EC: New net-neutrality law is unnecessary – “EC: New net-neutrality law is unnecessary”

The Conseil constitutionnel (French Constitutional Court) rejected part of the Bill nicknamed Hadopi in its provisions that were allowing an administrative authority to cut the right to access the internet. The Authority, although independent, did not provide sufficient safeguards to the internet user, given that was at stake freedom of expression. Only a court, as part of the judiciary with its own requirements of independence and impartiality, could take such decision.

The decision is interesting for several reasons:
1- in relation to the “independent administrative authority” system which France is so fond of, the decision puts a halt to a recurrent trend to transfer legal issues from the courts to non judicial authorities.
2 – it is a reminder that freedom of communication and expression are so intrinsic to the internet, that any measure curtailing it, whatever the justification offered, must be assessed by the courts. Compared with what is happening with ISPs taking down materials, the decision makes one think about the appropriateness of those take down notices procedure not validated by courts…
3 – I am not as sure as the Commission that net neutrality is not needed; resorting to courts is not the main method within Europe. Harmonisation at EU level should be certain before engaging into a dangerous path

About Audrey Guinchard

Senior Lecturer @ University of Essex (UK)
This entry was posted in Countries - France, EU policy, Filtering, Offences - Piracy, Providers as law enforcement agents, Providers' liability. Bookmark the permalink.

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