The provider wouldn’t be allowed to discriminate your data

The Open Internet & the Threat of no Net Neutrality Net Neutrality is the principle that all internet traffic and data should be treated equally. Internet traffic and data includes websites, content, and web platforms. Many believe that Net Neutrality preserves the right to free speech online, and should be the number one priority for the internet.  This can also be called the Open Internet, where the Internet and its content are fully accessible by all individuals and companies no matter who they are.  With Open Internet, the service provider wouldn’t be allowed to discriminate your data usage, block certain websites, or charge you extra for websites and information, that would be otherwise, -provided for free via the Internet (Ingram). The Open Internet also ensures that all internet traffic flows with the same quality, and speed, to the delivered user (Cook).When the FCC  made a ruling against Net Neutrality, they virtually destroyed any remaining protections that protected the Open Internet. The ruling now allows the ISP’s to charge more for extra data, block any websites, and filter any content they want. Internet service providers are now taking the worst aspects of cable TV systems/techniques, and forcing them onto the internet; and can possibly control every aspect of the market. In 2010, the FCC created an Open Internet Order which blocked the ISP’s from interfering, or blocking specific traffic on the World Wide Web (Barron’s Educational Series). The order was designed so that the Internet would be a level playing field between the consumer and the Internet service providers. However, in January 2014, the federal courts ruled against the Federal Communication Commission’s ability to enforce the standards of Net Neutrality on the Internet service providers.  The reasoning concluded that the FCC was using questionable legal frameworks to create the Open Internet Order, which ultimately lead to their demise of authority over the Internet service providers. With the more recent FCC ruling to dismiss the Obama administration’s ruling the tables seem to have flipped, yet we are still in the same boat as before only it is the FCC trying to get rid of Net Neutrality, instead of our own government.In 2014, the courts did not rule against Net Neutrality itself, but specifically against the Federal Communication Commission’s authority to enforce rules on the Internet service providers. The court specified that its “task as a reviewing court is not to assess the wisdom of the Open Internet Order regulations, but rather to determine whether the Commission has demonstrated that the regulations fall within the scope of its statutory grant of authority” (Tatel). This decision was also reached because of the FCC’s mistake in 2002, in which Michael Powell, the then chair of the FCC, classified Internet service providers as information services, rather than common carriers (Ammori).On the bright side, the court’s decision did not prohibit the FCC from reversing their earlier placed orders, and can reclassify the Internet service providers as “common carriers.” A common carrier is legal classification for a person, and or company, who provides goods. Common carriers are often referred to as public utilities, which provide water, electricity, and public transportation. These CCs are legally prohibited from refusing service or discriminating against their customers, which ultimately provides a barrier of protection to the consumer. If the FCC classified Internet service providers under common carriers, then it would restore Net Neutrality completely, but today the latest FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai,  has worked against Net Neutrality. Since 2015, when the Obama Administration banned cable and telecommunication companies from slowing down any websites or applications, the FCC never really liked it and since then, they have been fighting against it. Well in 2017 the FCC voted on changing the rules in favor of these ISP’s and the Republican majority won the vote. In 1996, Congress enacted the Telecommunications Act, the first major law passed for telecommunications companies in over 60 years. The goal of the law was to allow anyone to start a communications business, and permitted communications businesses to compete against each other in any market. Congress understood that Internet service providers could gain crazy amounts of power by controlling the access networks and gateways, so they told the FFC to treat the Internet service providers as common carriers.  During this time, the Internet service providers couldn’t block content that flowed across their network to the consumer’s network devices. Later, FCC Chairman Michael Powell and Kevin Martin finally re-defined Internet service providers as “information services.” There was controversy and claims of conflict of interests due to Chairman Powell and Kevin Martin becoming big lobbyists for the Cable Telecommunications industry after their time in office(Oliver). Their decisions stripped the FCC’s power to prohibit the Internet service provider’s ability to discriminate and block online content; also limiting the FFC’s assurance on protecting the privacy of the consumer. Thanks to the lack of power within the FCC, Internet service providers can monitor and track their customers online activity with no legal repercussions. This information could be used for many malicious purposes like blackmail, unwanted advertising, and the consumer’s information could also be sold. The companies could have complete control over the Internet and the devices used to connect users. The Internet service providers could require the Internet consumer to only use the network devices provided by the Internet service provider itself, and could dictate what websites and content they can connect to (Wu). A demonstration of this is the use of highways. Theoretically speaking, if General Motors owned the Federal Highway System, they could discriminate against any other brands of motor vehicles; not allowing them to use the highway. If non-GM vehicles wanted access to the highway, GM could deny the other cars access. Comcast could deploy this same practice onto Netflix, by blocking their customers from accessing the competing streaming service. This would force Comcast customers to use their provided streaming service only. Not only would this provide a monopoly for Internet service providers, but it would also impact the majority of businesses.The Open Internet is imperative for businesses globally. In today’s economy, the online presence of a business is crucial to their success. Businesses use the Internet to advertise, create markets, promote competition, breed innovation, and to delivers goods and services to their customers. Without Net Neutrality, these businesses face incredible discrimination. U.S. Senator Ryan Wyden was quoted saying “Without rules to guarantee all web traffic travels on the same track the economic might of big corporations will shove out competition from start-ups and disruptive technologies, depriving Americans of the next wave of innovative services and products.” With the lack of Net Neutrality, the open market could be interfered with, and inevitably destroyed. Internet service providers could manipulate the market and control every possible aspect of online business, eliminating any sort of competition against their massive corporations (Driessen).In conclusion, Net Neutrality can preserve the freedom of the internet. Internet service providers are positioning themselves to gain obscene amounts of power, and to take control of the consumer. In order to preserve the rights of the consumer, we as the consumer need to voice

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