day for public comment on the Commission’s proposed Internet regulations. The laws, if approved, would allows Internet service providers (ISPs) like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast to create “fast lanes” that users can pay extra to access, thus violating the principle of net neutrality.

The billboard will play user-submitted videos from net neutrality rallies from major U.S. cities, along with users’ webcam appeals on why they believe net neutrality is important, according to Fight for the Future, an Internet advocacy group that worked with domain registrar Namecheap to set up the display.

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Google Breaks Silence On Net Neutrality, Calls For 'Free And Open Internet' Sep 12, 2014

International Business Times - Google made it clear in a message to supporters that it is for a “free and open Internet” without fast or slow lanes that would come with the end of net neutrality. The company’s clarification comes after activists wondered whether Google, which has been a fierce proponent of the open Internet in the past, has changed its position.

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Internet of Things: Major players agree on goals, but little else Sep 03, 2014

The Register - The whole industry seems to be going wild about the Internet of Things (IoT), but the hard part about making this bold new vision happen is going to be as much about getting the vendors talking as getting the so-called things talking.

In their separate keynotes at the LinuxCon 2014 conference in Chicago last month, Cisco's Michael Enescu and Intel's Dirk Hohndel seemed to agree on one point right off the bat: a lot of companies don't have the foggiest idea about where this whole Internet of Things (IoT) idea is going.

 

Mind you, what Enescu wanted was to get people talking about "fog computing," Cisco's way of trying to commandeer the conversation by coming up with a brand-new buzzword that nobody else really uses yet.

Hohndel, on the other hand, thinks the most important "fog" around IoT right now is that the various industry players can't even seem to agree on terms.

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Former FCC Commissioner Seeks Meeting With Obama On Net Neutrality Aug 14, 2014

Huffington Post - WASHINGTON -- As the Federal Communications Commission weighs new rules that could jeopardize net neutrality, the agency's former commissioner Michael Copps is making a direct appeal for President Barack Obama's help in preserving a free and open Internet.

In a joint letter to Obama sent Wednesday, Copps, now a special adviser to advocacy nonprofit Common Cause, and Craig Aaron, the CEO of advocacy group Free Press, request a meeting with the president "to discuss how to solidify open Internet protections."

"We write you today because we are gravely concerned that a pending proposal before the Federal Communications Commission … will undermine Net Neutrality and imperil the future of the open Internet," states the letter from Copps and Aaron, both strong advocates of net neutrality. "The proposal would permit Internet service providers to bifurcate the network into fast lanes for the few who can pay and slow lanes for the rest of us. Gatekeeper control over whether and how people can access information makes a mockery of the dynamic nature of the Internet, stifles innovation, and jeopardizes our civic dialogue."

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Europe's new data laws: Just how many cloud vendors would comply? Aug 12, 2014

ZDNet - Tougher EU data protection rules are planned for adoption late this year or early next. Yet as things stand an overwhelming majority of cloud providers would foul of one or another of the new measures.

The General Data Protection Regulation, likely to be enforced from 2016 or 2017, replaces the 1995 directive and could introduce fines of up to €100m ($134m), along with rules on notifying breaches, data location and the right to be forgotten.

However, only one cloud provider in 100 would meet all aspects of the new law that affects firms either based in Europe or handling data about EU citizens, according to cloud security company Skyhigh Networks, which compiled figures from its database of more than 7,000 cloud services.

"It's staggering how few cloud providers are prepared for the new EU regulations," EMEA director at Skyhigh Networks Charlie Howe said in a statement. "Fortunately, there's still time for providers to get into shape. This means addressing a number of complex issues now."

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IBM patents cloud data location management tech Aug 12, 2014

ZDNet - IBM has filed a patent for a technique that will automatically manage cloud data across geographic regions, claiming it will allow client companies to comply with regulations governing where data can be stored in different countries and continents.

"During the early years of cloud computing, it was evident that storing and accessing business data across geographically dispersed cloud computing environments could present logistical and regulatory challenges," said IBM's Sandeep Ramesh Patil, co-inventor of the patent.

"Our team of inventors designed a system that will allow businesses to efficiently manage and move data in the cloud, while meeting required compliance mandates in different countries."

