The government of the Netherlands has become the first European country to pass a net neutrality law. The legal precedent prevents internet service providers from traffic management except in the cases of congestion and network security, and also includes restrictions on ISPs performing deep packet inspection and other similar wiretapping techniques.
The law was formed in June last year, where the country's parliament passed a motion to stop mobile operators blocking VOIP calls over their networks, with the bill only recently passing the Dutch senate. A similar law was passed in Chile in July of 2010, but the Netherlands law is the first in an EU country.
The provisions in the law extend to anyone providing Internet access services, forbidding the use of traffic-shaping based on application usage, unless they hinder access for other users by causing congestion. Equal types of traffic are to be treated equally, meaning that a video streaming service owned by the provider cannot have unrestricted access where Hulu may be restricted, for example. Before affecting a user's bandwidth, providers must alert the user before any action is taken, giving the user time to remedy the situation.
Net neutrality continues to be an issue elsewhere in the world, with Sony stopping plans for a streaming television service over potential conflicts, and AT&T dropping a proposal to commit to net neutrality principles after a recent annual meeting voted 94 percent against it.