Marc Peeters on Network Neutrality: “Ironically, the Internet Isn’t Neutral At All”

Marc Peeters on Network Neutrality: “Ironically, the Internet Isn’t Neutral At All”

I have known Marc Peeters personally since 2009 when we both studied Law and Technology at Tilburg University. During this time, I have learned (at least) three important things about him. He is a brilliant lawyer, a good friend and a real party person.

I have decided to ask Marc several questions in relation to his experience not only because he has always been a great company to discuss things with, but also given the public interest that net neutrality and related topics are enjoying lately.

Net Neutrality for Dummies

Net Neutrality for Dummies

What is Net Neutrality? Network Neutrality is usually defined as the principle that internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all online content equally without blocking or slowing down specific websites on purpose or allowing companies to pay for preferential treatment. Translated into non-lawyers language it means that your internet connection should treat all websites and services the same – e.g. you should not be charged more for accessing your email and less for Facebook and if you refuse to pay more to access your email, such access should not be throttled or blocked just based on such different treatment. Same applies to the company providing such service – they should not be charged more for the provision of access to their services and probably blocked or slowed down. In addition, Network Neutrality extends further to prevent different treatment based on user, platform, content, application, mode of communication, etc. The term “network neutrality” was first used by the Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu in 2003. Everybody agrees however, that there must be certain exceptions and some internet traffic may be filtered and discriminated against in cases of network congestion, spam, for legal purposes, etc. An Example Prominent example of non-net neutrality involved the US ISP Comcast which has been accused of slowing down competitors’ services such as Netflix and giving preference to its own similar services. in 2007 Comcast, according to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), “deployed equipment throughout its network to monitor the content of its customers’ Internet connections and selectively block specific types of connections known as peer-to-peer connections. It was brought to light by Comcast...
How to Write a Pivacy Policy That Works

How to Write a Pivacy Policy That Works

When you hear someone mentioning privacy and data protection, you might think it affects you only when your privacy is at stake. However, as soon as you start your business’ online presence and even more when you actively start doing business online (as well as offline), certain obligations to protect individuals’ privacy start to exist for you. Many people are not aware that the EU has stricter privacy and data protection rules compared to the USA for example – that is to say that here, in good old Europe, we take privacy very seriously. PRIVACY POLICY, WHY? Here are several tips as to why you need to implement a Privacy Policy on your website: You are required by law to inform users about certain aspects of processing personal data; You are required by some of your providers to have a Privacy Policy (e.g. when you use Google Analytics, PayPal, etc.); You need a way to obtain users’ consent about the personal data processing you do; It makes you (look) more transparent and honest to customers/business partners, i.e. it creates trust. PRIVACY POLICY GENERAL TIPS Keep it simple Do not use too sophisticated legal language – all that legal mumbo-jumbo sounds great for lawyers, but everyone else finds it really hard to read and understand. And a well-kept secret is that even lawyers are often bored and confused by excessive legal terminology. Be specific and include details (not to the extreme) At the same time you need to include specific details about the way you process personal data, the types of data you process, etc. Including a privacy policy that...
eLaw Guide for Bloggers (Part 3) or Why It Is a Bad Idea to Share Details About Your Neighbor’s PMS on Your Blog

eLaw Guide for Bloggers (Part 3) or Why It Is a Bad Idea to Share Details About Your Neighbor’s PMS on Your Blog

We already discussed how to use other people’s creative works and how to protect your intellectual property online, so now it is time to find out more about the legal aspects of privacy when running your blog, as well as other important issues to consider such as spam, defamation, using third party blog tools, user generated content, etc. Privacy and data protection or just do not share details of your neighbor’s PMS on your blog Processing other people’s personal data is carefully regulated in Europe and should be taken seriously. Under EU law, personal data can only be gathered legally under strict conditions, for a legitimate purpose. Personal information is any information about an individual who can be identified and relates to his physical, physiological, mental, economic, cultural or social identity. It includes data such as name, address, phone number, place of birth, ID and passport data, marital status, professional biography, mental condition, sexual orientation, race, religious views, property and financial status, participation in companies, etc. Processing personal data more or less includes any operation performed with regards to the information, such as collection, recording, organization, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission and many others. Simply said, if you happen to share info on your blog about your coworker who broke their leg and stayed home on sick leave, maybe a bit too long, be advised that this may be illegal, unless your colleague expressly agreed on you posting this information. One of the most important principles of data protection is that personal data should not be processed at all, except when certain conditions are...
Hate Comments in Commercial Media Websites – No More, Please!