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UK Government seeking cloud partner to slash hosting costs Jul 22, 2014

TechRadar - The UK government has issued a tender to find a partner to considerably drive down the cost of procuring hosting for the Crown Hosting Service (CHS).

The contract, which is estimated to be worth around £700 million, is expected to save the CHS up to £530 million a year by 2018. Hosting is one of the biggest spending items on the current government's list and according to the Government's CTO, Liam Maxwell, is ripe for consolidation.

The tender is specifically seeking for a joint venture partner that will provide data centre co-location services to the central government and public sector entities. The more secure applications and services however are unlikely to be included.

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Net neutrality a key battleground in growing fight over encryption, activists say Jul 22, 2014

PCWorld - Plans to favor some Internet packets over others threaten consumers’ hard-won right to use encryption, a digital privacy advocate says.

Activists and tech companies fended off efforts in the U.S. in the 1990s to ban Internet encryption or give the government ways around it, but an even bigger battle over cryptography is brewing now, according to Sascha Meinrath, director of X-Lab, a digital civil-rights think tank launched earlier this year. One of the most contested issues in that battle will be net neutrality, Meinrath said.

The new fight will be even more fierce than the last one, because Internet service providers now see dollars and cents in the details of packets traversing their networks. They want to charge content providers for priority delivery of their packets across the network, something that a controversial Federal Communications Commission proposal could allow under certain conditions. Friday is the filing deadline for the first round of public comments on that plan.

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Cloud computing services could be subject to extra data protection checks in Europe Jul 18, 2014

InfoWorld - Cloud providers seeking business from EU institutions could become subject to more scrutiny from the EDPS (European Data Protection Supervisor).

The supervisor is preparing guidance on the use of cloud computing and mobile devices for data transfers by EU institutions to non-EU countries and international organizations.

Part of that guidance could require extra checks for personal data shared with cloud computing services, the supervisor said in a position paper published Monday.

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UK and European SMBs shun cloud backup due to security worries Jul 17, 2014

ITProPortal - Small and medium sized businesses [SMBs] in the UK and Western Europe are trailing US companies when it comes to backing up data to the cloud as security worries dog the uptake of cloud computing.

Data from IDC showed that 93 per cent of companies in the US are backing up some kind of data to the cloud whereas the figure dropped to some 63 per cent in Western Europe and 57 per cent in Asia Pacific.

Companies in Western Europe and the Asia Pacific region that aren’t backing up to the cloud mentioned security as being concerning with a whopping 59 per cent in Western Europe and 45 per cent in Asia Pacific citing it as the main reason. Meanwhile, just a third [33 per cent] of US firms complained that a lack of security was preventing them backing up to the cloud.

Diverse environments are something that are also posing problems for firms attempting to back up data due to the amount of time it takes to perform the task. This is illustrated by the fact that almost 37 per cent of organisations have to back up virtual, physical and cloud-based servers at the same time. Additionally, among companies that manage virtual infrastructures, 54 per cent have to manage two or more different hypervisors.

On a country-by-country basis, 74.2 per cent of UK IT infrastructures are classified as complex along with 78.1 per cent in Singapore and 77.8 per cent in the US. This is in stark contrast to other countries such as Germany with 38.7 per cent dubbed complex, 48.3 per cent in France and 45.5 per cent in Japan.

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Internet giants press for net neutrality in FCC filing Jul 16, 2014

PCWorld - An association of more than two dozen technology companies including Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Netflix urged the Federal Communications Commission on Monday to create strong, enforceable net neutrality rules for wired and mobile networks.

The companies want to secure an open Internet for the future, they said in a comment filed by The Internet Association with the FCC. They want to prevent the segregation of the Internet into fast lanes and slow lanes as that will distort the market, discourage innovation and harm Internet users, they said.

The FCC is looking to create a new approach to regulating net neutrality after a U.S. appeals court threw out its original regulations in January. But the FCC prompted an outcry from Internet users by saying it wants to allow broadband providers to engage in “commercially reasonable” traffic management and would also allow paid prioritization in some cases.

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Experts Say Four Threats Put Internet Freedom at Risk Jul 09, 2014

Top Tech News - The open nature of the Internet faces several threats over the next ten years that could severely curtail online liberty, according to a new report published by the Pew Research Center. The think tank released their survey of more than 1,400 analysts and experts as part of their series called "The Web at 25."

