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German Federal Court Rules That Internet Connection Is Crucial To Everyday Life

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the not-without-my-net dept.

Networking 110

Qedward writes "Internet access is as crucial to everyday life as having a phone connection and the loss of connectivity is deserving of financial compensation, the German Federal Court of Justice has ruled. Because having an internet connection is so significant for a large part of the German population, a customer whose service provider failed to provide connectivity between December 2008 and February 2009 is entitled to compensation, the court ruled today. 'It is the first time the court ruled that an internet connection is as important a commodity as having a phone,' said court spokeswoman Dietlind Weinland. The court, however, denied the plaintiff's request of €50 a day for his fax machine not working."

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110 comments

Surely... (5, Insightful)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about a year ago | (#42687197)

If Internet is essential to everyday life, these so called "rehab clinics" where they "cure" people from the Internets are actually not "good for us" at all.

Re:Surely... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687263)

If food is essential to everyday life, these so called "weight loss clinics" where they "cure" people from their food addiction are actually not "good for us" at all.

Fix'd. Even water can be bad for you if you drink it too much.

Re:Surely... (2)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a year ago | (#42687459)

SOME [dhmo.org] people even think it's poison!

Re:Surely... (3, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#42688253)

SOME people even think it's poison!

That's why I only drink mountain dew.

Re:Surely... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42688459)

But what about those racist MENTOS!? why can't you have your fucking mountan dew With a pack of mentos? Bitch
Mr Bold

interesting side thing today. recently researching notch filter smart meter and today Art Bell's Coast to Coast with George Noory has Smart Meter topic, and that chick is spot on, but like i dunno seconds behind me. lOL yet she's talking to 100 MILLION PEOPLE, and I ain't... lol

Re:Surely... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#42690539)

Sadly enough, doing the coke+mentos trick inside your stomach won't cause the stuff shoot out from your mouth. That would just have been cool.

Re:Surely... (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#42689009)

That's why I only drink mountain dew.

Does it have electrolytes?

Re:Surely... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42692517)

Coca Cola is made with fresh sparkling spring water from Red Hook NY (which is in the middle of NYC by the way).

Re:Surely... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42688677)

That's why we call it "too much".

Re:Surely... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687273)

Food is good for us.
I'm sure you can work out the rest yourself.

In a rush? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687493)

In a rush to get first post?

Re:In a rush? (2)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about a year ago | (#42687595)

Actually I thought about it straight away. It's hyperbole; just the sort of thing somebody on CNN might say to start a good debate.

After all, these places take away the Internet completely. If the Internet is essential, where does that lead?

Also, Re: Food and even Water, yes too much can kill you but when was the last time a geek electrocuted her/himself in the basement through too much Internet usage? Or got too fat solely because of the Internet (not lifestyle - i.e. we all know what couch potatoes look like.

So actually, it was a spark, to find out what other thoughts that would lead to, for others.

Posting without Karma bonus, I've earned it above, and this is merely an explanatory post - and therefore is neither off-topic, nor redundant!

Re:In a rush? (4, Funny)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | about a year ago | (#42687701)

Actually, it's the opposite: more internet is good for you. For example, The Wired turned Lain into a god. Personally, the internet has transformed me into a being of superhuman intelligence; induced by the heated intellectual arguments that only the internet can provide. Following health advice from wise sages on blogspot has brought me to the pinnacle of human fitness as well. Exposure to great amounts of East-Asian media has left me a cultured man of refined tastes and deeply philosophical places such as Tumblr have opened my eyes to the discrimination that fat people face and the hetero-normative agenda to keep the genderqueer down. My productivity at work is much higher than my peers, as I may freely sip from the great fountains of knowledge that are the various SEO'd sites that I may copy things from. I have entered over thirty thousand entries into my HOSTS file and my computer blazes past the tired machinery the commoners use. Before finding the Internet, I was barely a man, but a long abandoned 28.8 kpbs US Robotics Softmodem changed my life.

Re:In a rush? (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#42688165)

Personally, the internet has transformed me into a being of superhuman intelligence;

Yes, being able to google the answer is an ego-booster, but I wouldn't call it "superhuman".

induced by the heated intellectual arguments that only the internet can provide.

I'll give you the heated, but I think you've been off the internet since, uhh, 1998. That fall was pretty much the last time there was an intellectual argument to be had.

Following health advice from wise sages on blogspot has brought me to the pinnacle of human fitness as wellt

You've got less than two years to live before drinking unpasterized milk, raw eggs, and eating undercooked meat kills you. Also, you're single now, since your girlfriend left you for trying to milk her at night, saying you needed at least a liter to make this new souflet recipe...

