By Lois Kim
There’s a chance that the Internet won’t be so free and equal anymore, thanks to America’s Internet service providers (ISPs). To most, the Internet is a place where everyone has a free and equal chance to learn, share, shop and, most of all, communicate. Key words being “free and equal.” The term for this is net neutrality and, simply, it means that we have an equal chance to choose what applications and services we use and what we share or create with others.
ISPs such as AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon plan on charging consumers extra for access and service on the Internet, which would divide it into at least two pieces: the fast and expensive and the slow and cheap. Many predict that this will open up a Pandora’s Box of possibilities for the ISPs since it gives them the ability to charge consumers for higher-speed Internet, charge other services for a faster loading time, slow down the loading time for services they do not like, and even censor or block ones they particularly do not approve of. This removes the ISPs competition. By doing all of those things, the ISPs will breach our freedom of speech, access, openness, innovation and privacy.
But before this started, the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) did attempt to protect a few of Net Neutrality’s principles by passing the Open Internet Order in December of 2010. However, the rules weren’t based on the firmest legal principles, making it very easy for Verizon to sue to repeal the new rules. And on January 2014, a federal appeals court did, repealing the few laws the Internet had to defend its sovereignty. In fact, it also gave ISPs the ability to censor websites and applications and according to Verizon, the right to “edit the Internet.” Then, the FCC suddenly turned around and proposed a new set of rules that supported IPSs, despite the previous lawsuit.
Of course, there are a few principles that are meant to prevent them from the discrimination and encroachments of rights that many feared would occur. Despite this, the ISPs should not be able to charge its customers a fee for faster internet, have the ability to “edit the Internet,” or block websites and applications. The ISPs were fine without these privileges before and certainly do not need them now. Not to mention, not only were the Internet and IPSs fine before all these events occurred but the public was too. John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” on HBO, had segments protesting against the FCC’s proposed set of rules and asked the Internet’s “commenters” to call out and comment on the FCC’s website (which they did, and crashed it).
Go post on the FCC’s comment section yourself and inform the FCC of what you think about this. The website is http://www.fcc.gov/comments; leave your own opinion
As Oliver so eloquently put it, “We need you to get out and, for once in your lives, focus your indiscriminate rage in a useful direction. Seize your moment my lovely trolls, turn on caps lock, and fly my pretties, fly, fly!”