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France's Telecom Regulator Thinks Net Neutrality Should Also Apply To Devices 38

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: The ARCEP, France's equivalent of the FCC in the U.S., wants to go beyond telecommunications companies. While many regulatory authorities have focused on carriers and internet service providers, the French authority thinks Google, Apple, Amazon and all the big tech companies also need their own version of net neutrality. The ARCEP just published a thorough 65-page report about the devices we use every day. The report says that devices give you a portion of the internet and prevent an open internet. "With net neutrality, we spend all our time cleaning pipes, but nobody is looking at faucets," ARCEP president Sebastien Soriano told me. "Everybody assumes that the devices that we use to go online don't have a bias. But if you want to go online, you need a device just like you need a telecom company."

Now that net neutrality has been laid down in European regulation, the ARCEP has been looking at devices for the past couple of years. And it's true that you can feel you're stuck in an ecosystem once you realize you have to use Apple Music on an Apple Watch, or the Amazon Echo assumes you want to buy stuff on when you say "Alexa, buy me a tooth brush." Voice assistants and connected speakers are even less neutral than smartphones. Game consoles, smartwatches and connected cars all share the same issues. The ARCEP doesn't think we should go back to computers and leave our phones behind. This isn't a debate about innovation versus regulation. Regulation can also foster innovation. "This report has listed for the first time ever all the limitations you face as a smartphone user," Soriano said. "By users, we mean both consumers and developers who submit apps in the stores."
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France's Telecom Regulator Thinks Net Neutrality Should Also Apply To Devices

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  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Thursday February 15, 2018 @06:09PM (#56131178)

    Everyone should have equal access to advertise to Facebook readers. All YouTube videos should be treated equally. Also all search results and ad placements should be handled equally, with no extra charge for preferred placement.

    If we don’t get Media Neutrality, companies will have to pay extra to connect with the specific users they want to advertise to. It’ll be the end of the Internet!

    • Also all search results and ad placements should be handled equally

      When I search for something, how fair is is that only things with names similar to the words I searched for are displayed? Maybe that Sponge Bob pajama set identifies as a router or fire extinguisher. Who are you to say only Linksys or Cisco can join in the private club of my search results, you RACIST search engine. Let every search return all results possible, and it better all be first page!

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday February 15, 2018 @06:19PM (#56131216) Homepage Journal can feel you're stuck in an ecosystem once you realize you have to use Apple Music on an Apple Watch

    Funny....I've never had to use Apple Music on my Apple Watch, and I listen to music at the gym nearly every morning.

    • by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Thursday February 15, 2018 @06:35PM (#56131284)

      App store owners, particularly Apple, have a history of blocking or removing apps which they seem provide the same functionality as built-in apps. In other words, competitors.

      This goes not only for apps that get fully blocked (e.g. Phone app, lock screen, 3rd party app stores) but also reduced functionality (integration with the control center, full speed web rendering, motion icons, etc.).

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Thursday February 15, 2018 @06:22PM (#56131232)
    So, someone with a Razr should sue Supercell for not making Clash of Clans compatible with a 2004 non-smart phone? How do you determine what must be supported by whom? Does this mean that Halo for PS4 is on the way? Or is this just for Android/Apple?

    And what about Windows Mobile. Is this to the point of forcing everything onto Window's platform? If so, this isn't an Apple/Android thing, but a massive handout to MS.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      No, that's not what the regulator is suggesting. The regulator is simply suggesting that, if Microsoft wanted to make Edge for iOS, Apple wouldn't be allowed to stop them.

    • You've got it backwards. Assume, via witchcraft, Windows Phone somehow started taking off. It's about making sure that Clash of Clans can be on Windows Phone, and not only Age of Empires (a MS product). It's about making sure that Walmart and Target can deliver what you order off Alexa. It's about preventing being locked into an ecosystem by replacing all the native options. It's the whole "what combination of features do you want in a distro" vs. "This is the new Windows, suck it up"

  • Hmm... Nope. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pubwvj ( 1045960 ) on Thursday February 15, 2018 @06:43PM (#56131308)

    When I read this at first I thought, "Hmm... interesting idea." But, my devices aren't blocking me from accessing the net. I browse with web browsers that follow the HTML and other standards so everything is available. I happen to use Safari on the MacOS and iOS but I also have many other browsers which I sometimes use for testing my web pages to see how they load. Frankly, it is really the responsibility of the content developer (webmaster) to make sure their sites are accessible to as many users as possible which is pretty simple by following the standards.

    So, no, this is not needed. I call it overregulation.

    • how do you get around "vendor lock-in" without some sort of regulation e.g. skype, facetime?
      • by pubwvj ( 1045960 )

        It's a free market. Other vendors produce other products. If you don't like Skype or Facetime then use something else. There are alternatives.

  • Wait until he learns about programming languages...

    In the mean time, all client/server communication should accept all standards: xmlrpc, json, rest, and whatever competing standard I forgot.

  • I always thought that even something like Apple's requirement for app developers to use https instead of plain http violates net neutrality at least in spirit. The gatekeepers like Apple and Google effectively act as Internet service providers to their app developer community because there is this hard, mandatory separation inside the device between the access provider (the OS and system services) and the actual endpoint of the communications link (i.e. the application). If a real ISP, say a DSL service p

  • This is a fine example of the pattern of corporations hating nothing more than an actually free market, and of regulation actually making a market more free.

    I would even argue, that all regulation that made markets less free was directly created by corporations themselves, to strangle their competition, while conveniently being able to blame "the government" for "regulation". But I doubt there's even a single law nowadays that isn't completely and 100% created by corporate lobbyists. Which nowadays is the s

    1. 1. Embrace the term "Net Neutrality."
    2. 2. Extend it to mean whatever ridiculous idea pops into your head.
    3. 3. Extinguish all useful discussion about Net Neutrality.
    4. 4. Profilt!
  • We could just forbid browsers and devices to send stuff like user agent strings.

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong