The Electronic Communications and Uzbekistan Email List Postal Regulatory Authority (Arcep) has just submitted a report to the Minister of State in charge of Digital Mounir Mahjoubi, which highlights the danger of mobile terminals and GAFAs for the opening of the Internet. This comprehensive report entitled “Terminals, weak links in the opening up of the Internet” estimates that net neutrality does not only go through ISPs, but also through Internet access terminals. Arcep believes in particular that “other intermediaries have the power to limit the ability of users to access the content and services of their choice on the Internet”.
According to the regulator, Smartphones, apps and GAFAs would therefore be a brake on net neutrality and access to content. Here are the main dangers highlighted in the report. A monopoly of app stores Problem pointed out by Arcep: the monopoly of stores. Between the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, buying a smartphone or tablet “is like choosing a restrictive environment”. The applications available on these stores are chosen by Apple and Google according to their own rules, which obviously poses a problem. And by freeing itself from the native store with a “jailbreak”,
Compatibility Between Devices
the user can lose his warranty. There are third-party stores, especially for Android, but these are not easy to use. Pre-installed applications We thank Arcep for thinking of users by pointing out the problem of pre-installed applications, these original applications which are sometimes impossible to uninstall. These practices naturally tend to distract users from other services, even when these integrate new innovative features. They are perfectly indicative of this control of the manufacturers on our consumption of content. Recommendation algorithms Another problem highlighted by Arcep is browser prediction algorithms. It is the prediction algorithms of web browsers that determine what content to download in advance on users’ terminals. Arcep refers in particular to the AMP format, which allows the content of web pages to be pre-loaded.
The pre-loading by Chrome of only pages in AMP format could therefore, independently of any other factor of speed of loading or quality of the content, encourage Internet users to first visit the pages marked with the AMP icon, at the expense of others. results. The generalization of proprietary formats (AMP and Instant Article) poses a real problem, and therefore further undermines net neutrality. Compatibility between devices Another problem notified by the report, GAFAs prevent compatibility between devices and certain ecosystems “are likely to artificially restrict the choice of users”. Perfect example: the Home Pod, the connected speaker from Apple does not allow the use of competing streaming services. To benefit from this product, you must have an Apple Music subscription. Again, the victim of these strategies is the user.
Ways To Open Up The Mobile Internet
The danger ahead of connected speakers and cars Arcep is also concerned about the limited access and compartmentalisation inherent in connected speakers and cars. These 2 devices have not yet become as popular as smartphones, but they will one day be. Connected speakers will probably be an important point of access to the Internet in the years to come, but this access will again be totally dependent on the vision of GAFAs. Ways to open up the mobile Internet To remedy this, Arcep offers several avenues. Here are some key proposals: Clarify the field of the open Internet by establishing a principle of freedom of choice of content and applications regardless of the device. Regulate “by data”, and make information transparent and comparable for users, individuals and professionals.
Ensure the fluidity of markets, and the freedom to move from one environment to another. Lift certain restrictions artificially imposed by the key players in terminals on users and developers of content and services. Have better support for businesses and SMEs facing these businesses. Note that all these proposals go against the current evolution of the web. Ecosystems have never been so closed, and we hardly see them opening up. As for supporting businesses, Google and Facebook are in the process of positioning themselves to train them in their tools. The only thing that YouTube currently offers is to place keywords in a “blacklist”, and as soon as a comment contains one of these words, it is placed on hold for verification. Unfortunately this is a very binary solution which can act as a censor in some cases