Rutgers Computer & Technology Law Journal
Network Neutrality: Laissez-Faire Approach or Not?
June 10, 2008
By Daniel B. Garrie & Rebecca Wong
The paper discusses the subject of network neutrality from an American and European legal perspective. While acknowledging the plethora of literature on network neutrality, it argues that regulation in favor of network neutrality should not be confined within the U.S./European borders, but rather network neutrality should be addressed from a global perspective through the OECD/WTO. The article will begin by defining network neutrality before discussing the technology underpinning network neutrality. It will compare the different legal approaches adopted by Europe and the United States to the regulation of network neutrality. In Europe, there is an existing electronic communications regulatory framework, which can be used to address the network neutrality problem. In particular, this article will examine the Access and Interconnection Directive, arguing that further regulations at the European level are not necessary given the legal infrastructure. The main concerns arising from the United States’ unilateral stance is whether it will cause a digital divide in the electronic communications market. Legislation in the area of network neutrality is not perceived as necessary in Europe. Any regulation at a European level would disrupt the existing electronic communications framework. In the United States, network neutrality appears to be the only viable legal path. Network technology violates the spirit of the U.S. Wiretap Law and several State specific privacy laws. The article will conclude that the United States’ stance to adopt network neutrality legislation will cause a seismic shift in the way we view technology.
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