Norway claims agreement on “net neutrality”

The Consumer Council of Norway, the Consumer Ombudsman, Norwegian Internet service providers and the Norwegian regulatory authority have come to an agreement on joint guidelines for “net neutrality”. The Norwegian consumer groups are proud of negotiating this list, while they recognize that none of the ISPs there have yet committed any of the abuses this agreement is designed to prevent.

Not all ISPs have agreed yet, but industry participants who were part of the agreement include Telenor, Get, Lyse Tele, Telio Telecom, ICT Norway, the Norwegian Media Businesses' Association, and Schibsted. The principles underlying the agreement are:
1. Internet users are entitled to an Internet connection with a predefined capacity and quality.
2. Internet users are entitled to an Internet connection that enables them to – send and receive content of their choice – use services and run applications of their choice – connect hardware and use software of their choice that do not harm the network.
3. Internet users are entitled to an Internet connection that is free of discrimination with regard to type of application, service or content or based on sender or receiver.

With respect to principle 2, it is not clear whether the agreement will have any impact on the content blocking or filtering. Norwegian ISPs maintain a list of blocked content that is developed by Kripos, a department of the Norwegian police, but is said by one source to be voluntary for end users to install. According to Wikileaks, which recently released Norway's secret Internet censorship list, “The [Kripos] list is generated without judicial or public oversight and is kept secret by the ISPs using it.”

It is also not clear whether this principle is interpreted in a way that would limit efforts by copyright holders to impose intermediate liability on ISPs for copyright infringement. According to ONI, there have been discussions of copyright-motivated deviations from the net neutrality principle, but as far as we know none have been implemented.

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