Net neutrality, anti-cookie legislation approved by senate

New legislation guaranteeing unhindered access to the internet and banning the unauthorised use of cookies was approved by the upper house of parliament on Wednesday.

This means the Netherlands is only the second country in the world, after Chile, to enshrine net neutrality in law, the Financieele Dagblad said.
The legislation was introduced after telecom firms said they would bring in new subscriptions for clients who use certain mobile phone applications. The law means telecom companies will not be able to charge more money for services offered by competitors, such as WhatsApp or Skype.
The legislation also sets limits to the use of tracking text files known as cookies.
Cookies allow publishers to track the behaviour of internet users so they can monitor browsing behaviour and, for example, better target advertising or automatically fill in forms.
Under the new legislation, cookies can only be placed if the user gives express permission to do so. In addition, whoever collects the information must be able to prove they have the user’s permission.
The legislation was passed by the lower house of parliament last summer and has been heavily criticised by publishers and some internet users groups.
The government has now agreed not to implement this aspect of the new legislation until the EU has completed its investigation into alternatives for the cookie ban.
According to the Volkskrant, the legislation also breaks open the Dutch cable market, forcing cable firms to allow their competitors to use their networks.

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