Net-Neutrality

Standard

This is the principle that ISP (internet service providers) and the government should make the internet equal by not discriminating against the user, form of communication or the application. In other words it means that the internet should be equally judged in terms of price and accessibility.

This principle stems from Tom Wheeler publishing a plan in 2014 that would allowed companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon to discriminate against users by creating “pay-to-play fast lanes”. This means that a user could pay more to get a faster internet speed or more data. Luckily the Court rules against the FCC’s plans which gave us open access internet.

The internet was created to be a free and fully accessible source of communication and information. Sir Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web and in doing so he decided to provide the world with an open access platform so that the World Wide Web could expand exponentially. By limiting access by adding a price to the amount of data you could access would be completely the opposite to what Sir Time Berners-Lee wanted the World Wide Web to be.

The open internet is important, not just morals. Small businesses and websites rely on an open internet so they are able to expand their business and create a market for themselves. Without open internet innovation would be limited. It also is a type of freedom of speech. It means that anyone, from any colour, race, community or society can share their information with everyone.

Some examples of the way net-neutrality can be used by businesses:

Apart from the clear commercial interests of the operators and service providers themselves, the other interests in the net neutrality debate are as diverse as the activities that take place on the Internet.

• Hollywood studios hope to guarantee the quick and secure delivery of their premium content to paying customers, and see further revenue potential in the monitored use of their products.
•Content and service providers like Amazon, Google, Yahoo! and eBay want to ensure that another cost does not appear on their books and that they are not excluded from or discriminated against on the key parts of the Internet infrastructure they use to access their customers.
•Law enforcement agencies desire expanded capabilities to monitor and extract information from the sea of electronic data. Deep packet-inspection aligns nicely with this surveillance function.
•Hundreds of individuals, non-profit groups and businesses, from across the political spectrum, have come together as the ‘SavetheInternet.com’ coalition to promote net neutrality, which they refer to as “the Internet’s First Amendment”?

Academic Source –
Paul Ganley, Ben Allgrove, Net neutrality: A user’s guide, Computer Law & Security Review, Volume 22, Issue 6, 2006, Pages 454-463, ISSN 0267-3649, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clsr.2006.09.005.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0267364906000902). Accessed 18 April 2015

Net-Neutrality is still a big topic everyday! People are constantly wanting censorship cuts to the internet so people can post whatever they would like on the internet. Here are some recent examples:

India’s biggest online retailer Flipkart pulled out of a deal with phone network Airtel to let customers browse its site for free – Flipkart planned to pick up their internet data costs – after a social media backlash.

Source – India’s fight for net neutrality – BBC News. 2015. India’s fight for net neutrality – BBC News. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-32313704. [Accessed 18 April 2015].

Below is a timeline of events that had happened in the USA related to Net-Neutrality. Obama has made some popular statements about the open internet and how they could even improve America’s economy.

The path to a free and open internet:

OCT. 29
2007
Then-Senator Barack Obama pledges support for net neutrality to protect a free and open Internet if elected President.
OCT. 29
2007
“I am a strong supporter of net neutrality … What you’ve been seeing is some lobbying that says that the servers and the various portals through which you’re getting information over the Internet should be able to be gatekeepers and to charge different rates to different Web sites … And that I think destroys one of the best things about the Internet—which is that there is this incredible equality there.” -Barack Obama
MAY
2010
The FCC introduces strong net neutrality protections that said internet service providers could not block websites or impose limits on users. In December, the FCC would go on to pass a final version, adopting their first-ever rules to regulate Internet access.
JAN.
2011
Just weeks after the FCC adopted their rules, Verizon Communications filed a federal lawsuit that would eventually overturn the order.
JAN. 14
2014
A Federal Appeals Court strikes down the FCC’s 2010 rule.
JAN. 15
2014
A user creates a petition on the White House’s We the People platform, petitioning the Obama administration to “Restore Net Neutrality By Directing the FCC to Classify Internet Providers as ‘Common Carriers’.”The petition went on to be signed by 105,572 users.
FEB. 18
2014
The White House responds to the petition, expressing continued support for a free and open internet, but making clear that it couldn’t direct an independent agency’s rule making.
MAY 16
2014
The FCC Issues a notice of proposed rule making on internet regulatory structure, opening a period during which the public could submit comments on the rule.
AUG. 5
2014
“I personally, the position of my administration, as well as a lot of the companies here, is that you don’t want to start getting a differentiation in how accessible the Internet is to different users. You want to leave it open so the next Google and the next Facebook can succeed.” -President Obama
SEP. 15
2014
The FCC’s comment period comes to a close. Nearly 4 million Americans filed public comments on net neutrality during that period — more than the FCC has received on any other issue they’ve handled.
NOV. 10
2014
President Obama calls on the FCC to take up the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality, the principle that says Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all internet traffic equally.
FEB. 26
2015
The FCC votes in favor of a strong net neutrality rule to keep the internet open and free.
Source -Net Neutrality: A Free and Open Internet | The White House. 2015. Net Neutrality: A Free and Open Internet | The White House. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/net-neutrality. [Accessed 13 April 2015].

Recently I watched the Dimbleby Lecture on BBC 1 on 30th March 2015. This was a very interesting lecture containing concepts about the open internet would improve the Uk including its economy, digital business sector and even hospitals. Martha Lane Fox also suggested that providing internet for free would categorically develop and improve the UK.

Screen Shot 2015-04-18 at 19.01.16

Link to the lecture – http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b05p9tvt/the-richard-dimbleby-lecture-30032015

Here is a couple of snippets from the lecture:

Finally, we should aim for a much more ambitious global role in unpicking the complex moral and ethical issues that the internet presents. For example, what are the implications of an internet embedded in your home appliances? Do children need online rights? What is an acceptable use of drones?

We should be making sure that the original promises of the internet – openness, transparency, freedom and universality – are a protected national asset, as integral to our soft power as Adele, JK Rowling, Shakespeare, or even Downton Abbey.

Source – A little teaser of my Dimbleby lecture | MLF Blog. 2015. A little teaser of my Dimbleby lecture | MLF Blog. [ONLINE] Available at:https://marthalanefoxblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/a-little-teaser-of-my-dimbleby-lecture/. [Accessed 18 April 2015].

This news report is a bit more relevant as it is about the progression of Net-Neutrality in the UK. This article form 2012 shows the positives that some UK-based businesses are making towards open access.

Ten ISPs including BT, O2 and Talktalk backed the agreement promising not to restrict or block content unless there was a reason to deploy “reasonable traffic management practices”.

But Virgin Media said the principles set out were too vague while Vodafone said the code was “impractical”.

Everything Everywhere also opted out.

ISPs split over UK open internet code of practice – BBC News. 2015. ISPs split over UK open internet code of practice – BBC News. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18976444. [Accessed 18 April 2015].

Other Sources

Net neutrality – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2015. Net neutrality – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [ONLINE] Available at:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality. [Accessed 14 April 2015].

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