Net Neutrality: The Battle for Internet Freedom, and Why It Matters

in #internet2 years ago (edited)

Every second of your life, companies like Google and Facebook, content creators like Youtube and Steem, and many other web services are fighting for your attention and time. The Internet has largely been seen as one of the largest revolutions in human history.

But the whole Internet is bounded by one basic principle we call net neutrality.

It's the principle that you can't be denied access to certain websites or services based on the company you get Internet from.

If I wanted to, I can go to any website in the world right now, and my ISP (Internet Service Provider) can't slow down my Internet Speeds, block my access, censor the content, or anything like that, due to several laws preventing this.

The United States FCC, which governs communication services like the Internet, is about to hold a vote on repealing/demolishing the open Internet. If things go their way, the entire fabric of these principles will come crashing down, but we still have a chance to do something about it.

What is Net Neutrality?

Net Neutrality is the principle that the company that you pay for to get Internet can't control the sites you visit and the speeds you receive them at.

If I pay Comcast (one of the big Internet monopolies in the US) for my Internet, I pay for a certain Internet speed.

From then on, I can visit every public site in the web, including sites like Steemit and DTube and Utopian and Netflix and millions more.

Comcast can't slow down certain sites, or block certain types of content. I'm all free to go where I want to go.

But what happens if the FCC decides to repeal or demolish Net Neutrality?

It means that our Internet companies like Comcast don't have to give us fast speeds for every website.

They don't even have to allow us to visit all of the Internet.

Instead, they can have us pay different subscription plans for different websites. You want to go to Steemit, but you aren't paying for the social media package? Tough luck.

Internet Companies are like all other for-profit companies, in that they'll do what it takes to make as much money as possible.

With Net Neutrality removed, they can even start to create "fast lanes" and "slow lanes" for websites on the Internet.

If some websites like Steemit aren't able to pay the Internet companies royalties (extra fees), they get moved to the slow lane.

Sites on the slow lane appear slower and load for a much longer time to customers, and naturally get lesser traffic.

In this way, Internet companies will be able to decide the economy of the Internet, which is incredibly scary.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

The reason everyone is so hyped about Net Neutrality right now is because of a vote taking place in the next month in the FCC, deciding the future of the open Internet.

But it all starts with one man— chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai. Mr. Pai previously worked for Verizon, a monopoly in the telecommunications industry, as an attorney. Now, he's heading the US Agency responsible for governing telecommunications. Seems weird enough?

Pai was the one responsible for spearheading the FCC's attempted repeal of Net Neutrality, and will be presiding over the vote happening in December.

Given the obvious evidence, many are saying that Pai's overwhelming support for banning net neutrality is a "gift" to his former employer.

Destroying net neutrality will boost the profits of our big telecom companies, including Verizon and Comcast, by unimaginable amounts, while leaving the public to suffer. If Pai's vote goes through, our open Internet will come crashing down.

This doesn't just mean Facebook will be a bit slower. It means that companies like Netflix may have to pay internet companies to keep their site in the "fast lane." That charge gets carried onto their customers, leading to a subscription price increase.

It means small and new startup internet companies will have a harder time getting traffic with their site stuck in the "slow lane."

Anti-Comcast content may get censored out or put in the "takes an hour to load" lane.

Cryptocurrencies At Stake

Our beloved cryptocurrency, STEEM, is at stake as well. How do you access the Steem blockchain? Steemit.com? Or maybe Busy.org? Possibly the countless other websites allowing you to be a part of our wonderful community.

These are all a possible target of the "slow lane" and may be censored if net neutrality disappears.

Pretty soon, Steem, Busy, Utopian, DTube, Youtube, Netflix, and many other websites could look like the beautiful image to the right.

But it's not over yet. The vote will be taking place on December 7th, so we, the Internet, need all the help we can get.

You Can Do Something

Now that you know what net neutrality is and how it can affect you and the future of the Internet, you should know that there are things you can do to help.

  • Text RESIST to 504-09 and, completely for free, you can tell the politicians and senators who represent you how you feel about net neutrality.

  • Even more, you can visit BattleForTheNet.com to fill out a form contacting your representatives or watch/learn more about the issue.

  • Let people know. Post about it on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and most importantly, Steem! You can even resteem this post, the more people are informed about Net Neutrality, the better.

In the end, remember how you're able to view this post. A post criticizing a part of the government. A post ridiculing the chairman of the FCC. A post insulting the Internet companies that you're paying to use the Internet.


That's what the open Internet is, and if we don't do something soon, we may be able to lose everything we've fought for.

Net Neutrality is the only thing keeping these principles in place, and if it gets repealed, get used to seeing many more of these.


Thanks for reading,
@mooncryption

image sources: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

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Gotta keep that Net Neutrality.

There are interesting new projects like Substratum that look very promising. So, even if the people can’t rely on their „representatives“ to have their best interests in mind, the blockchain brings new hopes!

Substratum - https://substratum.net
Mysterium - https://mysterium.network
MaidSafe - https://maidsafe.net

I've been starting to hear a little about Substratum. Looks like a nice one to get into. Low market cap, still a bit under the radar. Thanks for sharing.

