According to ZDNet, European internet service providers (ISPs) have been “breaking rules and shaping traffic” despite net neutrality regulations.
The current net neutrality rules, which have been in place since 2016, enable European ISPs to “inspect and shape traffic” under special circumstances, including network resource optimization. Other uses, such as commercial or surveillance monitoring, are not allowed.
The group called European Digital Rights (EDRi), recently sent a letter to European authorities expressing concerns about ISPs breaking net neutrality rules. The letter comes as the European government develops new net neutrality laws “behind closed doors with national telecom regulators,” ZDNet says.
EDRi is mostly concerned with the increased utilization of deep-packet inspection technology (DPI tech), because it can be used to by ISPs to shape traffic, enforce tiered pricing plans, and threatens users’ privacy. In the letter to the European government, the group reported that 186 ISPs have been using DPI tech to offer users a variety of pricing offers. EDRi also says that regulators have “turned a blind eye on these net neutrality violations” instead of fulfilling their duty.
What decision makers should know about DPI tech:
According to ZDNet, DPI tech should not be legalized for two major reasons: first, if they are legalized, there’s a fear that telcos might users it as a loophole to disguise tiered pricing plans as benign traffic management operations, and ultimately bypass net neutrality rules. Second, telcos might overlook users’ privacy and view their data without consent, “under the guise of ‘approved’ traffic management.”
For now, all decision makers can do about DPI tech is wait. ZDNet says European authorities will hold a public consultation on new net neutrality rules in the fall; the new rules will be voted on in spring 2020. While it’s currently unclear which way the vote will go, “EDRi and its partners hope DPI will not be legalized, and effectively neuter both net neutrality and EU privacy legislations,” ZDNet reports.