Exposure to great amounts of East-Asian media has left me a cultured man of refined tastes

Perv.

deeply philosophical places such as Tumblr have opened my eyes to the discrimination that fat people face and the hetero-normative agenda to keep the genderqueer down.,/quote>

Tumblr only shows you how to wear flannel and skinny jeans ironically while riding your vintage bike. And the fat people and genderqueer would like a word with you when you're done back behind that dumpster in the unlit alley.

My productivity at work is much higher than my peers, as I may freely sip from the great fountains of knowledge that are the various SEO'd sites that I may copy things from.

Sooo, your boss doesn't know yet you waste hours on Slashdot late on thursday nights. Well, he doesn't know I do either, so I'll let you keep that one. But SEO'd sites will rot your brain dude, just sayin'.

I have entered over thirty thousand entries into my HOSTS file and my computer blazes past the tired machinery the commoners use.

So you clicked 'immunize' in Spybot. Got it.

Before finding the Internet, I was barely a man, but a long abandoned 28.8 kpbs US Robotics Softmodem changed my life.

+++ATH0

Re:In a rush? (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#42688533)

I'll give you the heated, but I think you've been off the internet since, uhh, 1998. That fall was pretty much the last time there was an intellectual argument to be had.

I thought it was September 1993. I was around for that one.

Re:In a rush? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42689219)

I'll give you the heated, but I think you've been off the internet since, uhh, 1998. That fall was pretty much the last time there was an intellectual argument to be had.

I thought it was September 1993. I was around for that one.

whoosh....

Serial Experiments Lain (which the GP references with the subtlety of a sledgehammer) ran in 1998.

Re:In a rush? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42688973)

The female mind is fascinating...

I feel like W.D.M. Bell on my first safari

How many teeth in woman head?

Re:In a rush? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42691571)

Posting without Karma bonus

The "no karma" and "no subscriber" boxes don't seem to work, at least on my machine. Then again, I can't change my password on it, either (FireFox on W7).

mcgrew here, posting anonymously so my offtopic comment will remain hidden to most

Phone / Internet (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687219)

You don't get compensation if your phone is out of order, why should you for internet?

What if the internet is down because the phone is? It isn't the ISPs fault but the owner of the copper.

Copper owner owes a refund (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#42687291)

What if the internet is down because the phone is? It isn't the ISPs fault but the owner of the copper.

Then the owner of the copper owes a refund to the ISP with which it signed a service level agreement.

Re:Copper owner owes a refund (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#42687851)

I have never seen a residential phone / tv / internet subscription which came with any sort of substantial SLA.

Re:Copper owner owes a refund (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#42687919)

In this case, the SLA wouldn't be between the ISP and the residential-class end user as much as between, say, a DSL ISP and the local phone company. By copper owner, I meant the owner of the last mile, not the owner of inside wiring on the end user premises.

Re:Copper owner owes a refund (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42692633)

As a local government office, the only SLA we have is the failover from one ISP to the other internally. Our ISPs are still in the `90s, but they collude to extort the customer so it's ok.

Re:Copper owner owes a refund (1)

ninlilizi (2759613) | about a year ago | (#42688819)

I had an SLA on my residential broadband in the UK.
Signed and delivered to me even before I got the go live date.

It included clauses such as all support calls being answered within 3 rings.
All calls during office hours being answered within the UK by native english speakers.
A high percentage uptime guanrenteee I cannot remember the exact figure for. With an agreement that any faults requiring actual physical work by engineers. Would result in said engineer being dispatched at there expense within the hour. And a provision for major but kissing for any fault that was not repaired within 4 hours.

This was on a £20/month truely unlimited package that ran at the full 16mbit without latency spikes or slow downs any time 24/7.
In 5 years of service I think I suffered one downtime of about 20mins.

Not used ADSL for about year now, since it was rendered mostly obsolete by a bank of load balanced, unlimited HSPA+ dongles that average a throughput of 8mbit/each at a cost of £10/month per dongle.... No SLA there, but the redundancy more than makes up for it.

Re:Copper owner owes a refund (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42688959)

That's because it's mandated by law. Your phone can't be down too much or the government will get grumpy.

Re:Phone / Internet (4, Informative)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | about a year ago | (#42687329)

You don't get compensation if your phone is out of order, why should you for internet?

You do get compensation in Australia, through Service Level Agreements.

Re:Phone / Internet (2)

bsdewhurst (986863) | about a year ago | (#42688561)

In New Zealand it is (or at least was) 24 hours without the phone = 1 months free line rental. I know of at least one power company in New Zealand that has to pay out $50 to each affected customer if an outage on their network lasts more than 4 hours. Both of these are for residential connections.