It is still, but moving up slowly and probably motivated by people’s dissatisfaction with the direction we’re moving, so could shoot up faster than expected. It’s exactly the right time for this project, so holding my thumbs and my tokens for the project to succeed. :)

Wow, you really explained this issue well. I heard about net neutrality but didn't understand the details of it. Scary propositions. We can't let this pass.

Ever hear of meshnet?
I bet comcast has...it's their worst night mare.
If net neutrality (the law aright now...not the concept) is repeal then Meshnet is just sitting there.
Looking at comcast square in the eye.
"just try it Bub...you 'throttle' your rates..and I'm coming after you"

competiton is a glorious thing.

I'm reading more on the meshnet via:

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/gv5qb4/how-a-diy-network-plans-to-subvert-time-warner-cables-nyc-internet-monopoly

not sure what allowing cable companies to throttle access to certain sites has to do with meshnets, however. sure, they might throttle us in general, but they don't get to pick and choose which sites are easy for me to access... I like that.

'allowing' them to run their business the way they see fit.
NO ONE should be allowed to do that.
Every business and every person should ask big government for permission to do everthing.
would you agree?

well... it's a tricky situation... where corporations do not act in the best interests of consumers, and neither does the government... so I don't really trust either... I suppose that's why I love crypto so much, it's empowering the people... I'm not sure I understand the situation enough to know what would happen if trump admin repealed net neutrality, because I definitely don't trust them... what to do...

anyone and everyone acts in their own perceived best interests.
anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar.

yeah, but my perceived best interests include what I perceive to be the best interests of the community around me, I wish I could say the same for our government, or the cable companies...

as much as I dislike corporations, or the government, they often provide services that I find useful, or difficult to live without.

I want to believe that crypto can change all of that, and even these meshnets which i just learned of, thanks to you... but "powers that be" are very good at co-opting movements to forward their own selfish agendas, to the disinterest of the community that sustains them.

HOT DAMN! Something we agree on!

Hello @mooncryption,

I don't like the idea of paying to be exposed to the things I already enjoy for free. If this action goes through, I feel that the internet will be overwhelmed by ads and content I don't enjoy, forcing netizens to pay for salvation. This is a prime example of how governments want to control everything for their populations.

There was an interesting point you brought up with competition on subscriptions being driven upwards, where everyone will end up paying more and more to get their preferred content.

The internet was made for everybody, and now people want to be in charge of it, I feel this is similar to all the cryptocurrency regulations being looked at. Having uncensored internet benefits everyone the same way that having international bankless transfers do.

Thank you for providing the details in a way that's easy to digest,
<3 shello

Hey @shello,

Thanks for your comment :) I totally agree with you, and I certainly hope this decision doesn't get passed.

As you said, the internet was made for everybody, and with the FCC trying to take control of things not everyone may have the same kind of access.

Thanks,
@mooncryption

Thanks for the prompt reply @mooncryption,

Although I don't personally agree with all comments in the thread, I feel that to an extent if the FCC does gain control over how much we pay versus how much we see, I can imagine that later generations being brought up into this will struggle getting online at all. While there are people like us that will able to afford some subscriptions if this does happen, there are others that won't be able to. Sure, weeding out the weak, but not everyone who is poor is lazy.

I understand that not everyone is for net neutrality, but it doesn't mean their opinions are less valid.

Lots of food for thought here,
shello

I definitely agree. I welcome all opinions, for or against, though I personally do support Net Neutrality.

I also support net neutrality, because sometimes the world needs to look out for the little guy. I think overtly uneven odds can make people feel insignificant sometimes. More about the human race, than only some succeeding.

Bro this is such a clear explanation to net neutrality. You did a fantastic job on this post. You should be proud. I’m up-voting, resteeming, and sharing on all my social media👍👏 Steem on

Just to be clear, this post was written by someone who supports net neutrality.

That being said, I fully welcome arguments against my views and opinions and I'm delighted to hear what you have to say.

Feel free to share your views here and let's see what people have to say!

It's the principle that you can't be denied access to certain websites or services based on the company you get Internet from

Nope.
It's the exact opposite of that. Don't you know that any government legislation means exactly the opposite of what they say it means?

Google, Facebook, etc are FOR net neutrality...wonder why THAT is?.

I meant Net Neutrality was the principle that the Internet is open to everyone, not the legislation! The legislation is trying to repeal net neutrality.

Google and Facebook support net neutrality through something called the Internet Association. They know that since they have a lot of money, ISPs may attempt to require lots of royalties/charges from them to speed up their content, which is why it's for their interests to support net neutrality.

I personally think net neutrality is a really fundamental feature of the Internet, and without it, censorship or paywalls would reign.

Surrre. Like the Affordable Health Care act?
I'm all for repealing.
it'll do exactly what you WANT...because...competition.

a monopoly is impossible in a free market.

if they can write the regulations to suite themselves.
"we have to pass the bill to know what's in it"...sound familiar?
they build a wall...a barrier to entry.
they use the government to prevent competition.

