Tuesday, August 16, 2016

IFLA Statement on Net Neutrality and Zero-Rating #WLIC2016

The IFLA Statement on Net Neutrality and Zero-Rating was launched at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Columbus, USA. They define network neutrality and zero-rating (I have copied some of this text, below) and identify the issues for libraries and librarians (which touch very much on issues of access on equality). The Statement can be downloaded at http://www.ifla.org/publications/node/10700
"Network neutrality, or net neutrality, is the principle that all data or traffic on the Internet should be treated equally. Internet users’ freedom of choice should not be restricted or affected giving preferential treatment to certain content, services, applications, or devices."

"Zero-rating is the practice according to which data consumption of specific applications or services is not counted against users’ data allowance. ... Zero-rating violates the principle of net neutrality because the services that are zero-rated are positively discriminated, thus allowing ISPs to orientate the choice of the users. Moreover, in spite of the acclaimed risk that infrastructure may not bear traffic growth, zero rated services attract inordinate levels of traffic due to their low or no cost. This distorts the consumption of content and can lead to the “walled garden effect” where a user’s experience of the Internet is limited to the zero-rated services alone."

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