Re:Phone / Internet (1)

usuallylost (2468686) | about a year ago | (#42689607)

Must be nice. Here the power company is a monopoly. The phone company is a duopoly, Verizon and Comcast in my case. If they have a service outage about the most they will do for you is say "we are aware of the problem and will fix it as soon as possible". My personally suspicion is that they are actually sitting there reveling in their power to torment you. Frankly I am surprised that they haven't implemented a bidding system to see whose power / phone gets turned back on first, or at all.

Re:Phone / Internet (2)

anubi (640541) | about a year ago | (#42687349)

What I would like to know is why is it I am expected to pay full price during service lapses?

If I paid someone to mow my lawn, but he couldn't get his lawn mower started, am I still obligated to pay for a mowed lawn?

All this AT&T style "up-to" talk frustrates me. Imagine an airline selling tickets for seats "up to" 40 inches wide, only to find out upon boarding you get a seat four inches wide... and sometimes do not get a seat at all. How many people would settle for "AT&T talk" for airline seats?

Ok, I do like to rant on Slashdot on things that frustrate the hell out of me. Sometimes I think its futile, but it is my hope that some executive might actually read this forum to get buzz directly from the customers instead of paying some high-priced market research firm to tell him what he wants to hear - even though it seems many companies executives are well enough off they don't have to concern themselves with how their companies appear to the public.

Bottom line, I highly resent legal maneuvering to force people to pay for stuff they don't get. I consider it just as unethical as if a person got a company's contract, reworded it, signed it, then when the company accepted it ( without rereading all the altered fine grey print on the back ) legally tried to hold them to that contract.

Re:Phone / Internet (2)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#42687411)

Imagine an airline selling tickets for seats "up to" 40 inches wide,

I'll do you one better: Imagine an airline selling you "up to" one seat, overselling the flight and asking people to please accept a free ticket to XYZ if they volunteer to not board the flight.

Re:Phone / Internet (1)

Cute and Cuddly (2646619) | about a year ago | (#42687495)

40 inches wide? That is almost 1 meter! Is that oversized seats for extra wide people?

Re:Phone / Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687751)

It's the standard seat size for fat-assed American'ts.

Re:Phone / Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42689341)

40 inches wide? That is over 1 meter!

FTFY.

Re:Phone / Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687715)

Airlines are selling "up to" one seat. Their business relies on overselling the seats and they do give out trinkets or other arrangements when they cannot meet their demands.

Re:Phone / Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687631)

Bait & Switch, there are several laws against it.

Re:Phone / Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42688663)

All this AT&T style "up-to" talk frustrates me. Imagine an airline selling tickets for seats "up to" 40 inches wide, only to find out upon boarding you get a seat four inches wide... and sometimes do not get a seat at all. How many people would settle for "AT&T talk" for airline seats?

Yep, that is a problem.

But it is also extremely obvious that this phrasing was chosen to deceive the customer. Because of this it is illegal for ISPs in many countries to market their internet as such if they can't deliver.

Re:Phone / Internet (4, Informative)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | about a year ago | (#42687479)

This is only superficially about compensation. The ruling means that as a crucial service the copyright police can't cut off your internet as a punishment for downloading mp3s.

Re:Phone / Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687667)

No, it doesn't. Especially not in a civil law country.

Re:Phone / Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42689035)

This is only superficially about compensation. The ruling means that as a crucial service the copyright police can't cut off your internet as a punishment for downloading mp3s.

You're wrong. This is only about compensation.

Re:Phone / Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42688129)

Well - I DO get compensation if my telephone is out of order long enough.

This is part of the consumer laws active in my country. If a supplier fails to deliver wares and it takes a too big bite out of the delivery period I have the right to be compensated. It does not matter what are the circumstances. Of course the supplier can demand compensation from the owner of the copper, but that's not something the end consumer has to arrange.

Re:Phone / Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42688875)

You don't get compensation if your phone is out of order, why should you for internet?

Except that in Germany, you do get compensation if your phone connection doesn't work (it obviously doesn't apply if your actual phone is out of order, because that's your own device; you could just buy and plug in another one). However a requirement is that you don't have adequate replacement (so if you have a working mobile phone then you don't get compensation for your failed landline, and vice versa).

sex (-1, Troll)

deodiaus2 (980169) | about a year ago | (#42687221)

My wife does not want to have sex because she says she it too tired. Furthermore, she won't let me have sex with other women [or men or animals].

Re:sex (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687239)

Fuck a blow-up doll then.

Re:sex (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687257)

Just be thankful she hasn't demanded court ordered compensation.

Re:sex (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687275)

That's weird, she fucks like a banshee when I'm with her...