Obama passes legislation (or executive order...did he know the difference?) to do that...(help the big companies)
Trump is trying to repeal it.

Exactly! Net Neutrality recasting internet access as a public utility will speed up and exacerbate regulatory capture, where the telecom execs are the ones writing the rules, and it'll create huge hurdles to other people trying to get in the market.

yup...If the Net Neutrality thing is allowed to remain in place it will slow, delay or prevent the implementation of mesh net.
odd how that works?

Like you said earlier: if a piece of legislation or regulation is called one thing, it's a safe bet that it's going to do the exact opposite.

perfect example..the Affordable Health Care Act.
How's that work out?

maybe give us more than the teaser?

"I'm from the government and I'm here to HELP you...I'm gonna regulate the internet so that it's FAIR".

riiiiight.

anything the government get's involved with something...we lose.
does the term 'regulatory capture' ring any bells?

Fair to everyone who pays for their rights

what right?
were you born with it?
anything you weren't born with isn't a right

do you think someone else should pay for your 'stuff'?

Good point. I am trying to see this more open mindedly. @everittdmickey, would you say that people who want to have faster access will pay? Are the people who actively complain for it, not important because they are not doing anything themselves to get better access?

if you want something.
pay for it your ownself.
other wise youre no better than a thief.

Despite or several disagreements (which I think are more semantics than anything else), you are 100% on point here, boss!

Thank you for the clarification!

your comment makes no sense, there is one law as it is that says internet companies cant charge websites more for faster access, and there's a new law trying to revoke that... which one is the government trying to "help" ?

it makes perfect sense.
net neutrality...isn't.
if you want it...deregulate.

i remembered John Oliver discussing about this, scary and the future look grim..but i hope we can find the solution about it.

I've watched both of his Net Neutrality ones! I didn't want to post it here because some people may not enjoy his... uh... repetitive swearing, but his videos are hilarious.

@mooncryption, he is hilarious isn´t it...he raised so many valid reasons despites the jokes..great post i am looking forward to read more from you!

We do not live in the USA, but this vote effects anyone who gets feeds from the US. This will set a dangerous precedence. Ajit Pai , the former lawyer for Verizon is Chairman of the FCC and in most countries this would be called a conflict of interest. How did he get this job? Political patronage or friends with the president? Or perhaps both? Somebody let the fox into the hen house. I hope this does not pass. It will be a disaster for everyone. It is a form of censorship.

That's a great point, thank you for pointing that out!

You are welcome.

I so true about this,, i can relate,,, sometimes i thought it was the network that's making the site to load slow

I've been calling Congress and Tweeting for months over this issue. So grateful you managed to clearly explain this and emphasize how important this is. EVERYONE needs to be involved and NOT LET THIS PASS! All the freedoms we have online will change and be dictated by money. I'm not overstating how important this issue is. We are very, very close to the vote. Take 5 minutes, use the links above or ask if you need help, call your representatives and emphasize your stance and how you want them to vote! WE ELECT THEM, and if the majority of their voting constituents tell them where we stand, it would not be in their best interests, come next election year, to go against us. This only works if we each do our part! Thank you @mooncryption for helping :)

Hi @mooncryption ! I rather thought that Obama had signed over the control of the internet from the FCC to the United Nations ??

The ISPs (Internet Companies) are regulated by the FCC in the US, I think.

@steelabella and @mooncryption "We the People" have this on their website to stop this action:
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/do-not-repeal-net-neutrality

Looks like they have twice the amount of signatures on there needed before December 22 .. but every extra one sends a message.

Takes for making this post :)

Thanks for this excellent explanation.

Apathy is at an all time high for many. If calling meant change, maybe; but, politicians vote according to their personal advantage; and, only show up during election time to say what they will do for the people.

Your post allows me to brace for change. I’ve always been mindful, since its inception, that the internet could become an individual, pay-to-play type system.

Que sera sera.

Update: Within minutes of this comment, I was blessed to come across another exceptional article, this one by @stan. His link is below.

Here’s a quote that confirms, maybe even justifies the apathy of the people:

no longer a government

by conviction and the vote of the

majority but a government by the opionion

and duress of a small group of domiant men.

Woodrow Wilson 1919

(No EDITS MADE...written nearly 100 years ago!!!)

As noted, here's the link to the post by @stan:

https://steemit.com/bitshares/@stan/one-bank-to-rule-them-all

Peace.

I wish you Americans luck with preventing them from voting YES. If the US repeals net neutrality, Europe will certainly follow soon...

The thing is, even if Europe doesn't follow there are big consequences for the world.

Let's say Net Neutrality is rejected. ISPs are forcing Netflix, a video company, to pay more royalties to them to get Netflix into the 'fast lane'. This is an added cost for Netflix, so where will it go? It will have to be passed onto the customers.

Do you think Netflix will target just their US customers and increase their subscription prices? Probably not. Instead, it's likely that Netflix (or other hypothetical company) will have to increase rates all over the world.