Have you ever heard of Net Neutrality? Even if this is your first time on the internet, then you are experiencing it. However, the bad news is that it’s currently under threat, and not for the first time.
Net Neutrality is a principle that allows all internet users to access all available content, no matter what the source is, and without favorability to particular sites.
Net Neutrality is currently facing threat from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), due to the new chairman who was appointed by the Trump administration, Ajit Pai. He has stated that he wants to get rid of these open Internet protections that make the websites free and open. This internet principle was brought in in 2015 by the Obama administration.
If plans to scrap the accessibility goes ahead, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) would be allowed to slow down any access to targeted parts of the internet, together with possible increased charges to streaming sites such as Netflix, according to recent reports. Alongside this, it is believed that preference could even be given to particular news sites.
Similarly, in 2012 a Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA), and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) were considered by the US, which would also have altered the current open internet as we know it.
Reports have stated that Pai wants to overturn the 2015 laws which regulated ISPs, causing a 90-day comment period to begin after May 18, when the FCC said that it would support a new proposal that repeals the original order. There will be a final vote for a new proposal near the end of this year.
In anticipation of any upcoming changes and decisions, some websites have already begun to make necessary changes. For example, Reddit have put up messages warning their visitors about Net Neutrality, stating, “We’re sorry, access to /r/technology is not included in your internet service package”, on their banner post. Similar messages have also appeared on Netflix, Spotify, and Airbnb.
Once again the public must wait to see what the verdict will be, and how this will affect the future of our internet use.
IMAGE CREDIT:rawpixel / 123RF Stock Photo
I am Jess Murray, wildlife conservationist, photographer, and writer. I like to document the natural world and create awareness through my writing so that your future can be sustainable and positive. Follow my Facebook page and Instagram account to be part of the journey.