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FSFE signs association joint letter for terminal device freedom


Together with 9 other civil and economic organisations the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) sent a letter to numerous members of the German Bundestag concerning the compulsory routers issue at the present Wednesday. The letter is supposed to highlight the importance of passing the bill for freedom of terminal devices in telecommunication.

On the 4th of November the four parliament committees Economy and Energy, Law and Consumer Protection, Traffic and Digital Infrastructure, and Digital Agenda will consult about the bill „for selection and connection of telecommunication terminal devices“. The 132 representatives who sit in the committees will bear a special responsibility since it is in their power to save the rights of consumers and protect small and medium-sized businesses.

„We welcome the Federal Government drafting a bill which can effectively eradicate compulsory routers“, says Matthias Kirschner, FSFE's President. „The current status of compulsory routers is harmful for both citizens and economy. This fact has to be known to all representatives cross-party. Now we need a quick and unmodified implementation of the drafted law.“

The bill is the outcome of a long discussion about so-called compulsory routers. These forbid internet users to use a terminal device of their choice and force them to always have the provider's device in the own home network. This widespread practise is a threat to security, privacy, and independence of all internet users and has negative effects on free and fair competition of manufacturers.

Despite the unanimous opinion of experts, consumer protectors, and politicians some members of the Federal Council aligned with the few current bill's opponents. In doing so they adapted technically inconsistent and long-disproved arguments of internet providers and network carriers. Up to now the Federal Government rejected the Council's criticism as not reasonable.

„Today's letter shall prevent a repetition of the Council's disappointing reaction. With a broad alliance of many-faceted supporters of terminal device freedom we ask the committees' members to put those basic user rights as soon as possible and without any rotten compromises into law“, says Max Mehl, FSFE's Germany Coordinator. „As of today no representative can plead lack of knowledge of the importance of terminal device freedom for the independent usage and security of the internet.“

You can view the depersonalised version of the sent association joint letter here. Additionally we listed all important events in the course of the compulsory routers debate separately on our website.