Re:sex (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687289)

My wife does not want to have sex because she says she eat too tired

FTFY

Beta Colony Bill of Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687233)

Access to information available on the public networks shall not be abridged.

As important as a phone!? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687345)

I certainly have had no major difficulties living without a phone my whole life but going without an internet connection for a week deserves some significant preparation and, for two months, would require a radical shift in my way of life.

I know my having an internet connection but no phone puts me in an extreme minority but I had no idea it was common opinion that a phone is as essential as an internet connection.

Re:As important as a phone!? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687669)

I'd have extreme difficulty even doing two days - I telecommute 80+% of the time, and I'm paid hourly, so if my internet was out for more than a few hours, I have to go live in a Starbucks or some place with a connection I can use, or accept losing several hundred dollars. If it were out two months like this guy, I'd be suing too.

Re:As important as a phone!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42689739)

Same thing for me. I *need* good Internet connectivity in order to be able to make a good living.
Without Internet - I would not be able to financially support my family (I'm the only earner).
The minute my Internet connection dies, my countdown to poverty begins.
Having just moved to the UK, I've now lived in two places in London.
Having had absolutely terrible experiences trying to get decent Internet, I have decided to give up and leave the UK for another EU country (that offers a much better tax deal and at least 10 times faster Internet for the same price as I'm currently paying). .. I don't think the majority actually understands how vitally importent a good network connection is for some people - the lack of it is literally driving me to emigrate.

Re:As important as a phone!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687677)

Wonder if the article meant cell phone or home phone. Cell phone is not important, expect some jobs. Home phone always works. Internet on the other hand you can always find somewhere with internet access if you have to. Article make it sound like you can't live without internet.

I only use my cell phone for emergency and job resume.

Re:As important as a phone!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42688017)

Do you use your internet connection for voice communication, that is, do you use VOIP?

Because by 'phone' the judge probably didn't mean POTS, he probably meant voice communications at a distance.

Re:As important as a phone!? (1)

Gogo0 (877020) | about a year ago | (#42688331)

not having access to internet would change the way i live, however so would removing chairs from my home, or not having access to virtually unlimited amount of water. doesnt make it essential, though.

most people have access to the internet at work, or at a public library, or a friend, or a net cafe, etc...
i would say that unless you rely on the internet for /actual/ necessities such as money for food, it is not a necessity itself, merely a very useful tool with a variety of uses. like a toolchest or more aptly, a tablet.

of course, this is coming from a guy who had an outhouse until he was 10, only reads on his tablet, and isnt botherd by most inconveniences.

So Comcast Is Going Bankrupt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687395)

Please say yes.

So will my isp stop dropping me when i hit a cap? (3, Interesting)

detain (687995) | about a year ago | (#42687409)

I'm one of the many people who have a "high-speed" broadband account advertised as what to buy for streaming online media, but the ISP gives a 200gb cap and drops you as a client if you go over it for more than 2 months. Watching Netflix HD video only a few hours a day hits that cap in no time, making the account not actually usable for what its advertised. I hope the effects of this ruling eventually trickles down to my country and this type of dropping a user is made illegal. At the very least switching a user to a more throttled connection would be a good compromise. Oh the ISP that does this is ptd.net, but alot of ISPs have similar practices.

Re:So will my isp stop dropping me when i hit a ca (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#42687551)

I hope the effects of this ruling eventually trickles down to my country and this type of dropping a user is made illegal.

The telcos and cabelcos have divided the country up into effective monopoly regions without the oversight that public utlities normally have. They also spend more on lobbying than any other trade group. So it ain't going to happen until something extreme happens, like a pretty blonde child dies in a way that can be directly attributed to a data-cap.

Re:So will my isp stop dropping me when i hit a ca (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687917)

I agree, but ...
Just because it is an essential service does not mean you have the right to abuse it. It does not mean everyone else should cover the cost of your Netflix addiction. If you want more then you should pay for more. In my part of the world the (monopoly) ISP is happy to provide more bandwidth, at a higher price.

Re:So will my isp stop dropping me when i hit a ca (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42688781)

Watching Netflix for a few hours a day is now considered abuse? Some of my family members watch more tv than that.

How could using a service advertised for media streaming in this way ever be considered abuse? If they really feel that way they should either advertise it differently (less misleading) or clearly show their limits in the advertisement.

Re:So will my isp stop dropping me when i hit a ca (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#42688037)

I hope the effects of this ruling eventually trickles down to my country and this type of dropping a user is made illegal.

