When you open the web browser on your internet-connected device, you expect to be linked with every website or content you desire. But what if the government or your internet service provider messes up with the data and exposes you only to the websites or content of its own choice? It would be disgusting!
When you go online, you expect to have full control of your internet experience, which means you expect Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality is the internet guiding principle that prohibits ISPs like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T from speeding up, slowing down, or blocking any legal website or content.
The internet has always worked on the principle of Net Neutrality, allowing the user to share and access desired information without interference. But right now, the availability of free and open internet worldwide is in jeopardy as the Trump government has officially launched the plan to dismantle Net Neutrality.
What Is Net Neutrality?
Net Neutrality is the concept of an open internet where no legal website or content is blocked or discriminated against over others. It means that ISPs should provide the user unrestricted access to any legal website, application, or content. Without Net Neutrality, an internet service provider can block, speed up or slow down any content or charge extra fees to companies that could pay for preferential treatment.
Is Net Neutrality A Good Idea Or Bad?
There are always two facets of an argument, either good or bad. Likewise, Net Neutrality can be favorable for someone or unfavorable for the other. A few points can help you decide if controlling the internet is a good idea or bad.
Freedom of Expression
Net Neutrality allows any website, blog, application, news, or content to be available online if it is legal. It means the user has a right to express his opinions and thoughts on the internet freely. When it comes to movements against any unfavorable government policy, it is only because of Net Neutrality that the protesters can freely spread their words. Otherwise, the government or internet service providers can manipulate the information blocking the content they don’t want you to see or streaming videos that are not suitable for them or are against their interests.
Innovations and Competition:
Net Neutrality is crucial for small businesses and start-ups that rely on the internet to launch their business, promote their product or service, and reach customers. Because of an open internet, scores of companies have been able to flourish online. Similarly, the open internet is necessary for job opportunities, innovation, and competition. Without it, we would never have the next Google or Facebook.
Objectionable Content and Censorship
Net Neutrality makes it possible to access legal but age-sensitive content such as pornography. If an internet service provider blocks these services at a network level, all the devices connected to that network won’t see that content. While there is various parental control software to block inappropriate websites on a family computer, more children have smartphones and internet-connected devices that they can use without parental supervision.
The internet service providers can decide which service to speed up and slow down. For example, Google’s Gmail could be faster than Microsoft’s Hotmail, depending on how much both companies pay to ISPs. Likewise, providers can crackdown on peer-to-peer file sharing, responsible for piracy or illegal downloads.
Network Expansion and Monitoring
The internet service providers could charge money for faster or uninterrupted internet access to big bandwidth hogs and invest that money in upgrading their network.
Whatever activity you perform on the internet can be monitored; however, without Net Neutrality, the internet providers could better watch everything their customers do on the internet, use information, or sell products or services.
The above points clarify that Net Neutrality favors people, and alternatives are only favorable for dictators or internet service providers.
The Bottom Line
Net Neutrality is not something negotiable, but it is a MUST. We have a right to know everything in our society and democracy, so we cannot accept anything less than this. It is the need of the hour to defend our rights to communicate on an open internet freely.