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European net neutrality is under attack

May 24, 2019 · 3 min read

European net neutrality is under attack

When the US destroyed its net neutrality, millions of Europeans looked on secure in the thought that their net neutrality would be respected by the EU and its Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Unfortunately, this is not the case. Net neutrality is under attack by ISPs in the EU as well.

EU ISPs — at least as many as 186 of them — are using something called Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to read all of your traffic and decide whether they want you to be free online or not.

What is net neutrality?

Net neutrality is the idea that all internet connections should be treated equally. In a world without net neutrality, ISPs can limit what you can and can’t see, charge you extra to access certain sites or services, and internet censorship is commonplace.

BEREC — the EU’s electronic communications regulator — has a law guaranteeing net neutrality. However, ISPs are lobbying actively to undermine the law, and some are even ignoring it and violating EU users’ rights using loopholes.

EDRi, an EU digital rights organization that encompasses thousands of rights advocates and civil rights organizations, wrote a letter asking the EU to stand against ISPs’ lobbying efforts and protect EU users’ rights.

What you need to know

  • ISPs know how to sell surveillance. Net neutrality has already been violated in the EU by some ISPs because they know how to make it seem attractive. Any service plan involving conditions based on the sites or services you use requires DPI for it to work.

    Is your ISP offering a plan where you can use a certain app without consuming your data? That’s DPI – they need to scan your traffic to do so. Are they offering a low-cost plan in exchange for blocking certain services or sites? That’s DPI.

  • DPI can be abused. Once you accept DPI, ISPs can use it in many different ways. Indeed, ISPs were abusing this technology illegally before net neutrality was even repealed in the US. ISPs can throttle traffic, censor content, and track user traffic in greater detail than before.

Net neutrality protects the EU’s users from these abuses. When it’s gone, users’ privacy, security, and user experience online will all suffer while ISPs grow wealthier.

What can you do to fight back?

This is what NordVPN was made to do – secure your traffic. Using NordVPN will make DPI impossible, since your traffic will be secured by military-grade encryption and your ISP won’t be able to see it. That means they can’t discriminate against your traffic based on what you’re doing.

NordVPN protects your traffic from DPI, and you can try it risk-free with our 30-day money-back guarantee.

However, this is a purely private solution – you’ll only protect yourself and your family. It’s also important to make your voice heard and let the EU know that its users want net neutrality to be protected and enforced. For now, we recommend you do that by following EDRi. If we hear of any more significant ways to contribute to the defense of net neutrality, we’ll update our readers here.

You can also sign up for our blog newsletter below to hear the latest cybersecurity and privacy news and tips once a month.


Daniel Markuson
Daniel Markuson successVerified author

Daniel is a digital privacy enthusiast and an internet security expert. As the blog editor at NordVPN, Daniel is generous with spreading news, stories, and tips through the power of a well-written word.


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