Compliance and Regulation Law bilingual Dictionnary

Neutrality

by Marie-Anne Frison-Roche

The Regulation is a balance between the principle of competition and another principle. This other principle is a technical principle, for example the prevention of systemic risks or the management of economically natural monopolies. The regulatory system can, maybe must, then remain "neutral". Indeed, neutrality can be defined as the absence of choice made by a few for the future of the group. But Regulatory Mecanism can also mean balancing the principle of competition with a principle that is no longer economic, technical or political, such as access to a common good such as health or culture. In such a case, Regulation ceases to be neutral since there has been a collective choice politically positing that health, education or culture are superior goods.

This has direct implications for the very existence of the Regulator. Indeed, regulators often present themselves as technical, neutral bodies that do not need political legitimacy, since they do not make choices for the social group. This is true only in the first hypotheses but not in the second, where only the democratic State is legitimate to operate them, which explains the return of the State to many regulated sector issues, for example as regards the preference in matter of energy production mode, from renewable energy to nuclear energy, involving the return to a ministry of energy, as well as the shift from financial regulation to ever greater power given to central banks.

The issue today is about the growing importance of what should be the principle of "net neutrality". The question is: Does the Internet, in that it has given birth to digital, assume that every Internet user can access any site without interference, or can content operators and access providers give priority to some websites by directing users to them, either to manage congestion (neutral technical justification) or because they have been paid contractually by this site (non-neutral justification)?

The question remains between the fundamental right of access of Internet users, the technical need to manage congestion, the need not to invest even more to increase bandwidth, and the freedom to undertake operators.

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