Network Neutrality: Laissez-Faire Approach or Not?

51 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2008 Last revised: 27 Feb 2014

See all articles by Rebecca Wong

Rebecca Wong

Bournemouth University - Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management (CIPPM)

Daniel Garrie

Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law; Law & Forensics

Date Written: July 27, 2008


The paper discusses the topical subject of network neutrality, from a US and European legal perspective. Whilst acknowledging the plethora of literature on network neutrality, it argues that regulation in favour of network neutrality should not be confined with the US/European borders but that network neutrality should be addressed from a global perspective through the OECD/WTO. The article will begin by defining network neutrality, before discussing the technology underpinning network neutrality. It will compare the different legal approaches adopted by Europe and the US to the regulation of network neutrality. In Europe, there is an existing electronic communications regulatory framework, which can be used to address the network neutrality problem. In particular, this article will examine the Access and Interconnection Directive, arguing that further regulations at European level are not necessary given the legal infrastructure. The main concerns arising from the US unilateral stance is whether it will cause a digital divide in the electronic communications market? Legislating in the area of network neutrality is not perceived in Europe as necessary. Any regulation at a European level would disrupt the existing electronic communications framework. In the US, network neutrality appears to be the only legal viable path. Network technology violates the spirit of the US Wiretap Law and several State specific privacy laws. The article will conclude that the US stance to adopt network neutrality legislation will cause a seismic shift in the way we view technology.

Keywords: Network neutrality, Access and Interconnection Directive, network operators, Privacy

Suggested Citation

Wong, Rebecca and Garrie, Daniel and Garrie, Daniel, Network Neutrality: Laissez-Faire Approach or Not? (July 27, 2008). Rutgers University Computer & Technology Law Journal, Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 315-365, 2008, Available at SSRN:

Rebecca Wong (Contact Author)

Bournemouth University - Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management (CIPPM) ( email )

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Dorset, BH8 8EB
United Kingdom

Daniel Garrie

Law & Forensics ( email )

6506 3rd Ave NW
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Seattle, WA 98117
United States
855 529 2466 (Phone)


Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law ( email )

55 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10003
United States

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