AAAHAAAHHHAAAAAaaaaaaah. Good one! No, the court ruled this was basically a breach of contract because any reasonable person would expect their service provider to have repaired the outage in less than, uhh, two months. The contract you signed says "200GB cap, lulz" so no, the courts won't do anything about that. They're saying internet is a vital resource, not that you get an unlimited amount of it. It's like the roads (tada! I never disappoint slashdot! Car analogy time) -- you can drive your car on them and the government has to be reasonable about restrictions on you and your vehicle. It does not mean it has to build a road across the Atlantic for you.

Re:So will my isp stop dropping me when i hit a ca (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#42688795)

There is the question of 'reasonable' though. In the car analogy, a 'road' that has a 10Kg axle weight restriction isn't a 'reasonable' road.

Re:So will my isp stop dropping me when i hit a ca (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42689041)

Good point.

Good point.

Re:So will my isp stop dropping me when i hit a ca (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42688449)

I'm one of the many people who have a "high-speed" broadband account advertised as what to buy for streaming online media, but the ISP gives a 200gb cap and drops you as a client if you go over it for more than 2 months. Watching Netflix HD video only a few hours a day hits that cap in no time, making the account not actually usable for what its advertised. I hope the effects of this ruling eventually trickles down to my country and this type of dropping a user is made illegal. At the very least switching a user to a more throttled connection would be a good compromise. Oh the ISP that does this is ptd.net, but alot of ISPs have similar practices.

In most countries, advertising that leaves out critical information (not noting a crucial and unusual limit), or misrepresents information (such as advertising a broadband internet connection as 'unlimited') is illegal. Unfortunately I don't think the US falls under this set of countries, but I'd say it is worth a shot. Write the relevant agency that is in charge of advertising. If that doesn't help, seek legal council and find out if that helps.

Re:So will my isp stop dropping me when i hit a ca (5, Insightful)

cbope (130292) | about a year ago | (#42688747)

Ah... there's the catch. You see, in the gool 'ol US of A, this amounts to regulation. And everyone in the good 'ol US of A knows that regulation = bad. /sarcasm off

As an American who emigrated to another country, this difference is really visible after you have been out of the USA for some time. I live in the EU, and the consumer protections are so much stronger. Much of what goes on as "normal business" in the USA is illegal here, with regard to consumer protection. Apple learned this the hard way, when they got slapped hard in several EU countries for attempting to induce customers to buy AppleCare protection when under EU law, consumers are entitled to 2 years of warranty protection, not just a single year as in the USA. Yes, I know AppleCare is more than just normal warranty coverage, but they tried to imply that without it you get only 1 year warranty which is absolutely not according to EU law and misleading to the consumer.

As another example from the mobile phone industry, it is illegal here to tie the device to the service. You are free to buy your phone from anyone, and select the operator you want. You can change operators at any time, to any other operator. Your number is portable. All it takes is a new SIM card. Of course, this is only for un-subsidized phones, but subsidized phones are quite rare here. They certainly exist and major operators offer them, but the vast majority own un-subsidized since you are crazy to buy a subsidized phone (do the math, in every case, you are paying MUCH more to the operator over the life of the phone). Thanks to this freedom of unlocked phones and the ease of switching operators, there are literally dozens of operators to choose from, in this small country with only 5.2 million people. Compare that to the US where you have at most a handful of operators to select from and all of them are universally bad compared to the operators here. I would add that the prices for service here are much lower than in the US. It's quite easy to get a basic mobile service from about $10/month, and even service with data for not much more. Oh, and what are these things called data caps again?`We don't have those. Same for our internet service.

Now, someone will chime in about educating yourself as a consumer, but we all know that most companies do not want an educated consumer, because educated consumers won't fall for their marketing tricks. Companies have proven time and again that without some amount of regulation they will act only in their best interests, which is to make as much money for their stakeholders as possible. The absence of regulation, as in the USA, lets companies get away with a lot more at the expense and detriment of the consumer.

I'm also happy to live in a country (Finland) that has granted its citizens internet access as a right. Practically everything is done electronically here, from general banking to paying bills to shopping. Nearly all government services are handled electronically as well, so not having an internet connection severely limits you.

Re:So will my isp stop dropping me when i hit a ca (1)

Inda (580031) | about a year ago | (#42689419)

I don't think you can tag all of us in Europe the same way.

Subsidised phones are very common for the over twenties in the UK (~70 million people). But we get the same sort of deals as you in Finland.

I swapped provides not so long back. My number was transfered over in just under four hours.

Pay-as-you-go phones can be unlocked after six months, or after a minimal amount of credit has been added.

It's all very, very easy. Just as it should be.

