This book explains the beginnings of net neutrality regulation in the United States and Europe, and some of the current debate over access to Specialised Services: fast lanes with higher Quality of Service (QoS). It examines the new European law of 2015 and the interaction between that law and interception/privacy. The book takes a deep dive into UK self- and co-regulation of net neutrality. In each of the national case studies, initial confusion at lack of clarity in net neutrality laws gave way to significant cases, particularly since 2014, which have given regulators the opportunity to clarify their legislation or regulation. The majority of such cases relate to mobile net neutrality, and in particular so-called 'zero rating' practices. The book compares results and proposes a regulatory toolkit for those jurisdictions that intend effective practical partial or complete implementation of net neutrality. It sets out a future research agenda for exploring implementation of regulation. The book outlines competition policy's purpose, referring to the exceptionally rigorous recent analysis of competition law suitability to regulate net neutrality by Maniadaki. Having analysed regulatory tools with little chance of success, it then examines what communications regulators actually do: regulating telecoms access based on the UK case study. The book considers whether zero rating poses a serious challenge to Open Internet use. It explores some of the wider international problems of regulating the newest manifestation of discrimination: zero rating. The book also considers the various means by which government can regulate net neutrality.
Neutrality as a concept and practice has long been conceptualised in IR theory as problematic. Broadly seen as the tool of small and weak states with dubious moral credentials, a limited understanding of neutrality has persisted from the Peloponnesian War to the ‘war on terror’. Furthermore, as globalisation and non-traditional security problems animate international politics, neutrality is seen as a policy of the past. This book argues that neutrality has been a neglected and misunderstood subject, limited to realist understandings of war and viable statecraft, and in doing so aims to uncover the normative strands of neutrality that mesh with identity, security and alternatives to the anarchic international order. Using Sweden as a case study, it explores the domestic roots of neutrality via a constructivist analysis, examining how neutrality is embedded in ideas of self, and part of a wider Social Democratic vision of active internationalism. Identity, however, is malleable and subject to change, and this analysis also considers the impact of globalisation and European integration, the end of bipolarity, and new security threats such as global terrorism on neutrality as an idea and a practice.
But what is neutrality? I don’t
understand it. It means nothing. (Gustavus Adolphus to George
Frederick, Elector of Brandenburg, cited in Politis, 1935 : 13)
NEUTRALITY STANDS AS one of the
most under-represented concepts in international political relations.
Winston Churchill 2
Zero-rate friends and family;
specialised-service your enemies
After 20 years we have reached the
point of no return: we have net neutrality law in Europe, and in many
other countries. It has even been accepted as a principle of the United
Nations, as I explore later in this chapter. It is
neutrality, threatening freedom of expression, equality
of opportunity, security, privacy and innovation.
Access Now 1
This chapter critically examines
the relatively few examples of regulatory implementation of network
neutrality enforcement at national level outside the EEA examples of
Norway, Slovenia and the Netherlands explored in Chapter
NEUTRALITY HAS ONLY enjoyed
attention as a problematic category of international political life. On
the whole, this seems rather unsurprising. The story of neutrality
garners little interest when measured against more exciting topics such
as war, ‘the stuff of great drama’. (Spielberg, 1998 ) In the history of nations, the dominant
stories that capture the imagination are those that tell of how the
Tracing the origins of Swedish neutrality, 1814–1945
IF NEUTRALITY IS ‘what
states make of it’, then the conceptualisation of neutrality can
go beyond mere isolationism and provide a more complex reading of the
neutral state. By examining the normative basis of Swedish neutrality, a
competing story emerges that is central to questions of identity and how
modern Swedish neutrality would be practised. This chapter examines the
office and neutrality became more
principled, activist, and internationalist. Social Democratic ideals of
solidarity, equality and reform were played out through Sweden’s
active neutrality policy. Sweden developed a distinct profile on the
international stage through its UN membership, commitment to solidarity
with the developing world, pursuit of disarmament, peacekeeping and
mediation, and criticism of
There have been suggestions that we
don’t need legislation because we haven’t had it.
These are nonsense, because in fact we have had net neutrality
in the past – it is only recently that real explicit
threats have occurred.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee 1
Intellectual freedom in libraries
The issue of de-platforming – the denial of a real-world or virtual public venue to controversial speakers – has exposed a significant rift in the library profession. In 2019 and 2020, for example, transphobic speakers used libraries’ commitments to neutrality and intellectual freedom (the equivalent of free speech and free expression in librarianship) to disseminate views harmful to trans communities in North America. By booking rooms at public libraries these speakers leverage the trust our communities have in libraries in