Perhaps you have heard of Net Neutrality, perhaps not. Do you truly care what might be the ending of free flowing Internet traffic as we know it? Net Neutrality is nothing new; however, business, government, and individuals like us are now going to see the battle of the net. So what is Net Neutrality? Webster’s New Millennium Dictionary defines it as “The principle that basic Internet protocols should be non discriminatory, esp. that content providers should get equal treatment from internet operators.” Let’s back up for a moment. From the beginning, the intent of the Internet is to be free and open without blockage or impact through traffic and packet manipulation. The internet doesn’t care about the difference between an Email message and Youtube video, it’s just data passing. So in stating, Internet Service Providers which do not abide by the same philosophy are not being neutral regarding content access.
Here are some scenarios of how this might affect everyone. However, in reality these take place.
* Your Internet provider, who is also your cable TV provider, blocks iTunes movies and YouTube because they want you to buy their movies on demand. In fact Comcast was found in violation of blocking bit-torrent. Not neutral!
* You use Paypal for online purchases with Ebay, but because your provider has made an exclusive deal with another payment vendor, you are blocked from Paypal. Or in lieu pay your provider a fee to use your preferred choice. Not neutral!
* Your access speed is throttled down to the Fox News web site since the political views of your provider are not conservative; however, access to MSNBC contains full breath of speed.
Do any of these scenarios please you? Of course not. You pay a provider for access to any content desired, not what they think is best. The entire situation continues to be “Big Business” wanting more and more of your dollars. We can’t allow these business tycoons nor government to destroy the value of what we enjoy. And we certainly don’t want our First Amendment rights of the U.S. Constitution to be obstructed. Recently the FCC approved openness rules for wired and wireless internet connections. The FCC unanimously agreed to expand the rules from 2005 that require cable and DSL providers to allow their customers to use whatever devices or online services they want so long as they don’t hurt the network.
Has it stopped here? Of course not. Two new bills have been introduced to prohibit the FCC from regulating providers from selectively blocking or slowing traffic. Senator John McCain, author of the bill known as the Internet Freedom Act of 2009 stated “Net neutrality rules would create onerous federal regulation” and continued to say proposed net neutrality rules would be a “government takeover.” A similar bill has been introduced by Representative Marsha Blackburn as the “Real Stimulus Act of 2009,” by where it would prohibit the FCC from “Needlessly imposing regulation on the Internet”
Without political bias, and whether you are for or against regulation, it’s imperative the FCC be given the authority to preserve the Internet in its current form. Which would you prefer: no government oversight as to what carriers and providers are blocking, or oversight of providers to eliminate their power and greed and the disruption of you Internet pleasures?
What are your thoughts?
Update: 6 April 2010 – Courts rule against the FCC