Most respondents said they believe the way individuals access information won’t significantly change for the worse by 2025. However, the research identified four key threats that pose serious concerns, including (1) efforts by nation-states to maintain political control by filtering, blocking or segmenting the Internet, (2) erosion of trust stemming from government and corporate surveillance, (3) efforts by corporations to further commercialize the online world, and (4) attempts by individuals to filter their own online exposure to combat information overload.

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Industry Leaders to Establish Open Interconnect Consortium to Advance Interoperability for Internet of Things Jul 09, 2014

WSJ - Technology industry leaders Atmel Corporation, Broadcom Corporation, Dell, Intel Corporation, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., and Wind River, are joining forces to establish a new industry consortium focused on improving interoperability and defining the connectivity requirements for the billions of devices that will make up the Internet of Things (IoT). The Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) is focused on defining a common communications framework based on industry standard technologies to wirelessly connect and intelligently manage the flow of information among personal computing and emerging IoT devices, regardless of form factor, operating system or service provider.

Member companies will contribute software and engineering resources to the development of a protocol specification, open source implementation, and a certification program, all with a view of accelerating the development of the IoT. The OIC specification will encompass a range of connectivity solutions, utilizing existing and emerging wireless standards and will be designed to be compatible with a variety of operating systems.

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European Commission inches closer to standardising cloud SLA guidelines Jul 02, 2014

Computer Weekly - The European Commission (EC) has received a cloud guidelines document – aimed at helping users save money and increase cloud trust – from service providers and industry bodies. The EC will now test the SLA guidelines with users, in particular SMEs before formalising it.

The guidelines, when fully implemented, will help cloud users ensure essential elements are included in plain language in contracts they make with cloud providers, the EC has said. The guidelines will explain, in simple terms, the availability and reliability of the cloud service, security levels, quality of support services from suppliers and data management in the cloud.

The document has been developed by a Cloud Select Industry Group (CSIG) which includes industry bodies such as Cloud security Alliance and ENISA, legal experts such as DLA Piper and cloud and IT service providers including Atos, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, SAP, IBM, Salesforce, Cisco, HP, Accenture, Intel and EMC among others (see full list of companies involved in developing the cloud SLA guidelines here).

According to the EC, the document from CSIG is the “first step towards standardised building blocks for Service Level Agreements (SLAs) terminology and metrics” for cloud use in the region.

Its own research showed that SLA standards are required by cloud users.

“The new guidelines will help generate trust in innovative computing solutions and help EU citizens save money. More trust means more revenue for companies in Europe's digital single market," said EC vice-president Viviane Reding.

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Cloud adoption: Why some IT chiefs think it's still too complex Jun 27, 2014

ZDNet - The cloud may have many benefits but for the moment simplicity is not necessarily one of them.

From contracts, to licensing and payments, CIOs — even enthusiastic adopters of the utility model — remain pragmatic about the management of cloud services and their potential to cause grief.

"The complexities we get into on licensing models make me want to weep sometimes," Essex County Council CIO David Wilde told the recent Cloud World Forum in London.

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The biggest flaw in the net neutrality debate Jun 24, 2014

Wired - Earlier this month, on the HBO comedy news show "Last Week Tonight," host John Oliver went on a 13-minute rant against the new set of internet rules proposed by the FCC. He warned that the rules would lead to a world where internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon can sell special treatment to web companies like Google and Netflix, charging extra fees to deliver their online videos and other content at fast speeds, and he urged viewers to bombard the FCC website with protests, saying the rules would end up hurting smaller web outfits that can't afford to pay the fees. The next day, the FCC site buckled under the traffic and went offline.

It was just part of a sweeping effort to squash the proposed rules. When the rules first leaked out in May, protesters camped out in front of the FCC's Washington offices. Big tech companies such as Google, Amazon, and Netflix signed a letter asking the government communications agency to bar internet providers from discriminating "both technically and financially against internet companies." And last week, two big name Democrats on Capitol Hill unveiled a bill that seeks to undermine the new rules. Nearly everyone, it seems, wants to prevent the FCC from allowing some companies to have internet "fast lanes" while others toil at slower speeds.

