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How your internet rights are not actually guaranteed…

Jacob Kaplan, Editor-in-Chief

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The world as we know it revolves around technology. Whether it is doing homework with the aid of an online textbook or scrolling down your Instagram feed, the internet really is the foundation of most students’ lives, especially with the BYOD program at Country Day. The freedom of the internet is something that we don’t just take for granted, but something that we don’t even think about when going in the internet. We get angry when the internet does not work fast enough for our liking, but what if you couldn’t even go to that site in the first place? What if one day the internet, like the world, was restricted to people who would pay for it?

Welcome to the debate of Net Neutrality, primarily led by the Federal Communications Commission or the FCC. The debate of banning Net Neutrality is spreading like the Bitcoin phenomenon or the Southern California wildfires, and likewise it is heating up. The basic premise of Net Neutrality is an internet user’s freedom to visit whatever site he/she chooses, all sites of course having the same internet speed, whether it be fast or slow depending on the quality of one’s internet. The FCC has in the past fined several ISPs, or Internet Service Providers, who have restricted their users’ internet access, but now is looking to repeal the act that guarantees everyone’s free rights on the internet. Ajit Pai, the FCC’s president, wants to spread capitalism and the free market onto the one place it really has not had a major effect, the internet. There are multiple reasons behind his thought process and why he is trying to push the repeal of Net Neutrality, the most concerned topic being the first amendment such as the constant slandering of the president through places such as Twitter and news channels. His goal is to make the internet a place where free market reigns supreme, allowing ISPs to control the internet speeds around certain websites and only giving access to certain websites.

A prime example of this would be if Cox, an ISP, decided to make a deal with McDonald’s, one of the most successful businesses in the world, where McDonald’s would pay Cox to boost the internet speed on McDonald’s website, while slowing down the internet on competitors such as Burger King or In-n-Out. This would also limit people’s service providers as there are not unlimited ISPs in the world and gives them the power to set the limits on what sites people can visit, especially considering the could block their own competitors or send you to their page instead of a rival company’s. As students, our busy lives, both school-related and social, revolve around our computers and even more so around the fact that we can go to sites such as Quizlet to study for an upcoming test or YouTube to relax after a long day and if Net Neutrality is repealed we could see a drastic increase in student’s efficiency on the internet. Sites that the school would not prioritize would be slower and even if the topic is school related, like posting a video for a language class on YouTube, we as students might not be able to. Repealing Net Neutrality could also decrease the amount of time we spend online as assignments could return back to paper versions rather than to go through the hassle of using online resources. Already costly online textbooks and databases like Gilder Lehrman and Albert.io could become more expensive or even obsolete, websites like Kahoot or Quizlet Live being lost as future methods to study.

In my own opinion, I believe that Net Neutrality is something that we all take for granted and we would miss dearly if it was repealed. Our freedom on the internet to visit the websites we please is really something I would not like to see gone. But in the end, if the FCC is going to pass a law that repeals Net Neutrality, what could we really do? If you are someone who feels like Net Neutrality is something you don’t want, then there are petitions online that you could sign to fight against Net Neutrality. If you feel like Net Neutrality is a good thing coming then wait and see if the FCC passes the bill to repeal Net Neutrality; the vote to repeal Net Neutrality is Thursday, December 14th and it will assuredly determine the outcome of how the internet is viewed for years to come.

 

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/29/opinion/net-neutrality-consumers.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FNet%20Neutrality&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=collection

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality

 

https://www.salon.com/2017/11/30/fcc-chair-ajit-pai-doesnt-seem-to-know-how-the-internet-works 

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How your internet rights are not actually guaranteed…