The German Chancellor — whose party is closely aligned with the telcoms sector — says she wants a two-tier Internet; on the "fast" Internet, carriers will be allowed to slow down access to services that haven't paid bribes for "premium" carriage; on the "regular" Internet, ISPs will just give you the data you ask for.
Net neutrality campaigners in Germany say that this is another example of Merkel's party, the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), working with the telecommunication lobbyists.
"This statement is taking the position of telecommunications firms. This is not the net neutrality we want, but a move towards the creation of a two-tier network where content becomes preferred based on who pays for it to make it so," said Markus Beckedahl, Berlin-based founder of netzpolitik.
His colleague, Professor Leonhard Dobusch of the Free University (Freie Universität) in Berlin, agrees.
"The revolutionary thing about the web is that the content can be decided on by anyone and, the principle of it, is that anyone can access it. But if you poke holes into net neutrality the way Chancellor Merkel suggests, then it's no longer democratic," he said.
Merkel's suggestions create a dangerous starting point for net neutrality laws in Germany, Dobusch said.
Merkel speaks out against net neutrality [Sabine Devins/Local]
(Image: Angela Merkel painted portrait _DDC8551, thierry ehrmann, CC-BY)