[FSFE PR][EN] Compulsory Routers: what customers have to take care of now

press at fsfeurope.org press at fsfeurope.org
Mon Jul 25 16:51:03 CEST 2016

 = Compulsory Routers: what customers have to take care of now =

[ Read online: https://fsfe.org/news/2016/news-20160725-01.en.html ]

Up until now, Internet service providers (ISPs) in Germany determined
the router users had to use to connect to the Internet. The user had no
say in this decision. This changes on August 1. A new law will allow
users choose the device that gets installed in their homes. The FSFE
wants to ensure everybody knows about their new rights and is asking
users to report cases in which ISPs try to avoid the new regulation.

"Compulsory Routers" are what we call the devices imposed on users,
forbidding them from using any other appliance to access the Internet.
Compulsory routers are often the subject of critical security flaws
which users can't legally or technically fix themselves. They are also
known to be incompatible with certain network devices and standards,
like IPv6, or to support only a small number of important features.

However, the legal situation was ambiguous and ISPs defined the first
router or modem after the wall socket as part of their network. They
could thus bar users from controlling the technology installed within
their own homes, despite the fact that the users were even paying for
the electricity that run the devices.

The Free Software Foundation Europe took up the fight to outlaw
Compulsory Routers in 2013, and we have finally won a major landmark
victory[1]: from August 1 onwards, clients of German internet providers
are allowed by law to use any terminal device they choose. Regardless of
whether it is a DSL or cable connection, the ISP will have to supply the
information you need to connect an alternative router to use the
Internet and telephone network.

 == Help us track the implementation ==

The law is very clear with regard to your new rights, but, based on past
behaviours of ISPs, the FSFE must assume many providers will ignore the
regulation and will continue to try and force their clients to use their
default router.

ISPs will probably make the argument that the law only applies to new
customers, or that a connection to the Internet with alternative devices
will be unstable, or denying support to clients with devices other than
the ones they provide.

We want to make sure that these misbehaviours are made public and we
need your help for that. If you are a client of a German internet
provider, we ask you exercise your new right and start using an
alternative device, ideally one that runs Free Software.

Once your new device is up and running, we need you to provide us with
feedback on whether you had any issues while running your new router. We
will collect this data and confront providers that are not in compliance
with the new law. We have also created a wiki page[2] where we report
information, testing procedures, results, and user experiences.

 == Further information ==

For more information on Compulsory Routers and why they are bad, please
visit our campaign page[3]. Also see the timeline of the most important
events[4] related to this campaign. To contribute to this and other FSFE
campaigns that defend your freedom, you can support us with a
donation[5] or by becoming a sustaining member[6].

 == FSFE Summit 2016 ==

If you're interested in knowing more about how Free Software helps
defend other important rights, we will be holding the FSFE yearly summit
at the beginning of September in Berlin[7]. Come along and discover how
you can also help return the control over technology to people.

Free Software Foundation Europe <https://fsfe.org>
FSFE News <https://fsfe.org/news/news.en.rss>
Upcoming FSFE Events <https://fsfe.org/events/events.en.rss>
Fellowship Blog Aggregation <https://planet.fsfe.org/en/rss20.xml>
Free Software Discussions <https://fsfe.org/contact/community.en.html>

 1. https://fsfe.org/news/2015/news-20151105-01.en.html
 2. https://wiki.fsfe.org/Activities/CompulsoryRouters/Implementation/Germany
 3. https://fsfe.org/activities/routers/index.en.html
 4. https://fsfe.org/activities/routers/timeline.en.html
 5. https://fsfe.org/donate/index.en.html
 6. https://fsfe.org/join
 7. https://fsfe.org/summit16

  == About the Free Software Foundation Europe ==

  The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit
  non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and
  involved in many global activities. Access to software determines
  participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation in
  the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free
  Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the
  furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study,
  modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these issues,
  securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving people
  Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are central issues
  of the FSFE.


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