In my last post I talked about the new Dutch Telecom law which includes net neutrality and an opt-in cookie law. I mentioned that the exception “C” was under review and the verdict is in.
Exception “C”; Providers may block certain content to a particular end user, but only when the particular end user in question has given explicit permission. This exception has been issued to give the end user the possibility to block certain unwanted content. This can be parents having all explicit material blocked on their account, so their children will have access to a “child save” internet.
The minister has ruled that it would be almost impossible for ISP’s to guarantee a complete blockade of certain content and to do so for the individual users. The technical and administrative implications are huge, especially when you have tailor-made/filter internet access for individual accounts. So this exception was taken out. Thus making the law a more complete net neutrality law.
I applaud the minister for doing so. Not because ISP’s don’t face the technical and administrative implications, but for the simple fact that’s wrong to try to shut out information. We shouldn’t filter out information by law and on forehand. People have a choice and they have to make it for themselves. Let’s say person A has wife (person B) and family (kids C &D) and they eat very healthy and don’t like fast food. In real life they can avoid to go to the fast food restaurants and go to store with more healthy products. They have access to these stores. If they want, they have access to it, but they can choose not to. If person A would be allowed to tell his ISP to block all information related to fast food, what would that mean? Would it somehow not exist anymore? Will they not be able to get to this information through TV, libraries, radio, etc? And who’s drawing the line of what content has to be blocked and what not? And if kid C wants to do a report on fast food? How will he/she get their info? How will they learn and know what and why to avoid fast food? Is it morally correct to shut children from access to information? And what if kid D becomes an adult? Does the blockage invoked by person A still apply to him/her? And why have a net neutrality law when the access to all data can still be blocked/filtered by a person?
As you can see, they are many reasons why I’m happy the exception got thrown out. The main reason being the fact that I feel it’s important to a person to have access to all information, so he or she get knowledge about it and then dismiss it if they want. But dismissing on forehand is censorship and gives a narrow-minded view. And this world needs people to understand and reach out more, instead of staying in a bubble.