Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Net Neutrality means Internet Service Providers should be careful

from CNN.com on December 14, 2017

The Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to approve a controversial plan to repeal Obama-era net neutrality protections. The repeal passed 3-2, along a party-line vote.
The vote came amid mounting protests from the tech industry, consumer advocacy groups and even some Republican members of Congress who'd urged the FCC to delay or cancel the vote.
In what may be a sign emotions running high on the issue, the net neutrality vote was briefly interrupted due to a security threat. FCC commissioners and the audience were forced to evacuate the room.
"Sorry for the interruption," Ajit Pai, the chairman of the FCC, said after returning to the room. "We were acting on the advice of the federal protection service. Where was I?"

What does Net Neutrality actually mean?

Well, if you're a company, it means that you can't discriminate on the content that you send over the internet. Yes, this still means that the internet is open and free. But what is free? Freedom of expression, and the ability to write what you feel is a freedom that a lot of people take for granted in the USA. It's a freedom that a lot of others around the world enjoy too.

Talk has been how a Net Neutral environment will change how the ISP will do business, but that is very much in flux at the moment. An ISP wouldn't want to make it's customers uneasy with the throttling of services or capping of data that they all have enjoyed for years now. It could affect the way they do business, and healthy competition should carry the day to ensure that this is the case.

Now in the way of regulation, is this an open door for additional government regulation of the internet? Should ISP's be allowed to send certain content over their wires? That is yet another difficult but interesting topic. When you know that most internet traffic has been to adult websites since the creation of the modern internet, you'll have an idea how this 'candy store' approach to letting the 'average American' or European waltz into the nastiest dirty book stores that you can think of. But, that isn't necessary to walk in there on the internet, it's all there and many times you don't even have to pay for it to view the acts that previously were relegated to seedy smoke and tobacco shop 'back room' dens with beaded entrances to be able to view. Shopkeepers had to make sure that underage people didn't get past the beads, nor did many underage people even try to go beyond those beads let alone enter that shop.

Apps that allow the transfer of images that would be considered illegal by most standards are free to disseminate via mobile phones, as the shift from the PC to mobile has taken these same very ills of society so to speak on a mobile platform. And who has a smartphone these days? Yup, you guessed it, they are just about ubiquitous - very common. So maybe Net Neutrality will regulate some of this traffic as well, or maybe it won't. What's the common good for society?

Net Neutrality, it's an interesting subject.

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