Hate Comments in Commercial Media Websites – No More, Please!

It is a story about mr.L (a ferry company majority shareholder), an article in Delfi (one of the largest Estonian news portals), plenty of insulting comments under the article and the freedom of expression in the EU. The story ended recently on June 16, 2015 when the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) upheld the 2013 decision of the Chamber of the ECtHR on the Delfi v. Estonia (no.64569/09) case. But let`s see how did it all begin. The Story It all started in 2006 with an article about mr. L’s shipping company which changed routes of its ferries and the implications this change had on ice roads. Hundreds of angry comments followed with about 20 of them being truly insulting to mr. L and even vulgar. The owner’s lawyers contacted Delfi and requested the immediate removal of the defamatory comments and the payment of damages to mr. L. Delfi, following its notice-and-takedown regime, deleted the comments (which have been visible for 6 weeks already) the same day, but refused to pay damages. Thus, Mr. L brought the case to the Estonian court, claiming about 32,000 EUR in damages. Estonian Court decision(s) Delfi lost the case in the Estonian courts and damages were awarded to the shipping company owner. The courts in Estonia concluded that the comments, being defamatory and insulting, cannot be protected as freedom of expression. The amount of the damages have been ridiculously small, only 320 EUR, but one may wonder how did Delfi lost at all, considering the limited liability provided to intermediaries under the EU’s e-Commerce Directive. Indeed Delfi claimed...
Legal Issues When Selling Online in the EU

Legal Issues When Selling Online in the EU

You are an EU company selling services online (information society services) or you are planning to establish an entity somewhere in the EU and to sell to EU clients. Not a problem, but you just need to be aware of a list of items that the company must cover in order to comply with all regulations for a EU business selling services online. The applicable acts to be taken into account would be different depending on the specific country you operate but regardless of the country, they all implement the EU’s Electronic Commerce Directive 2000 and others applicable into local law and practically every commercial website would be covered by it. The following article covers Business to Business (B2B) transactions, i.e. selling to business clients online. For companies selling to individual consumers (natural persons), additional requirements and specific consumer protection rules apply that will be included in my next post. MINIMUM INFORMATION TO BE PROVIDED: You are bound by law to provide at least the following information to your potential clients: the name of the service provider on the site.; the geographic address of the company; the details of the company including email address; details of a register, including any registration number; if the company is a member of a trade or similar register available to the public, confirmation of that; the particulars of the relevant supervisory authority if the services are subject to an authorisation scheme; details of any professional body or similar institution with which the company is registered, their professional title and the Member State where that title has been granted; a VAT number – even...
Your Right to be Forgotten on the Internet

Your Right to be Forgotten on the Internet

Imagine your ex-boyfriend posted some revenge porn pictures and data about you on his website and on Facebook. Would you like it removed from Google`s search results so that your employer and your grandmother don`t find it? What if you are a teacher convicted for a minor crime over 10 years ago and that article from the past with your name still appears in search results. Would you want that removed? Or maybe you are doctor who performed a botched procedure and now you really need all your local newspapers` articles links in Google about your malpractice deleted. Do you think if you legally requested any of the above removals, Google would comply and delete the respective search result? The answer is it depends on the situation. All of the cases mentioned above are real and have been already decided – the first two requests for deletion have been fulfilled, while the doctor`s malpractice news articles still appear on Google. Let`s see why and how is it possible. The Costeja Case In Europe there is the so called Right to be Forgotten which has been officially put in practice exactly one year ago in May 2014 when the European Court of Justice ruled against Google on the Costeja case. Mario Costeja González is a Spanish citizen who turned to the Spanish Data Protection Agency to file a complaint against a newspaper and against Google Spain and Google Inc. with the request for removal of a link to an auction notice about his repossessed home due to a debt proceedings he has resolved years ago. The Spanish court referred the...
Lady in Law

