The internet is often celebrated for its openness. Usually presented as one of the few critical properties having propelled the internet’s success over recent decades, the notion of openness remains at the heart of its founding mythology. Though for arguably different reasons, the openness of the internet is supported by a wide range of actors, including the European Union (EU).
Though acknowledging recent positive steps, this report challenges the consistency of the European approach toward open internet standards and identifies a series of legislations and initiatives that seemingly contradict the overall stance of the EU in favor of protecting the internet as a global, interoperable, and open network of networks.
The report identifies what could be the main building blocks for a renewed EU approach in view of remediating those inconsistencies. It lists six specific areas in which the EU could support the development of more “open” internet standards, referring both to the standards themselves and to the processes by which they are formulated and adopted. These recommendations are expected to pave the way for an alternative path for upcoming EU digital policies, conducive to more openness for the future of the internet.
The report was written during Clément’s 2023 fellowship at Open Future. It is currently open for feedback and comments via PubPub until February 22, 2024.