Net neutrality is well on its way to becoming a thing of the past, thanks to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which announced their plan to dismantle net neutrality last week. This change essentially permits internet providers such as Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T to throttle speeds, block websites they dislike, and divide the internet into various slow and fast lanes.
Chairman of the FCC Ajit Pai said, “Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet. . . . Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them, and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate.”
Such a move would essentially eliminate free speech within the internet, as content would be filtered through the lens of whichever corporation is providing your service. As a result, much of the content we see would likely be centred around advertising and sales, disguised as regular internet content.
Still unclear about how this will impact you?
Think of It Like Cable
If you still have cable, then you may be able to relate to net neutrality by observing how cable companies operate. You can’t pick and choose the channels you want, but rather have to buy packages, even though there are some channels you could care less about. You might only want HBO, for example, but you have to pay for everything just to get it. So if you want to be able to use Netflix, then you might have to sign up for other websites you don’t necessarily want or plan to use.
Portugal has done this with their internet, and if you need a visual aid to help you understand this, take a look.
Net Neutrality Protects Us From Online Censorship
This is the most important reason why we cannot just sit by and allow this to happen. The internet has been the vehicle for massive shifts in perspective, increased awareness, and the awakening of millions of people, including myself. Without net neutrality, sites like this one might not be able to exist at all. What happened to freedom of speech? Clearly, the internet poses a great threat to the powers that be, exposing the corruption that is playing out in our world and offering solutions to counteract it — otherwise, this wouldn’t be happening. Of course, internet service providers likely aren’t thinking of that. These corporations are thinking of how they can make more money.
Companies will be able to block any site they dislike, so if the company has a certain political stance, they could very well block sites that disagree with that stance. This is literally the definition of censorship… is anyone else thinking of 1984? What about free speech? If you’re not outraged, then you’re not paying attention.
Last Night Tonight with John Oliver explains this issue further and can help you understand just how important net neutrality really is. Check it out.
Will This Affect Canadians?
The Canadian government maintains they will preserve net neutrality. Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains has said, “Canada will continue to stand for diversity and freedom of expression. . . . Our government remains committed to the principles of net neutrality.”
We’ll see how this plays out over the next few years, as this could very well happen in Canada too, regardless of what has been said. Actions speak louder than words.
Is There Anything You Can Do?
Yes! There is always something that you can do. You can reach out to Congress by signing this form and demanding they put a stop to this before it’s too late.
The internet may be the most effective tool we have to spread the truth about what’s going on in the world; without it, we are at the mercy of government and corporate propaganda. Do your part to stop this now, before it’s too late.