Re:So will my isp stop dropping me when i hit a ca (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#42691265)

Now, someone will chime in about educating yourself as a consumer, but we all know that most companies do not want an educated consumer, because educated consumers won't fall for their marketing tricks. Companies have proven time and again that without some amount of regulation they will act only in their best interests, which is to make as much money for their stakeholders as possible. The absence of regulation, as in the USA, lets companies get away with a lot more at the expense and detriment of the consumer.

The answer is simple. Educate yourself. Don't let the company with a vested interested do that job instead.

I'm also happy to live in a country (Finland) that has granted its citizens internet access as a right.

I imagine that they don't actually legally treat it as a "right". It's just some word that you like to use in place of "entitlement". But then again, all sorts of crap is considered "rights" by some governments and who knows? Those governments might last.

Glancing at Wikipedia, I see that the current Finnish constitution has been kicking around for quite some time - since 2000 [wikipedia.org] , almost 13 years ago (with some parts coming from even earlier, in 1995)! So of course, you'd expect people with that kind of long, storied constitutional history to have a deep grasp of what should be or shouldn't be a "right".

My beef here, is that the problem with making entitlements a "right" is who is responsible for insuring that you have this "right"? Who pays? It's just a poorly thought out idea that in practice generates a legal requirement that gets violated to some degree in order to address the "tragedy of the commons" problem.

Let's see if all this lasts a few decades first, before we start crowing about how advanced and special the EU experiment and many of its governments are. Last I heard, the weaker governments in the system were already failing.

Re:So will my isp stop dropping me when i hit a ca (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#42692051)

As an American who emigrated to another country, this difference is really visible after you have been out of the USA for some time. I live in the EU, and the consumer protections are so much stronger. Much of what goes on as "normal business" in the USA is illegal here, with regard to consumer protection. Apple learned this the hard way, when they got slapped hard in several EU countries for attempting to induce customers to buy AppleCare protection when under EU law, consumers are entitled to 2 years of warranty protection, not just a single year as in the USA. Yes, I know AppleCare is more than just normal warranty coverage, but they tried to imply that without it you get only 1 year warranty which is absolutely not according to EU law and misleading to the consumer.

TINSTAAFL.

You know, Europeans CONSTANTLY complain about how much more expensive something is in the EU. Like how a MacBook Pro is US$2200, and EUR2200 over there as well. Given the exchange rate, that's over 40% more expensive in the EU than in the US. Granted, some of it is because of sales tax being inclusive instead of exclusive (and much higher sales taxes - 20%) and import duties, but a lot of it is also because you're buying "extended warranties" all the time.

AppleCare does include more than an extended warranty (it adds phone support beyond 90 days, and gives you access to a bunch of free diagnostic tools), but in essence in the EU, it's bundled in (minus phone support and stuff, but that doesn't make it worth it, IMHO).

Or how in the US, whenever a store (b&m or internet) asks "do you want to buy an extended warranty?" you say no, but in the EU, the law effectively says yes for you (and the price is built in).

And I believe the laws don't apply if you import - many EU folks have taken to buying stuff from the US because it's much cheaper - but again, they don't get the protections for that, even on things like Apple products. Apple was fined because they confused people who bought stuff in the EU, but they can legitimately turn down service for computers bought in the US after the US warranty period is expired but before the mandated EU one. After all, they can make you return it to the store... in the US...).

Now, someone will chime in about educating yourself as a consumer, but we all know that most companies do not want an educated consumer, because educated consumers won't fall for their marketing tricks. Companies have proven time and again that without some amount of regulation they will act only in their best interests, which is to make as much money for their stakeholders as possible. The absence of regulation, as in the USA, lets companies get away with a lot more at the expense and detriment of the consumer.

True, However, one has to consider a difference in cultures, as well. Americans tend to favor choice over being forced into things - which is why stuff often have shorter warranties for lower prices - Americans generally base decisions on price moreso than other value-adds like longer warranties and other things - they prefer to have the option than be forced by law into accepting it.

Though, things like 90 day warranties are a joke (especially since there are manufacturers that offer warranties as-new, like Apple, if you buy a refurb from them).

End result - yes the consumer protection laws are much stronger and often the envy of the world. But you're also paying for them in the form of increased prices. In the EU, that's less of an issue since the culture there generally considers value over price. In North America, it's much harder as price is often taken as a higher priority than value.

then they will just slow you down and say for X pe (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#42690329)

then they will just slow you down and say for X per MB / GB / ECT we will restore your speed to full.

YOU FAIL IT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687491)

need to scream that and shouting that Discussion I'm Everything else I thought it was my beco8e obsessed Fear the reaper sanctions, and

Don't be absurd! (3, Insightful)

jafo (11982) | about a year ago | (#42687537)

"Internet access is as crucial to everyday life as having a phone connection [...]"

