Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality

When we callously surf online, at the back of our minds, we have certain expectations. For instance, you expect to get exactly what you search using the keywords. You also expect uninterrupted online session and most importantly expect that no one is messing around with your session, i.e., you are not restricted to some sites or the data you are trying to access is limited. In general, you expect to be solely in control of your online experience, you expect Net Neutrality.

What is Net Neutrality?​

The basic principle that is Net Neutrality, prohibits internet service providers from interfering with internet protocols like speeding up, slowing down or blocking any access to online content, including applications and websites. Naturally, the internet has always been unregulated and most users enjoyed Net Neutrality.

However, in 2015, millions of activists felt that they have been robbed of internet freedoms over the years and pressured the Federal Communications Commission to adopt the historic Net Neutrality rules, to ensure the internet is kept free and open and allow people to access and share information without any form of interference.

Two years down the line, in the winter or 2017, a plan to abolish net neutrality protections was hatched by the FCC’s Republican majority under the chairmanship of Ajit Pai. A former lawyer and a presidential appointee, Pai paid no heed to the public outcry against his plans.

Advantages/Disadvantages
of Net Neutrality

Advantages of net neutrality are pretty straightforward:

·         Unrestricted access to online content is perhaps the primary one

·         Educational opportunities through online classes

·         Access to information

·         Increased business competition, which is good for the market and economy as a whole

·         The internet can be used as a tool to fight oppression and prejudice

However, the internet is a double-edged sword and some disadvantages are present as well. They include:

·         Unrestricted access means uncontrolled content, including harmful content

·         Rise in hacking and online fraud

What will happen now that Net Neutrality has been repealed in the US​

Well, without Net Neutrality, internet service providers will now decide and call the shots on what websites should be allowed access to. However, that is not all, these providers can ultimately slow down the competition by restricting access to their content, or even block political opinions that don’t seem to favor them. Moreover, they can charge you a substantial sum for preferential treatment and such. Internet services will then be classified into tiers.

Consequences of this repeal are immensely devastating to marginalized communities in the US, who have used the media to champion their rights and freedoms. Colored people, Native Americans, religious minorities, and also the LGBTQ community will all suffer the most, as they relied heavily on the internet to educate, organize, access economic and educational opportunities and essentially fight back against the discrimination and oppression.

States sue to Maintain Net Neutrality

The future isn’t bleak yet, there are; states that are doing a workaround on it. To be precise, a group of 21 state attorney generals filed a petition challenging the FCC’s decision of ending Net Neutrality. In the petition, they have termed these actions as “arbitrary, capricious and right to privacy infringement” and moreover, they state it violates federal laws and regulations. 

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