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European Commission declares itself an “Honest broker in future global negotiations on Internet Governance” Jun 18, 2014

The Standards Blog - Andy Updegrove - For more than a decade there has been active resistance in some quarters to the continuing custody by the U.S. of the root domain registries of the Internet. Those directories (which control the routing of Internet traffic into and out of nations) are administered by ICANN, which in turn exists under the authority of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Today, Neelie Kroes, the strong-willed European Commission Vice-President in charge of the E.C.’s Digital Agenda, has put the question of “Internet Governance” (read: control of these registries) back into the news. Specifically, Kroes announced in a press release that the Commission will pursue a “role as honest broker in future global negotiations on Internet Governance.”

While the press refers to “reduced trust” in the Internet as a result of the disclosure of NSA surveillance activities, today’s announcement is in fact a continuation of an effort on the part of the EU nations (among others) that has simmered, and occasionally boiled over, for many years. It first reached a crescendo in 2005 in connection with the convening of a global, UN sponsored “World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).” Part of the outcome of that meeting was the creation of a Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG), and in September of 2005, the EU (and UK) broke ranks with the U.S., coming out in support of a new global body to control what had by then come to be referred to as “Internet Governance.”

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The Internet of Things gets real Jun 02, 2014

ComputerWorld - A year ago, people were mostly talking about the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) -- what companies and government entities might do in the future to take advantage of this widespread network of connected objects.

While we're still in the early stages of IoT, today it's looking like more of a reality, with a number of implementations in the works. And while many issues still need to be sorted out -- data security and privacy for one -- a growing number of companies are exploring how they can leverage IoT-related technologies.

IoT is clearly on a growth curve. A March 2014 Gartner report estimates that the Internet of Things will include some 26 billion Internet-connected physical devices by 2020. By that time, IoT product and service suppliers will generate incremental revenue of more than $300 billion, according to Gartner.

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Why European Commission wants cloud standards and policies in Europe Jun 02, 2014

Computer Weekly - Among the key areas identified by the European Commission to stimulate growth and create jobs in the region is cloud computing. But Europe needs a single cloud market, and easy-to-understand policies and cloud standards to unleash the technology’s potential in the region, according to the Commission.

“We see cloud as an engine of change and a central ingredient for innovation in Europe,” Francisco Medeiros, deputy head of unit, software and services, cloud computing at European Commission told the Datacentres Europe 2014 audience. “Cloud is one of the fastest-growing markets in Europe.”In 2013, worldwide hardware products registered a 4.2% growth to €401bn while software and services registered a 4.5% growth to €877bn, signifying the importance of software services, said Medeiros.

Cloud computing has the potential to employ millions in the region by 2020.

But Europe needs a Europe-specific cloud strategy to encourage its uptake of cloud computing by enterprises, he said.

“Cloud will create 1.3 million jobs without policy intervention, but it will create more than double – 3.8 million – jobs if appropriate policies are applied,” Medeiros said.

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Digital Single Market for cloud in Europe is crucial, says EC May 28, 2014

Computer Weekly - Europe is moving towards a Digital Single Market for cloud to help promote the uptake of cloud computing in the region and to reduce its complexities.

The EU Digital Single Market is a regulatory framework that will help the region remove national barriers to online transactions. It builds on the concept of the common market, intended to eliminate trade barriers between member states.

“Cloud, by nature, is a cross-border technology,” Francisco Medeiros, deputy head of unit for cloud computing at the European Commission, told Computer Weekly.

“Having a Digital Single Market for cloud computing in Europe is extremely important to give cloud users the assurance about security and data protection,” said Medeiros, speaking at Enterprise Cloud Forum on the first day of the annual Datacentres Europe 2014 event.

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EU urges U.S. to move faster to end Internet monopoly May 22, 2014

Chicago Tribune - The European Commission on Wednesday urged the United States to speed up its promised efforts to dilute U.S. influence over the governance of the Internet, saying it was time for America's monopoly to come to an end.

The U.S. government announced in March that it will give up its most direct means of control over the Internet's infrastructure, but has insisted that the job be taken on by a group that includes the private sector and other interested parties, not just multiple governments.

