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Net Neutrality or Not Neutrality?

Jon Petry

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 Ever since the FCC ruled to repeal Net Neutrality laws on November 1, 2017, everyone from political activists to common citizens have been in an uproar over the loss of what they believe to be a civil right. Net Neutrality, up until now, has been something not a lot of people knew about and had often been taken for granted while the FCC, formerly in favor of Net Neutrality, fought to protect it. Net Neutrality is defined as the principle by which those who provide internet access, like Verizon, cannot discriminate against the content any individual is able to receive via the internet for any reason including content, where it comes from, or who it is going to. This principle laid the groundwork for what is commonly known as a free internet.

 As it is a very widely debated topic in regards to how it protected us and how it will affect internet users if it is to go, there is a lot of myth and confusion about the subject. One of the common misconceptions about the loss of Net Neutrality is that you will have to pay for everything on the internet now. While there is some truth to this, it is a lot more complicated than that. Depending on what internet provider you have, and how they feel about Net Neutrality, they could do everything from making you pay for using what were once free applications, like Instagram and Snapchat, to blocking entire websites, much like our school has the ability to block inappropriate websites from student use. This would prove very prove problematic for pretty much everyone, as control of the internet will now lie in the hands of internet providers and big corporations. In the past, the FCC would stand by the people in defense of internet rights, suing and stopping companies when they would attempt to block or slow down the speed at which we can receive content, but now the FCC has, in essence, attempted to sell their governance of neutrality, preventing them from doing much until a new law is passed.

 While the fight for Net Neutrality continues, it is important to understand an issue fully before making a decision. Many Net Neutrality supporters, including the inventor of the “worldwide web”, Tim Berners Lee, encourage people to learn about the topic first so that they understand what exactly is at stake and hopefully bring more people to support the cause. The more people that act in favor of Net Neutrality in our country, the greater chance we have of keeping it.

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Net Neutrality or Not Neutrality?