Losing Our Internet Freedom

Michael Costa, Staff Writer

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Everywhere you go you see people using the internet. At this point it has become the foundation of our generation. Whether it’s cell phones, computers, or gaming consoles everyone is connected.

When we access the internet our expectations are high, and we expect to have the ability to access whatever website we want when we want it. Net Neutrality is the main principle that allows us to do this. Net Neutrality sets rules that disallows major internet companies such as Verizon, Optimum, or Comcast from slowing down or blocking any websites or applications you would like to access. This goes for everything we use, from the apps on our phone to any company’s website you would like to access. If we didn’t have net neutrality we would have minimal freedom on the internet. As sophomore president, Vidar Hageman stated “This issue of losing Net Neutrality is a big one because it would be the end of the internet as we know it.” It would basically be like your internet provider is choosing where it wants you to go with the internet speed.
But now thanks to Ajit Pai, Trump’s FCC chairman(Federal Communications Commission), the principle of net neutrality is on the edge of disappearance. Pai has a plan to abolish our internet freedom by wiping out net neutrality. This idea was brought up in April and by May the FCC voted to allow this plan to progress. People became angry. By the end of summer, there was over 22 million comments on this plan and the vast majority were negative, wanting to keep these simple guidelines that have preserved our internet freedom for so long. On december 14th Ajit Pai won the vote to repeal Net Neutrality, even though it went through all this adversity with 20 million comments against his plan. Although he won the vote the decision is not final. The plan still has to go through congress, and they will have the final say.

Clearly Net Neutrality has a huge effect on everyday internet users, but what is its effect on bigger corporations. Mr. Candia, a history teacher, shares his thoughts “Cable is fighting back. Due to new streaming techniques they are dying and this is a way to fight back.”. This quote shows how the abolishment of Net Neutrality helps and hurts big companies. We are at a time where cable is slowly dying. Now that we have all these streaming services such as Netflix and Sling TV many, people especially children, are coming to the realization that they don’t need cable, and can just use the streaming services. So without Net Neutrality the big service providers such as Optimum will have the ability to slow down or block these streaming companies unless they pay a lot of money. This gives the cable companies an opportunity to fight back as Mr. Candia stated.

So yes, Net Neutrality does help one set of industry, the internet providers. With all the power these internet companies are gaining they are becoming bullies to every other company using the internet. Not only will these big internet providers have the ability to charge the smaller local companies to have access to the internet, it also could very easily corrupt these companies politically. For example, say an internet provider clearly takes a huge stance against President Trump. The larger internet providers will have the ability to block websites that positively promote Trump. This goes for any type of organization if they have a bad relationship with larger internet companies such as the LGBTQ community or Black lives matter. If the service providers take stance against them they could charge these organizations not to block their propaganda. Very scary to think about for these organizations.

When congress makes its final decision it will be the most influential date in internet history. It will change how all companies, organizations, or streaming applications use the internet. It could kill or promote so many companies. It will change our future indefinitely.

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Losing Our Internet Freedom