Lady in Law

A Brand New Website for the Lifestyle of Female Legal Professionals Today a great new online place for female lawyers with the self-explanatory name Lady in Law has been launched. www.ladyinlaw.com embarks on the ambitious journey to reach to all smart, modern, ambitious and creative women with legal profession, who want to share and learn from each other. A Founder and Editor-In-Chief of the page is Ani Kapralova – a dynamic and passionate legal professional herself with about 10-year broad practice in international corporations and law offices. Moreover, Ani is a good friend and a partner in crime and we are looking forward to a great collaboration between Lady in Law and eLaw Guide. Ani was inspired to create Lady in Law by her vocation to connect people with the same interests and ambitions, and motivated by her personal story, she believes that women with legal profession all over the world are women with power to have it all – business success and personal happiness. She promises to reveal the many faces of a Lady in Law – a face of a smart and strong professional, a face of the good looking woman with fashion style, a face of a caring mother and loving wife, a face of a funny friend and a party diva and so many more. Every week Lady in Law will meet you with one successful Lady in Law from different parts of the world, who will share her personal story about professional experience, her strengths and flaws, her personal life, hobbies and passions and her advice for success and happiness. Last but not least, you can also...
e-Law Guide for Bloggers 2: Protecting Your Intellectual Property Online

e-Law Guide for Bloggers 2: Protecting Your Intellectual Property Online

It has not been long since you started your blog, but it turns out to be so valued by your readers that they gracefully start using significant parts of your content on their own blogs, corporate websites and other materials. As flattering as it is, the appreciation of your work, you probably prefer to be asked for permission by others who enjoy using your work, and certainly the law gives you that right. Here are several useful strategies to protect your intellectual property online. Protect Now or Cry Later It is always better to act before your intellectual property is infringed, so that once it happens, you are better prepared to fight back and your protection is stronger than your infringer is prepared. Keep in mind that in case of a copyright dispute, you will need to be able to demonstrate that you are the author of the disputed content (or it was created for you) and the date when you created and published it. Secure Your Contracts If possible, sign written contracts with anyone who helps you create and maintain your blog – e.g. web designers, image and article contributors, marketing experts who help you make it popular, everyone. This way you will have written evidence about your rights to use whatever is posted on your blog. Special attention should be paid to ensure you have the rights to your own website if you pay someone else to develop it. To read the full article, check Chicoverdose where it was originally...
e-Law Guide for Bloggers: How to Use Other People`s Creative Works

e-Law Guide for Bloggers: How to Use Other People`s Creative Works

Congratulations – you have a blog now and you are ready to start writing, creating, sharing and networking! Yet, all the fun may be intertwined with the risk of legal liability – think take down letters, complaints and infringement claims. Not a funny side of blogging, I know. Let’s look at blogging from several legal perspectives: Part One will focus on what bloggers should do or avoid doing in order to stay away from legal liability when using materials created by others; Part Two will explore the various ways to protect your creative works and rights when blogging; And in Part Three, we will go into further aspects a blogger may encounter legal liability or just mere communication problems, e.g. defamation, illegal processing of personal data, using third party blog tools, etc. Copyright means “I can copy it”, right? Actually, copyright means that once you are the original author or copyright holder of a creative work that is fixed in a tangible medium (e.g. paper, online, etc.), you have the exclusive right to use it (sell, make copies, publish, etc.), and to prevent others from using it without your permission. Plus, in most cases, you can demand payment for use. Unlike trademarks and patents, copyright is granted the moment the work is created and fixed. For example, if the blogger only thought about the blog post in their mind, this obviously would not be enough for copyright protection, but once the article is written in a computer file or posted online, as long as it is original and creative, it becomes a work protected by copyright, without the need...

DSC_5012_small My name is Desislava Stankova – an ICT lawyer, a project manager, a consultant, a speaker and even more – an adventurer. Welcome to my eLaw Guide and feel free to read, question, share, but most of all enjoy.

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