The Free Internet is Dead.

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The Free Internet is Dead.

Evan Carioggia, Writer and Technology Chairman

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On December 14, the Federal  Communications Commission (FCC) under President Trump decided to repeal the net neutrality laws. These laws were set in place in 2015, during Obama’s presidency. What does this mean? This means Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) have a lot more power over our internet viewing.


Net Neutrality is the idea that the internet is free and open, and that ISP’s cannot block or throttle websites and other web-based services. For example, without the Net Neutrality laws, ISP’s can make Netflix load slower and Hulu load faster, due to a deal or a partnership. Net Neutrality laws were put in place early 2015 by Obama’s FCC to protect the internet since it had become such a large part of today’s society. Even better was the other part of this 2015 order, which reclassified internet service to telecommunications, meaning the FCC could enforce the Net Neutrality laws under Title II of the Communications Act (in case you want to read on that, click here). Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the internet as we know it, said that, “We have to add net neutrality to a list of basic market conditions that we protect.”


It had a good two-year run, didn’t it?The FCC, headed by chairman Ajit Pai voted on December 14th to dismantle the Net Neutrality laws and they won. In a 3-2 vote, the FCC voted to dismantle the Net Neutrality laws that protected our free and fair internet. This means ISP’s have free reign over the internet: blocking, throttling, encouraging, applying paywalls, and anything else they want to do, or do not want to do. The only form of consumer protection is place is that ISPs must publicly state whatever they’re doing.


Needless to say, most internet users were outraged at the vote. Prior to the final vote, many internet users submitted comments to the FCC against the repeal. Jessica Rosenworcel, a member of the FCC, said that the commission disregarded most comments, saying that they only cared about legal comments and not pleas. Rosenworcel also stated that this was a “rash decision” that puts the FCC on “the wrong side of the American public.” She’s not all wrong there, as all you have to do is look up Ajit Pai to find plenty of insults and memes about who some would call “The Most Hated Man in America” right now.


I asked some students in Jordan Elbridge High School their opinions on the net neutrality vote. When asked what they know, most had similar answers, perfectly summarized in what one student said: “They were good.” When asked what they know of the ISPs’ new power, they mostly responded with things along the lines of: “Speed up and slow down services” and ”Make us pay for using something that’s not their thing.” A majority of the students disagreed with the vote, and one student responded with “I think they should’ve just left it becausecuz it works pretty well.” AnotherOne student had a different opinion, saying things like “There  will be more incentives for the them  ([ISP’s)]  to be competitive” and “It was a right step in the advancement in capitalism and the strength of the free market.”There are clearly two sides to this story. Maybe the FCC’s argument for the deconstruction of the net neutrality laws is sound? Maybe not?


Regardless, this isn’t the end of the story yet. Something can still be done to undo this vote: a lawsuit. An internet user or even a big company is bound to sue the FCC and say that the repealing of Net Neutrality isn’t legally right. Now, those comments that were disregarded during the vote can come to good use. Regardless, nothing is going to happen overnight. Netflix hasn’t slowed to a crawl and Facebook currently doesn’t cost anything to use. It will take some time for this repeal to actually go through. That just means we have time to do something about it.this.




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