Net neutrality and self-determination are discussed at TEDx Rome

Luca Belli, a senior researcher from the Center for Technology and Society (CTS) of FGV’s Rio de Janeiro Law School (Direito Rio), participated in the TEDx Rome round of lectures about the concept of net neutrality.
Law
30 July 2018
Net neutrality and self-determination are discussed at TEDx Rome

Luca Belli, a senior researcher from the Center for Technology and Society (CTS) of FGV’s Rio de Janeiro Law School (Direito Rio), participated in the TEDx Rome round of lectures about the concept of net neutrality. The expert spoke specifically about net neutrality and “net self-determination”, a concept he created.

The researcher explains that the internet was designed as an open network in which users can not only choose any type of information or service they want to access, but also create and freely share any application or service their creativity can come up with.

“This kind of freedom is extremely beneficial for users, but represents a risk for the dominant stakeholders, because you become a potential competitor the moment you innovate. In this context, several operators over the past 20 years have tried to reduce the ways in which users can use the internet, in order to limit user navigation to the mere use of predefined services. When you don’t produce innovation, but just consume services offered by the operator and/or its partners, you don’t become a competitor and, at the same time, you produce data for these organizations”, he said.

This is the context of the concept of net neutrality, which requires non-discriminatory treatment for all internet traffic to prevent operators from limiting the manner in which users access the network and contribute to its evolution.

Net self-determination complements the neutrality issue. The concept is based on the fact that if an individual lives in a country that has no laws on neutrality, or in a place that does not have internet access, they cannot be doomed to be offline because they can build their own network infrastructure. This is the right to freely associate in order to define, in a democratic manner, the development and management of a new network infrastructure that can connect the disconnected and be managed as a common good, in order to allow everyone to freely search for, transmit and receive information and innovation.

“There are many examples around the world, as we explained in the book ‘Community Networks: the Internet by the People for the People’. One of them is a rural community in England, where a group of farmers built an internet network with optical fiber that is providing internet access to thousands of people who were previously offline and now have access speeds higher than NASA”, he said.

The concept of net self-determination, created by Luca Belli, is based on human rights guaranteed by international treaties with binding effect, such as freedom of expression, association, and to pursue one’s own economic and social development. Therefore, we can speak of a true right to self-determination. 

Watch Luca Belli's presentation on this website.