A report by the French Digital Council addresses the issue of platform neutrality on the Net.

The issue of net neutrality, and particularly that of leading players such as Google, Apple or Amazon, is currently of interest to the French Government.

The Digital Council, an advisory body for all matters relating to digital development, presented a report on “platform neutrality” on Friday, June 13. This report aims at initiating discussions with Internet stakeholders for the development of a set of the best practices in order to ensure a free and open Internet that can reconcile innovation, freedom of trade and industry as well as respect for individual freedoms.

The objective of net neutrality is achieved through the fairness and transparency of the platforms. The major recommendations of the report are as follows:

  • impose a certain degree of fairness in the overall process of collecting and processing personal data;
  • acknowledge the principle of neutrality as a “fundamental principle which is necessary for the exercise of the freedom of communication and freedom of expression” and provide for its inclusion in the law “at the highest level in the hierarchy of norms”;
  • set up rating agencies to evaluate and grade platforms. The rationale seems to rest upon staking the reputation of businesses so that the latter rectify their behavior on their own accord out of their apprehension of reputational damage.

Despite the regrettable lack of recommendations with regard to Internet access providers in this report, the proposals of the National Digital Council shall, in France, pave the way for the informed preparation of an effective draft legislation in respect of the French digital technology and the country’s digital strategy in Europe.

It remains to be seen, however, whether major Net players will be compelled to adhere to the French rules.