"The answer is yes, it should be quicker. There's no doubt about that," Neelie Kroes, the European Union commissioner in charge of telecoms policy, told Reuters at United Nations headquarters when asked if she thought the U.S. moves were too slow.

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FCC headman Wheeler calls for an 'open internet' – but what the %$#@! does he mean? May 16, 2014

The Register - One man's 'open' is another man's goldmine.

Just how "open" is US Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler's "open internet"? To paraphrase ex-President Bill Clinton's famous weasel words, "It depends upon what the mean of 'open' is."

On Thursday morning, Wheeler put to a commission vote a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) "to preserve and protect the open internet," as he put it – a new set of regulations that are now open for comment – and ferocious lobbying – that will culminate in a final ruling this summer.

 

The proposal was approved by the commission on a party-line vote, with Wheeler and his two Democratic allies, Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel, voting yes, and the two Republican members, Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly, voting no.

Despite saying that "nothing in this proposal ... authorizes paid prioritization," the extent of the ability for ISPs to do just that is still unclear, and will not be clarified until the end of the comment period beginning today. Wheeler specifically asked for comments on whether third-party companies, apps, and content providers should be allowed to pay for increased-bandwidth "fast lanes" – a pay-to-play ploy that the NPRM in its pre-comment form allows.

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Online Leaders Tell FCC Chairman to Protect a Free, Open Internet May 12, 2014

eWeek - In an open letter to the FCC’s Wheeler, 149 Internet companies said ISPs shouldn’t be able to discriminate against them, technically or financially.

Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Ebay, Twitter and Microsoft are among 149 Internet-based companies that signed a May 7 letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler, expressing their support for a “free and open Internet” and their concern over upcoming changes to the rules that govern the World Wide Web. The online innovations of the last 20 years “happened in a world without [online] discrimination,” the companies said, and the open Internet has “been a platform for free speech and opportunity for billions of users.” They continued:

“According to recent news reports, the Commission intends to propose rules that would enable phone and cable Internet service providers (ISPs) to discriminate both technically and financially against Internet companies and to impose new tolls on them. If these reports are correct, this represents a grave threat to the Internet.

“Instead of permitting individualized bargaining and discrimination, the Commission’s rules should protect users and Internet companies on both fixed and mobile platforms against blocking, discrimination and paid prioritization, and should make the market for Internet services more transparent.”

While the FCC has yet to present the newest draft of the Open Internet Notice on Proposed Rulemaking, The Wall Street Journal reported April 23 that the FCC, while insisting traffic couldn’t be slowed, planned to allow companies to pay extra for faster service.
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Net neutrality protesters set up camp outside FCC headquarters May 08, 2014

The Register - A posse of net neutrality activists has set up a camp outside the Washington, DC headquarters of the Federal Communication Commission to protest the agency's plans to allow a pay-for-play internet.

"We don't have armies of paid lobbyists at our disposal but we cannot let the freedom of the internet be hijacked by giant monopolies," Evan Greer of protest group Fight For The Future told The Guardian.

The protesters have vowed to stay outside the FCC until its May 15 vote on whether to adopt chairman Tom Wheeler's planned rules, which would allow ISPs to negotiate deals with content providers for faster-loading websites in exchange for cash. Wheeler has defended his proposals as "not gutting" net neutrality, but few people agree with his assessment.

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Mozilla asks FCC to unleash the nuclear option on net neutrality May 07, 2014

The Register - Mozilla has filed a formal request to the US Federal Communications Commission asking it to reclassify internet-provision and content-provider's traffic under Title II of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which would ensure the net remains neutral.

The Firefox firm's proposal is twofold. First, it petitions the FCC to reclassify internet traffic as a telecommunications service, meaning it must be provided to all without offering graduated service. Second, Mozilla wants similar protections for relationships between content creators and ISPs, suggesting that this be called remote delivery services and granted the same protections.

 

"The path we propose is grounded in a modern understanding of technology and markets, and drawn from the perspective of Silicon Valley, where so many of the Internet's inventions have originated," said Mozilla's senior policy engineer Chris Riley in a blog post. "Mozilla's proposal would help ensure that the Internet continues to be an innovative and open platform, central to our individual growth and our collective future."

