Net neutrality on the chopping block

Government Bill grants powers to axe Internet laws

Net neutrality and the Open Internet are under threat from a proposed new law that is now before Parliament. The government wants to scrap more than 2400 EU-derived laws, including the legal framework that underpins the UK Internet. It would mean the UK would no longer have a net neutrality law. This is the principle that prevents broadband providers from interfering with content. The prohibition on general monitoring would also fall away.

This proposed new law is the Retained EU Law Bill It is sponsored by Jacob Rees-Mogg, the current Secretary of State for Business. It is part of former Prime Minister Liz Truss’ now discredited economic plans. The Bill will put in place a Sunset Clause to remove EU laws from the Statute by the end of December 2023. More than 2400 laws that were implemented in UK law by Statutory Instrument will be affected.

Two of these laws are critical to protect freedom of expression and access to online content. These are the Open Internet Access Regulations 2016 and E-commerce Regulations 2002. Both of these implemented EU laws by means of Statutory Instruments, which makes them a target of this Bill.

Once removed, there would be no protection in UK law against broadband providers filtering and blocking the Internet, or giving favoured terms to content platforms willing to pay for it.

Abolishing the Open Internet Regulations would reverse the net neutrality principle that has been enshrined in UK

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