The Human Rights Response to the Zero Rating Conundrum
The panel was held at the Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference (RightsCon) on April 1, 2016. It examines the framework that exists under international law for analyzing zero-rating as a limitation to net neutrality understood as a norm of human rights. Under this normative framework, which binds at least 80% of the countries in the world, exceptions to net neutrality like zero-rating are evaluated in specific country scenarios using a balancing test of factors to determine whether, on the whole, freedom of expression is advanced or illegitimately curtailed in a particular context. Panelists addressed the situation of net neutrality and zero-rating in four countries across different regions: Chile, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan. The goal was to generate new perspectives on those countries' domestic zero-rating practices, as well as provide a common baseline for constructive comparison across countries, something which does not currently exist.