Net Neutrality: the Fight for Internet Freedom and How You Can Help

The internet has been abuzz lately—more than usual. A few days ago, many YouTube creators were speaking up about net neutrality causing Twitter to be a center of a debate. This has been a topic of discussion for years now, but only recently did net neutrality trend worldwide on Twitter. There’s a Tumblr post here and there or a late night host posting a video, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. It is important to talk about net neutrality because, on December 14, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has programmed to roll back Title II for Net Neutrality. The way we live and experience the Internet will forever be changed if net neutrality is killed.  

 

What is net neutrality?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “the idea, principle, or requirement that Internet service providers should or must treat all Internet data as the same regardless of its kind, source, or destination.” This ensures that you are using your Internet service the way you expect to use it. No provider will slow it down or censure/block content that is not under contract with the said provider.

The Internet will be monopolized without net neutrality. Big network companies like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon will block off specific content and regulate what you watch in order to favor their services over others.

 

 

Why is this relevant and/or important?

This isn’t something that just started. The debate goes back to at least 2014, but the official regulations by the FCC were presented in 2015. Activists fought to keep the Internet free and open, but now Trump’s FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, who was given the position this past January, wants to reverse that. In 2015, he had been against the proposal to ensure free Internet, and he would rather give telecom companies the chance to profit off Internet use more than they already do. Since then, Ajit Pai has been trying to get rid of net neutrality in the way we value it.

On the other hand, companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter, among others, are speaking up in favor of net neutrality. These are companies that depend on viewership and interactions with Internet consumers. Without free internet or free browsing, this could cause these companies a hit in commission. As well, on the ethical side, without net neutrality, ISP’s will be allowed to block content they find unsuitable. For example, this could mean the blocking of content created by people “outside of the norm,” such as the LGBTQ+ community, Latinx community, Black Lives Matter movements, the Feminist Movement, etc. The end of freedom of speech and expression will be closer and more tangible than we expect.

What you need to know is that Title II needs to be protected. It allows the FCC to make sure that companies that provide services for streaming, viewing, and all the necessities for a college student procrastination starter pack will not interfere with your usage and experience while “surfing the web.”

 

How can I help?

 

 

On July 12, 2017, a lot of platforms joined forces to create an Internet that mimicked what would happen if Ajit Pai’s plan were to be accepted. This meant that companies like Facebook, Google, and over 120,000 more websites worked together to slow down their pages, block content, and ask viewers of the webpage to pay if they wanted to further view content. This was a protest to show the effects of the internet without net neutrality. According to the Daily Dot, these actions paved the way for over 2 million comments to be sent to the FCC.

 

This map was made on September 17, 2017, showing how many states are in favor or against net neutrality.

There will be rallies at Verizon stores on December 7 due to the previous ties the Chairman holds with the company. You can take action with The Free Press Action Fund which is working long and hard every day to make sure the FCC has a right to say no to a controlled Internet experience.

For more information, the links added in this article are very helpful and informative. Furthermore, if you want to send a comment directly to the FCC, you can do so here.

 

Image credit: 1, 2, 3, & 4.