About nine months ago, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) released a plan that would block Net Neutrality and give permission to ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) to discriminate speech and content providers online, such as Netflix, Amazon, and Facebook, to pay for fast lanes, or so to say, “faster service”.
Right now you might be asking, “What is net neutrality?” Net neutrality basically means “open internet”. Having open internet allows us to view whatever content we want, express ourselves all we want, and continue to have the fast or steady service we have online.
When I heard about this plan in May 2014, I was absolutely shocked. Not only were these regulations going to make the internet hard to use, but also cut free expression and hurt students, especially those who want to open businesses and create technology in their careers in the future.
So how can it hurt careers? Say, for instance, a business student today has a strategy planned out to start a certain website and app providing every single TV show, movie, and film that has ever existed. If it competed with ISP’s in any way possible, they would have the power to make the service extra slow, thus making people who tried to use their program turn back on them due to the lack of speed. Basically, with net neutrality gone, their dream could be impossible to pursue.
How would this hurt free speech? If someone wrote an article or even said the smallest thing online that went against what ISP’s would want to hear, they can delete it and make it invisible to the public. That’s killing free speech in America in an instant, since most of us practice free speech and gather information online almost all the time.
Or how about those who rather watch TV content and movies online provided by Netflix or Hulu, for example? If Net Neutrality would be overturned, the ISP’s would have the power to make the websites or apps stream really, really slow— if they had anything against Netflix or Hulu. Or what if the ISP’s didn’t like the show Nashville or Game of Thrones because it was competing with their content provider? They could make the show super slow or even shut them down and make them unavailable. There is A LOT of people who catch up on movies and TV shows online now a days. Who wouldn’t be mad about that?
Today, however, thanks to the protest of approximately 4 million Americans, myself included, the FCC has heard our protest to keep Net Neutrality alive. Today, we won the vote by 3-2.
This was a close one. Let’s be grateful, Renegades, let’s be grateful.