What is Net Neutrality ?

Neutrality

 

The world is made up of 195 countries and 7.6 billion people, but for the past 50 years or so, it has become rather small. And we don’t say it like it is a bad thing because it is actually something positive and beneficial. All corners of the world are virtually connected to one another in an instant despite the distance so that you get to see where in Asia your relatives are backpacking, even before they send you a postcard. You know what’s happening to Europe’s economy without having to wait for the morning paper, and you are updated with the latest trend in technology, fashion and everything else even without subscribing to magazines that get delivered to your doorsteps once a month.

Indeed, the internet has changed the world so much, turning it into a closely knit community where everyone is given the opportunity to learn, explore, and share. In essence, the internet has given us the freedom to exercise some of the fundamental human rights such as freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of assembly, and even the right to development. All these freedom that you enjoy is greatly made possible because of the principle called Net Neutrality. Thus, any threat to Net Neutrality is a threat to your freedom, and that, in a nutshell, is why you should care.

What is Net Neutrality?

what is net neutrality/limevpn

 

The concept of Net Neutrality is not uncommon as it is based on what human beings have been fighting for since the beginning of time – that is to be treated equally regardless of gender, race, religion, and affiliation. In the internet world, the principle of Net Neutrality focuses on network packets being treated equally regardless of its source, destination, and content. Net Neutrality promotes equality in terms of price and speed for everyone. Internet Service Providers or ISPs are prohibited from charging more for certain applications and websites, and from altering the speed of the internet connection. Furthermore, Net Neutrality does not allow ISPs to block any website, content, or application. It basically ensures that you enjoy an open internet.

The Net Neutrality principle allows you to freely use any application, and access any website that you want, allowing you to exercise : (a) Freedom of expression and opinion when you communicate to other people through your social media and instant messaging accounts. (b) Freedom of assembly when you join millions of people online in promoting an advocacy (c) Right to development when you start an online business or take on online jobs to help augment your financial status.

 

How is Net Neutrality Threatened?

net neutrality Threatened/limevpn

 

The greatest threat to Net Neutrality is when governments fail to pass laws and regulations that protect it, thereby giving Internet Service Providers  free rein over pricing, speed, and web traffic.  Take for instance the case of the United States whose protection over Net Neutrality has been revoked by the very department that had been upholding it for years. The decision of the Federal Communication Commission or FCC to reclassify the internet from telecommunication service to the less regulated classification of information service has, in effect removed Internet Service Providers from the same laws and regulations that reign over telecommunication companies. ISPs are no longer governed by Title II of  the Communications Act.

Right now, the principle of Net Neutrality in the United States of America is in danger of becoming just that – merely a principle, with no tangible laws to protect it.

The United States, however, is not alone in this peril. There are also a number of countries all over the world who do not have Net Neutrality in place, such as Canada and Indonesia. On the other hand, there are countries who do have regulations in place to protect Net Neutrality, but violations are still common due to the irregularities in these laws.

 

What Happens if There’s No Net Neutrality?

what happens if there's no net neautrality/limevpn

 

One of the largest Internet Service Providers in Indonesia has blocked access to Netflix due to its pornographic contents. However, it allows access, and even promotes Iflix, which offers the same services as Netflix, and also contains pornographic films, supposedly this was the reason behind the censorship of Netflix.

Something similar happened in Canada, where one of the largest ISPs blocked a server in which a website that supports labor strike against the ISP is hosted.

Canada and Indonesia are two countries that do not have laws and regulation in place to protect Net Neutrality. What happens when there is no Net Neutrality? Based on  the examples of the two counties, censorship happens. ISPs can throttle the speed of websites or applications of companies they are not allied with, or those companies who are not willing to pay more. Think about toll lanes on highways. Drivers who are willing to pay more get to drive faster, while those who cannot pay are forced to stay on the slower lanes and thus drive slower.

ISPs can also straight-out block access to applications and websites that do not pay a premium fee to them. Worse is that these huge corporations may even censor contents and websites based on religious, gender, political, and racial affiliations.  Think about it, they can very well block contents for any reason because there are no legal repercussions. The internet that we know now – open and affordable – may not be the same.

Well, there can actually be a workaround to this Net Neutrality issue, and that is by getting a VPN service. VPN can be a tool against censorship, in that it limits what your ISP knows about your internet usage. No one can see and control your network activities because your usage will be encrypted. In Indonesia, for example, where Netflix is blocked, you can still have access to it if you have a VPN.

In effect, you will still be able to access websites and contents that are blocked by your Internet Service Provider, giving you the freedom that Net Neutrality is supposed to give.

 

Conclusion

All this noise about Net Neutrality is justified as people are fighting for their freedom. However, if things get worse and some governments just cannot protect Net Neutrality, there will be tools that can be used against the negative effects of this issue, and an example of this is VPN.

 

A Complete gamer and a Tech Geek. Brings out all her thoughts and Love in Writing Techie blogs.