The telcos *WISH* that having a phone connection were as crucial to everyday life as Internet access...

Re:Don't be absurd! (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about a year ago | (#42687999)

"The telcos *WISH* that having a phone connection were as crucial to everyday life as Internet access..."

Where I live this has already happened.

Re:Don't be absurd! (1)

neminem (561346) | about a year ago | (#42691137)

Having a phone connection is *exactly* as crucial to everyday life as internet access around here... because Verizon won't let you not pay for a phone line if you want internet around here. (Or rather, if you really insist, they will, but they'll charge you about 10 dollars more for not having a phone line than for having one.)

Trolling is essential to my daily life (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687561)

I have obsessive internet trolling disorder, by modding me down you are violating the internet human rights declaration and will be liable for stretched ass violations at Christmas Island.

"crucial"??? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#42687635)

I do not think the word means what they think it means.

Re:"crucial"??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42688479)

'crucial' means essential. That means that you cannot live a normal life without it. The consideration made here is that many highly important activities and services - heathcare, interaction with various levels of the government, work, social life - are increasingly moving towards the internet, or are near-exclusive to the internet.

Secondly, 'crucial' is not a binary concept - it can represent a degree of necessity. Try to read more closely next time: the article says that "Internet access is as crucial to everyday life as having a phone connection...". A comparison is made between Internet and phone. Not between oxygen and Internet, not between food and internet, but between phone and internet.

Re:"crucial"??? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42689101)

Don't overlook the fact that Germans speak German, the word "crucial" was not used by them. TFA links to a German text which uses the formulations "zentraler Wichtigkeit" and "zentraler Bedeutung". It seems that "central importance" was translated as "crucial", which to me sounds quite a bit stronger. If they had meant it to be that strong I think they would have used words like "entscheidend" or "essenziell" instead of "zentral" in the original.

prateek edifice (-1, Offtopic)

crc advisors (2630345) | about a year ago | (#42687941)

Prateek Builtech has launched a new project Prateek edifice in sector 107, Noida which insures major connectivity from Delhi/NCR. This luxury projects will only have two flats on each floor and 3 lifts on each floor including a service lift. http://www.prateek-edifice.com/ [prateek-edifice.com]

New Amendment for America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42687957)

This (hopefully) could turn into a guaranteed right, much like, and perhaps conjoined with, freedom of speech.

No teenager knows what a fax machine is today (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about a year ago | (#42687991)

and why should they... Scanners+email+internet have replaced that function, but are also what many teenagers don't know how to use.

Todays' kids take a photo with their smartphone and mms it. That's mobile phone systems, not the good old and tried internet with cables and dirt.

Re:No teenager knows what a fax machine is today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42689957)

You're not seriously suggesting that fax is a good thing, are you?

Guess what. The kids these days don't know how to use stone knives and bear skins for a reason. It's called progress. Only in your macho fantasies will there ever come a day when you're going to swoop in with your survivalist skills and save the day.

Three Strikes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42688035)

1. Download free stuff
2. Three times
3. Profit

CHIP in your HEAD: mandatory in the future! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42688079)

"Everything we see has some hidden message. A lot of awful messages are coming in under the radar - subliminal consumer messages, all kinds of politically incorrect messages..." - Harold Ramis

"RFID in School Shirts must be trial run"

The trial runs began a LONG time ago!

We're way past that process.

Now we're in the portion of the game where they will try and BRAINWASH us into accepting these things because not everyone BROADCASTS themselves on and offline, so RFID tracking will NEED to be EVERYWHERE, eventually.

RFID is employed in MANY areas of society. RFID is used to TRACK their livestock (humans) in:

* 1. A lot of BANK's ATM & DEBIT cards (easily cloned and tracked)
* 2. Subway, rail, bus, other mass transit passes (all of your daily
activities, where you go, are being recorded in many ways)
* 3. A lot of RETAIL stores' goods
* 4. Corporate slaves (in badges, tags, etc)

and many more ways!

Search the web about RFID and look at the pictures of various RFID devices, they're not all the same in form or function! When you see how tiny some of them are, you'll be amazed! Search for GPS tracking and devices, too along with the more obscured:

- FM Fingerprinting &
- Writeprint
- Stylometry

tracking methods! Let's not forget the LIQUIDS at their disposal which can be sprayed on you and/or your devices/clothing and TRACKED, similar to STASI methods of tracking their livestock (humans).

Visit David Icke's and Prison Planet's discussion forums and VC's discussion forums and READ the threads about RFID and electronic tagging, PARTICIPATE in discussions. SHARE what you know with others!

