Net Neutrality and Free Software: The Case of Router Freedom in Europe
Router Freedom is a net neutrality principle that Internet Access Providers (IAPs) must not the limit the users’ right to choose their own routers and modems to connect to the Internet protected in Europe since 2015. However, new rules on EU has created challenges router freedom, given that IAPs will be able to limit the right based on «objective technological necessity». The talk will go through the historical aspects and future developments in Europe.
Net neutrality is the principle that Internet Access Providers (IAPs) must treat all Internet communications equally, and not discriminate or charge differently based on user, content, website, platform, application and type of access equipment. The FSFE has been involved with net neutrality advocacy in Europe since 2013, achieving positive results in Germany with a law securing end-users the right of free choice of routers and modems.
In the context of the reform of European telecommunications law, EU Member States must implement in their national jurisdiction the European Electronic Communications Code (Directive (EU) 2018/1972), which brings new rules on router freedom, allowing IAPs to limit the rights of users if they can determine an «objective technological necessity» for imposing their routers and modems on consumers.
The talk will go through the historical developments in the last two years in Europe to present an overview on the positions on the debate in regards to router freedom and the consequences for Free Software.
As a take away, the talk will propose the discussion around the main principles of net neutrality and freedom of terminal equipment within the EU legal framework.