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Digitale Gesellschaft promotes net neutrality with Vodafail actions

19 December, 2012

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: Vodafail: Digitale Gesellschaft setzt sich für Netzneutralität ein

There are only a few telecom operators in Germany which offer mobile Internet. The two largest, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone, harm net neutrality in numerous of their tariffs – deeply hidden in their contract terms. The federal government does not care to do anything against it, and many consumers don’t even notice anything about it.

To create an awareness of the insidious violation of net neutrality and to make politicians aware of obvious consumer fraud by large telcos, EDRi member Digitale Gesellschaft e. V. has started online actions against Vodafone. These take place in the context of a campaign called “EchtesNetz” (RealNet) and are aiming for a legislative codification of network neutrality in Germany and the EU.

On behalf of the entire industry we use Vodafone as an example how tariffs are sold as Internet, though parts of the Internet are prohibited in the general terms and conditions of many providers.

On the campaign’s page “” we advertise (existing!) Internet tariffs with elaborate names like "Vodafone Superflat Internet", which ironically prohibit VoIP, instant messaging and peer-to-peer. According to Vodafone’s own definition, peer-to-peer connections are "computer-to-computer connections". So, it seems like the entire Internet is banned using this “super flat” tariff – although consumers have to pay full price and are only informed about the restrictions in small print.

The Vodafail remixer calls for a creative examination of the topic. Using Vodafone billboards, consumers can write their own opinion about Vodafone’s consumer deception and create fitting banners to explain their views in a simple statement. So far, almost 1000 pieces have been generated (see

What do we want to achieve?

Politics needs to secure net neutrality - Only a full-scale internet access should be allowed to be sold as Internet. Everything else is a sham. Users must have the freedom to use every hardware and software and any application they want. This is what consumers perceive as the Internet. Politicians like to point to the market and promise transparency. Actual transparency is obviously not practised and apparently rejected by some telecommunications service providers. We need a simple and straightforward solution for this problem. Since politicians like to propose that consumers should complain when they have a problem with their current “offer”, we offer a solution with our actions.

At the same time Digitale Gesellschaft e. V. has published a comprehensive manual about net neutrality in a beta version. By now, we are still in need of donations to print the manual in a larger edition and to distribute it to decision-makers and multipliers.


Vodafail Remixer

Launch of a new Vodafone campaign: That’s the freedom we take! (29.11.2012)

Digitale Gesellschaft Guide on Net Neutrality (12.2012)

(Contribution by Markus Beckedahl - EDRi member Digitale Gesellschaft - Germany)



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