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Europe Votes on the Future of Its Internet Tomorrow

Proposed legislation aims to protect net neutrality across the EU, but major loopholes threaten to undermine it.

European Parliament / Flickr

Europe’s Internet is about to go on trial, and activists are very worried about its future.

On Tuesday, European lawmakers will vote on a proposal that aims to protect net neutrality — the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all Web traffic equally, without discriminating against some services in favor of others. The proposed legislation broadly prohibits ISPs from charging websites for faster connections, ostensibly keeping the Web open and equal. But it also includes major loopholes that could undermine the very principle that it claims to protect.

If lawmakers approve the regulations tomorrow, they will become law across the EU, replacing existing net neutrality laws already implemented in the Netherlands and Slovenia. And if the proposal is passed without amendments, experts say it could have devastating impacts on innovation, market competition and consumer privacy.

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