Net Neutrality

Will internet fleece our pockets ?

On 17-Jul-2015, the newspapers carried a complex heading, that no one really understood. It said, customers would be charged for Skype and Whatsapp. I thought, being from the software industry where people had struggled hard for internet, it was bizarre and would certainly eat the nerves of the internet developers, who had opted for an open internet, designed open interfaces, and wrote open software.

I volunteered to moderating a conference “Net Neutrality” of 25 leading lawyers, law firms , Legal heads of corporate, and content providers, organized by The Indian Lawyers Foundation in India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road Delhi. Dr Tarun Vijay the BJP member RS chaired the meeting. Answering the questions, he tried to convince us that nothing untoward will be done to the consumer’s interest. I requested him, not to turn and twist the technical definitions of the terms like carrier, information, broadband etc towards a legal domain that defines controls and regulations. But for this purpose the BJP went with the citizens.

Going deeper into the issue of Facebook’s Internet org and the Zero Rating of Airtel I read the comments of DOT, which were published in the newspapers. You must know that DoT is the third tier of organization dealing with this aspect. Technically they object to free phone calls made on Skype and Whatsapp, but have no concern about the SMS on Whatsapp, Facebook, Google etc. However, theirs is only one technical opinion and their opinion is not tainted by lobbying. The second tier ie TRAI will intervene and give its own recommendations to the government then the regulation or the law will be made. I recommended the use of competition law to be followed rather than a new law, and I coined the term Net Partiality, that the audience liked. For the time being no worries … Full article elsewhere

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