Internet traffic was designated an information service, rather than a telecommunications service, back in 2002 by the then–FCC head Michael Powell – a man with no direct industry experience, but who happened to be the son of General Colin Powell.

It had been hoped, based on campaign statements, that when President Obama took over the presidency his first pick as FCC boss, Julius Genachowski, would reclassify the internet as a telecommunications service under Title II. But Genachowski bottled it, and instead tried to make net neutrality principles enforceable using the FCC's other regulatory mandates.

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Protecting Net Neutrality and the Open Internet May 07, 2014

Mozilla - In January, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order that prevented Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from blocking and discriminating against edge providers, including any website operator, application developer or cloud service provider. We called the court’s ruling “alarming for all Internet users.” As Mozilla Chairwoman Mitchell Baker and then-CEO John Lilly put it in 2009: “Nondiscriminatory access to content is what created the miracle of the Internet. It must be preserved.”

Today, Mozilla formally filed a request with the FCC to take a new path forward. We are asking the FCC to modernize its understanding of Internet access services, and apply its statutory authority for Internet data delivery services in a consistent and complete way. With our proposal, the FCC would be able to shift its attention away from authority questions once and for all, and focus instead on adopting clear rules prohibiting blocking and discrimination online.

The FCC is currently planning to propose new rules that would allow ISPs to charge edge providers for prioritized access over others. Open Internet advocates and media have been very critical of the agency’s strategy. We, too, are concerned that the FCC’s approach would not adequately safeguard the open Internet. Innovation and competition require nondiscriminatory access for all edge providers to end user subscribers, without blocking, throttling, or prioritizing one option relative to others.

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FCC boss Wheeler talks tough on net neutrality with Title II threat Apr 30, 2014

The Register - Just days after being accused of gutting net neutrality provisions in the US, the head of the US Federal Communications Commission is vowing to take any measures necessary to prevent a multi-tiered internet.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said on Tuesday that the commission would continue to enforce an open internet policy, even if that meant using the Title II provision of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, making it subject to stronger regulations.

 

"I do not believe we should leave the market unprotected for multiple more years while lawyers for the biggest corporate players tie the FCC’s protections up in court," Wheeler said in a blog post.

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How can you capitalise on the Internet of Things? Apr 30, 2014

CBR - The Internet of Things (IoT) is beginning to provide the 'wow factor' we've come to expect from successful new technologies. Smart tennis racquets that record ball speeds, toothbrushes that keep track of our daily habits and baby sleep suits that send audio and data to a parent's mobile device all have a certain "cuteness" and appeal - and are suddenly appearing in front of us like signposts to a new, smarter and connected future.

Yet, manufacturers of these products may have only a short window in which to take advantage of their first-to-market status. When our homes, cars, offices, factories and so on are all run by invisible wireless sensors, these will need to be mass produced and therefore become less expensive. With inexpensive sensors available, connected products will proliferate and prices undercut.

So where is the real IoT profit going to come from? The UK government certainly thinks that that there is money to be made. Its announcement last month of an additional £45m of funding, brings funding for IoT research to £73m.

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Net-Neutrality Advocates Angered by FCC’s Planned New Rules Apr 25, 2014

TIME -  Internet service providers could strike special deals with Internet companies like Netflix or Skype for preferential treatment, under proposals by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, violating the ideal of equal access for all consumers.

The Federal Communications Commission plans to propose new rules that would allow Internet service providers to charge content companies for preferential treatment over the “last mile” to users, in a blow for advocates of “Net neutrality,” the principle that consumers should have equal access to content available on the Internet.

 

The proposed rules, which are being circulated among the five FCC commissioners, come three months after a federal court struck down the agency’s 2010 Open Internet Order. After details of the proposal leaked out Wednesday evening, Net-neutrality advocates reacted with anger, with some claiming the new rules threaten the Internet’s traditionally free and open culture.

In a statement released late Wednesday, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler called that notion “flat-out wrong.”

 

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FCC might kill off net neutrality with new pay-for-speed rules – report Apr 24, 2014

The Register - US Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler appears to have had a major change of heart when it comes to net neutrality, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The paper reports that the FCC will propose new rules on net neutrality that would allow companies to pay for faster access to their websites and services, so long as they are sold on "commercially reasonable" terms. This breaks tradition with years of net neutrality, which has allowed all internet users a level competitive playing field.

