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Friday, May 26, 2017

Net Neutrality Needs Attention

If you haven't heard about it, or don't know what it is, Net Neutrality is the idea that people should be able to access content on the internet without Internet Service Providers (ISPs) blocking or manipulating (by speeding up or slowing) any specific sources.

While the argument by the current FCC Chief is that Net Neutrality is anti-consumer and anti-business, they fail to provide any evidence of this. Instead they use rhetoric about the "free market" despite the fact that the ISP industry is effectively an oligopoly, with big firms setting standards and a high barrier to smaller firms to enter the market.

What this comes down to is the fact that ISPs do not have to compete with each other. Therefore, they can instead forego freedom of speech to block content that they and their owners find to be disagreeable. ISPs would also be able to strong arm websites and other content providers not unlike the old concept of mafia insurance: "Nice website, be a shame if nobody could access it. How about you pay us and we make sure people can get to you nice and fast-like, huh?"

Net neutrality is important because it is central to the ability for people to exchange ideas, as well as for people to organize. The progressive grassroots movements need Net Neutrality, and awareness needs to be higher about why it is important.

This might sound like a conspiracy theory, but these things have already happened and are also happening right now:

This link shows an example of Comcast trying to shut down a protest site about their service:

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170523/13491237437/if-net-neutrality-dies-comcast-can-just-block-protest-site-instead-sending-bogus-cease-and-desist.shtml

This link provides a candid reaction to the FCC Chief's statement about Net Neutrality stifling growth:

https://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/69dnox/fcc_chief_net_neutrality_rules_treating_internet/dh6ezem/


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