Blocking Of Internet Traffic Common In Europe – EU ReportPublished on 14 March 2012 @ 12:11 pm
Intellectual Property Watch
By Maricel Estavillo for Intellectual Property Watch
Operators and internet service providers in Europe resort mostly to blocking voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) and peer-to-peer traffics to guard the security of and prevent congestion on their networks, according to a preliminary report from the European Union telecommunications regulator, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC).
The two measures are the most common internet traffic management practices deployed by providers of internet on both fixed and mobile networks. The report, the first of its kind from BEREC, was undertaken to identify emerging trends in traffic management practices and to find evidence of negative experiences from users and content and application providers resulting from the practices. The report was based on the responses from 400 operators surveyed.
The link to the report is here [pdf].
“When blocking/throttling is implemented in the network, it is typically done through deep packet inspection,” BEREC said in a press release. From its survey, BEREC said it found operators resorting to a “wide-range of practices” and also using a “wide-range of implementation methods” to include active buffering and application-specific techniques.
Policy justifications given by respondents include security issues such as controlling spam and for them to prevent network congestion to allow them to offer specialised services such as internet telephony or TV.
The preliminary report was submitted by BEREC to the European Commission on 6 March. The regulatory body will publish the full report in the second quarter of the year.
Paris-based advocacy group La Quadrature du Net said in a press release that the findings in the report confirm the complaints against net restrictions that were submitted by some European customers on the RespectMyNet.eu platform. The group is now calling for an EU-wide internet neutrality law.
“Such widespread practices clearly show that EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes’ ‘laisser-faire’ approach on net neutrality allows operators to violate their users’ freedom of communication and privacy. She can no longer deny the evidence and must urgently propose a EU-wide law on Net Neutrality, so as to ensure that freedoms online but also innovation and competition in the digital economy are protected,” said La Quadrature spokesperson Jérémie Zimmermann.
Maricel Estavillo, an intern at Intellectual Property Watch, is an LL.M. in Intellectual Property and Competition Law Candidate at the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center (MIPLC). A former business journalist in Manila, Philippines, she is currently working on research on copyright in digital media for her Master’s thesis.
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