 

According to the WSJ, the proposed FCC rules would go further; the agency is reportedly backing away from designating internet services as public utilities which must be provided equally for all, in favor of keeping them as information services, which can be run in whatever way the ISP chooses, within reason.

As a sop to neutrality fans, the proposed rules would forbid ISPs from blocking or slowing down access to legal websites, and ISPs that offer wired services would have to give a lot more information about their service speed on the last mile to customers
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All you need to know about Brazil's "Internet Constitution" Apr 24, 2014

ZDNet - Brazil's "Internet Constitution" is due to be voted next week amid a war involving local politicians, some of the largest telecommunications firms and activists over citizens rights online.

The fate of the regulations, dubbed Marco Civil da Internet, was due to be decided earlier this week but disagreement from corporates and the political opposition over the original proposals meant the voting got postponed to next week.

The Marco Civil project is being led by Alessandro Molon of Dilma Rousseff's Workers Party and has already undergone a four-year consultation process.

What is the Marco Civil about?

The Marco Civil da Internet is the first set of internet governance rules in Brazil. Supporters of the Bill see the original text as a positive piece of legislation, which includes provisions across three key pillars: freedom of expression, net neutrality and privacy.

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Europe's telecoms firms thwarted by stricter net neutrality rules May 29, 2015

Reuters - Draft European Union proposals limiting how telecom operators manage the traffic on their networks will not make welcome reading for firms in the industry as they look to prioritise and earn potentially vast income from some types of data.

The draft text on so-called "net neutrality" put forward by Latvia, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, and seen by Reuters, would force telecom companies such as Orange and Telefonica to treat all data equally, something they say is technically impossible.

It is due to be discussed by EU ambassadors on Friday, ahead of the third and possibly final round of negotiations next week between EU member states and the European Parliament to find an agreement on net neutrality and ending mobile roaming charges across the 28-member bloc.

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OpenForum Europe's response to the Trusted Cloud Europe Survey

OpenForum Europe welcomes the opportunity given by the European Commission to comment on the 'Trusted Cloud Europe' document recently put out by the  European Cloud Partnership. We have already publicly expressed our overall support for this initiative which we believe to be a step in the right direction towards achieving a safe and trusted environment for public and private organisations to use, buy and sell cloud computing services. We regret however that the online questionnaire has been drafted in such a way that risks over-simplifying some complex issues. Hence when we felt that no clear-cut answer could be given we have chosen to give our own opinion, with comments.

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A step forward for Net Neutrality in Europe

OFE Statement - Brussels - 4th April 2014 - OpenForum Europe welcomes the historic vote on the new telecom package that took place in the European Parliament on April 3rd and congratulates MEPs and the Commission for their efforts to safeguard the Open Internet in Europe. In an unusually short period of 6 months, this initial phase of the legislative process managed to deliver a solid basis for the Council of the EU to work on. We have explained before why we believe that iron-clad guarantees for net neutrality are needed to ensure continued innovation and fair, open competition in the online ecosystem. The Internet is an enormous engine for growth and access to knowledge, and key to its success has always been the possibility for anyone, anywhere to freely create and share content with every other user on the network.
Full Text of the Release

 

OFA Round Table - "Exploring the economic impact of net neutrality in Europe"

9th December 2013 - Brussels - In September 2013 the European Commission unveiled its proposals for a new Telecoms package, including the draft Regulation coined as Connected Continent. One of its key components is a new set of rules intended to safeguard net neutrality. While such action has been long-awaited by many stakeholders, the current proposal is not without criticism. At a time when business models on the Internet are evolving and many European countries are already taking action to ensure a fair and balanced framework the time is now for the EU to take action.

 In line with its mission to spur insight and innovative thinking into the issues which impact the openness of technology, OpenForum Academy together with MEP Marietje Schaake organised a European Parliament Round Table on 13th November 2013. The discussion was dedicated to the economic aspects of net neutrality, and in particular the proposed provisions regarding so-called “specialised services”. How will this impact the different economic actors in the value-chain, and how would such services affect the open, non-discriminatory character of the Internet?
Full text of the Report


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