Anno III - Numero 48
Chi non dubita, non grida.
Nicolás Gómez Dávila

giovedì 30 novembre 2017

What Happens Without Net Neutrality?

American public wants net neutrality. But the government, under both Obama and Trump, keeps trying to overturn it. The overturn failed under Obama but may succeed under Trump

di Emma Lindsay

Nothing good — but we can keep fighting for it. I’m getting a lot of fatigue around net neutrality. This fucker keeps coming up, over, and over again as politicians repeatedly try to overturn it and the public keeps fighting it. And, that alone, should give you pause — why do powerful assholes keep trying to shove this overturn down our throats?
(Before I get into this somewhat depressing post, I should say, I’ll have an “ideas on how to help” section at the end.)

An overwhelming majority of Americans, both democrat and republican, support net neutrality according to a recent poll carried out by Mozilla and Ipsos.

The thing is, overturning net neutrality would benefit large corporations and be bad for small business and individuals. One of my friends described it well on a facebook post:
Right now, there are regulations in place that, for the most part, force your ISP (Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, etc) to treat every megabyte of data the same. A megabyte from Facebook gets treated the same way as one from Instagram, a megabyte from Hulu gets treated the same way as one from Netflix, etc. This means that ISPs aren’t allowed to preference one source or kind of content over another. It keeps the structure of the Internet neutral: it’s equally easy to get to any website so consumers have all the power in choosing what sites they want to visit.

The FCC proposal is to completely revoke all existing net neutrality protections. What does this mean? It means that ISPs can start treating certain sources or kinds of content differently than others. They can speed up, slow down, or restrict access to sources they don’t like. It means giant companies (think Facebook or Amazon) will be able to pay to have their websites be the fastest and have other sites load slower or even not at all. Smaller companies won’t be able to afford to be delivered at top-tier speeds.

It also means that ISPs can charge YOU different rates for different services. This isn’t just a hypothetical. Portugal lost its net neutrality regulations and its major wireless carrier introduced this pricing scheme (attached). It will become legal for ISPs to charge you more for different kinds of service and for specific apps or websites.

But the scariest implication over all of this is the potential fragmentation of the Internet. All of a sudden, it would become legal for, say, CNN to partner with Comcast and pay them to slow down everyone’s access to Fox News. It would become legal for Verizon (who owns Yahoo) to slow or block access to all search engines other than Yahoo. It would become legal for any super PAC to put its preferred candidate in the Internet fast lane and restrict access to their competitions’ websites. Imagine not being allowed to use a donation link to your favorite political candidate because that link is contractually blocked by your ISP. Would that actually happen? Probably not. But all of a sudden, that practice becomes possible and legal.

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