Internet companies might start making people pay more just to use streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Everyone in this modern day and age uses the internet in some way or form. It doesn’t matter if you use it to: see the weather, get updates on the news, solve a debate with a friend, school research, or more recreational uses. This wonderful technological tool has become a part of everyone’s daily lives. Because of this companies make you pay a good amount of money just to use the internet under their service. Some people have to budget just to be able to afford their own internet service, and the people that can’t afford it go to public libraries and other places like that. Net Neutrality preserves this way of life, giving regulation to the internet companies forcing them to not charge extra on content that they deem to be a luxury, allowing freedom of speech, and creating healthy competition among other newer companies.
Net Neutrality was something that came out of no where. It wasn’t expected and no one thought of it being a necessary thing because the internet was “doing fine by itself.” “ISPs can compromise free speech protections in a variety of ways. The first is through traffic shaping, a practice that involves slowing down some forms of traffic, like file-sharing, while giving others priority. This is accomplished by limiting available bandwidth, which enables ISPs to favor certain categories of speech over others.” (Lamparello 18) A more physical example of this would be you paying a water company for good water pressure so that you can shower, but you could only shower in the middle of night at 3AM because any other times you tried to shower the water would come out in a drizzle because someone else, that is paying more money then you for their shower, gets first priority even though you pay for the service to be available 24/7. In some cases it was found that everyone’s speeds would be reduced to compensate for everyone using it at the same time resulting in no one getting usable internet as it would come to a grinding irritating holt. This is just one of the problems that comes with non-regulated internet companies.
One of the biggest reasons that people believe that Net Neutrality is necessary is because it breaks our first amendment, freedom of speech. Companies, without Net Neutrality regulating them, are allowed to block and put up barriers to any site that they choose. “Many Internet practitioners in the United States are anticipating a wider digital divide among students whose families can afford ISP packaging for wider access online and those students whose cannot afford additional access pricing.” (Cook 1) This can also range from making people pay more money to be even be allowed to stream from Netflix (this doesn’t include the cost of the service itself) to completely blocking sites that the companies do not agree with for example certain religious sites, and there is nothing you can legally do about this. This is a complete violation of our rights that is being completely overlooked because of it being on the internet.
Since the internet is more of a new thing compared to the lifespan of America, the laws have not caught up with this new technology. “Justice Scalia chastised his colleagues for their ‘indefensible’ refusal to grapple with the broader question of how the Fourth Amendment should apply to new technology. While recognizing that formulating a test ‘may sometimes be difficult,’ Scalia nonetheless contended that ‘when it is necessary to decide a case we have no choice.’ Predicting that the plurality’s fact-specific ruling amounted to a ‘heavy-handed hint’ to future courts, which would, in turn, invite more litigation, Scalia concluded that ‘[t]he times-they-are-a-changin’ is a feeble excuse for disregard of duty.” (Kirtley 1) Net Neutrality was supposed to be the bridge that we needed to make the laws clear cut. Now that we are without it, it is very similar to having to deal with monopolies all over again. Companies can spend more money to have their pages or content displayed more often and more visibly. Doing this gives little room for more competition to rise allowing for the companies to charge whatever they want for their products and these spots no matter if the product is good or not.
With all of this in mind I believe we should bring back Net Neutrality because it will be better for the general populous that uses the internet. Net Neutrality will leave internet service to be more affordable for everyone and not just feed into the people that are willing to shell out the most cash. Not only all of that but it will help protect our rights as US citizens, by not allowing companies to filter what we want to know about or what we stream in our free time.
The best plan of action to start to fix these problems is to just raise awareness. When this bill first came out, even I fell into the hole of ignorance surrounding this subject. I asked all of my friends and everyone seemed to have conflicting answers on what being for or against Net Neutrality means. It wasn’t until I researched Net Neutrality was I able to finally see the confusion and pick the side that I believe to be correct. I also believe that the vast majority of people would agree with my choice in this debate. Nothing can stop all of us from making the best decision for ourselves if we all take the time to read on this very important and life changing topic. Don’t just take what I am saying as the “end all be all” voice on this subject, please read it for yourself.
Cook, Vickie S. “Net Neutrality: What Is It and Why Should Educators Care?” Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, vol. 80, no. 4, Summer 2014, pp. 46–49.
This article talks about how without Net Neutrality educators have a harder time educating students because they would have to pay money out of pocket for supplemental educational videos and internet access in general. I am going to use this article to show that without Net Neutrality it is highly possible that we are putting unnecessary fanatical burdens on our educators and taking away resources that were previously accessible to help teach. This article was written by an educator that holds a PHD and specializes in online learning, research, and service.
Gómez-Barroso, José Luis, and Claudio Feijóo. “Viewpoint: Asymmetries and Shortages of the Network Neutrality Principle.” Communications of the ACM, vol. 54, no. 4, Apr. 2011, pp. 36–37.
This article talks about how even with Net Neutrality implemented there will still inadvertently be unfair situations for the CPs that will just cause more issues for everyone overall because of the way search engines are set up and how the placement of business will effect their load speeds. This all in turn giving grounds for it to not be a fair system for the CPs. I am going to use this article as counter argument to help solve the issues brought up on the other side properly. The writer is an associate professor in the Department of Applied Economics and Economic History.
Hong, Guo, et al. “Effects of Competition among Internet Service Providers and Content Providers on the Net Neutrality Debate.” MIS Quarterly, vol. 41, no. 2, June 2017, pp. 353-A29.
This article talks about how Net Neutrality effects the competition between Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Content Providers (CPs) and brings up a multitude of propositions to create a fair solution between the ISPs and the CPs. I will be using this to show that without Net Neutrality ISPs can force CPs to pick between paying extra money and being heavily monitored by the ISP or never getting any foot traffic, having extremely slow load speeds for their content, and the possibility of being blocked out all together by the ISP. This article was written by: multiple professors of Business to explain the logical possibilities of the companies, multiple professors of Mathematics to come up with formulas to back up the logical reasoning behind the speculations being made, and to help make formulas for the solutions being proposed, multiple professors of computers and information management. All of the professors having prestigious awards and/or having previous works published and a couple of them have PHDs in their respective fields.
Kirtley, Jane E. “Virtual Freedom: Net Neutrality and Free Speech in the Internet Age.” Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science & Technology, vol. 50, no. 4, Summer 2010, pp. 539–544.
This source talks about how the Supreme Court is not ruling on how privet information should be handled over the internet or technological devises in general for fear of the ruling not being favorable later in unforeseen events in growth of technology. The source then talks about how this is giving companies the ability to ignore their obligations to give open information on the internet and the ability to block sites that the companies don’t like. I am going to be using this to show how without Net Neutrality companies are able to hold a lot of power by controlling our flow of information and exploiting it. This source is very reliable being a scholarly article being written by 2 professors of Media Ethics and Laws and that has been peer reviewed by a different professor of Media Ethics and Laws. This article also gives multiple sited reliable sources.
Lamparello, Adam. “The Internet Is the New Marketplace of Ideas: Why Riley V. California Supports Net Neutrality.” Journal of Art, Technology & Intellectual Property Law, vol. 25, no. 2, Spring 2015, pp. 267–291.
This article touches on how without Net Neutrality the 1st Amendment may be violated through the censorship of companies on the internet. By drawing parallels to what a town square would be to the internet, they say that free speech should be a right in both situations. I am going to use this article to show that by drawing parallels to a past court case the next logical step would be to equate net neutrality to the protection of our first amendment rights. The article was written by a professor of law at Indiana tech law school.