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Telecommunications Ministers decide on caution regarding Community regulation of the Internet

At an informal meeting of the Council of Telecommunications Ministers, held in Bologna, Italy, on 24-25 April 1996, the consensus among Ministers discussing EC regulation of the Internet was to avoid over-reaction, which might stifle emerging services, and slow down developmen...

At an informal meeting of the Council of Telecommunications Ministers, held in Bologna, Italy, on 24-25 April 1996, the consensus among Ministers discussing EC regulation of the Internet was to avoid over-reaction, which might stifle emerging services, and slow down development of the Information Society. The Ministers conceded, however, that some form of regulation, over and above national legislation, was necessary on issues such as privacy, intellectual property rights and protection against criminal activities. Some delegations suggested that action at the level of the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) might be appropriate. This could take the form of a multilateral code of conduct or an international convention. The Commission was asked to prepare a study on the issue. The other major subject discussed was universal service provision in basic telecommunications services, following the Commission's recent communication on the subject. Whilst a large majority of delegations agreed with the Commission's communication, there was also a majority against financing the policy through the financial instruments foreseen in the draft Directive on Open Network Provision (ONP) and interconnection. Some Ministers also wanted to extend universal service to cover the connections of schools, universities and hospitals to the Internet.

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