These TRACKING technologies, on and off the net are being THROWN at us by the MEDIA, just as cigarettes and alcohol have and continue to be, though the former less than they used to. The effort to get you to join FACEBOOK and TWITTER, for example, is EVERYWHERE.

Maybe, you think, you'll join FACEBOOK or TWITTER with an innocent reason, in part perhaps because your family, friends, business parters, college ties want or need you. Then it'll start with one photo of yourself or you in a group, then another, then another, and pretty soon you are telling STRANGERS as far away as NIGERIA with scammers reading and archiving your PERSONAL LIFE and many of these CRIMINALS have the MEANS and MOTIVES to use it how they please.

One family was astonished to discover a photo of theirs was being used in an ADVERTISEMENT (on one of those BILLBOARDS you pass by on the road) in ANOTHER COUNTRY! There are other stories. I've witnessed people posting their photo in social networking sites, only to have others who dis/like them COPY the photo and use it for THEIR photo! It's a complete mess.

The whole GAME stretches much farther than the simple RFID device(s), but how far are you willing to READ about these types of instrusive technologies? If you've heard, Wikileaks exposed corporations selling SPYWARE in software and hardware form to GOVERNMENTS!

You have to wonder, "Will my anti-malware program actually DISCOVER government controlled malware? Or has it been WHITELISTED? or obscured to the point where it cannot be detected? Does it carve a nest for itself in your hardware devices' FIRMWARE, what about your BIOS?

Has your graphics card been poisoned, too?" No anti virus programs scan your FIRMWARE on your devices, especially not your ROUTERS which often contain commercially rubber stamped approval of BACKDOORS for certain organizations which hackers may be exploiting right now! Search on the web for CISCO routers and BACKDOORS. That is one of many examples.

Some struggle for privacy, some argue about it, some take preventitive measures, but those who are wise know:

Privacy is DEAD. You've just never seen the tombstone.

German TV license (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42688159)

So does this mean that Germany will get rid of their crazy new TV licensing scheme? I live in Germany, so not have a TV and see no reason why I should give these NAZI criminals money thet didn't earn and don't deserve.

Crucial To Be Tracked (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42688379)

no message

RIGGED ZONE = PEOPLE ON EARTH! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42688425)

BP Delivers First Gas Shipment to Israeli Offshore Buoy

Now just listen up.

As a retarded experimenter. I have duplicated Mr2Tuff's solar/gen/hydro/production

I note ESPECIALLY the wording of "Offshore Bouy" which tells me they are STORING the GAS OFFSHORE.

Well.... I can put HYDROGEN into MotherFucking Balloons. HOw many you want?

  Comeon Slashdot. Answer the fuck up.
Mr Bold here..

You just know it's coming... (1)

PacRim Jim (812876) | about a year ago | (#42688985)

This is the pretext for socialist governments to force taxpayers to pay for everyone's Internet connection — broadband, of course. They will need computers, of course, so taxpayers will pay for those. Etc., etc.

Re:You just know it's coming... (1)

dave420 (699308) | about a year ago | (#42689099)

Grow up.

Re:You just know it's coming... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42689179)

Have you noticed that it's much easier to insult people on the Internet than it is to counter their argument?
I thought not.

Re:You just know it's coming... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42689335)

Have you noticed that it's much easier to insult people on the Internet than it is to counter their argument?

Which argument?

unfortunately... (2)

terec (2797475) | about a year ago | (#42689257)

It's good when businesses are held responsible for failing to provide the service their customers are paying for.

However, it sucks that the court thinks you only deserve compensation when it is for something "essential" and if you were dumb enough not to get an alternative yourself ahead of time.

Re:unfortunately... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42689969)

> if you were dumb enough not to get an alternative yourself ahead of time

How's that anything but "stupid +1"?
You don't have/make two ISP contracts at once in case one fails. You make one and if the company that told you they'd deliver, they get slapped.

Re:unfortunately... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42693037)

RTFA. It's not about "two ISP contracts". If you have mobile Internet, you can't claim that you were deprived of essential services.

Takes a month to get installed (1)

sofakingon (610999) | about a year ago | (#42690647)

I wonder, then, if it will no longer take a month between the time that you order your connection and the time that they come to hook it up. I moved to Germany two years ago, and I was lucky, it only took 3 weeks before Deutch Telekom turned on my DSL. Some of my colleagues have had to wait for 7-8 weeks!

Why does this matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42690813)

I don't know exactly what the laws are about this in my own country and certainly not in Germany but... doesn't it just make sense that if someone is paying for a service and they don't get the servcie they deserve a refund? That just seems like common sense! I don't see how that services necessity to daily life even comes in to play.

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