Caught in a Net

Caught in a Net

Ryan Jurik, Writer

The Internet is a vast space which has become almost omnipresent within the daily lives of individuals, along with most of the connected world. Its infinite archives of information allow for instantaneous dissemination, having websites and databases readily available to users with just a few quick clicks here and there. Having this type of access has promoted many platforms that utilize the internet, such as streaming television, shopping online, posting on social media, and even creating artificial intelligence–all entities which make life just a little more convenient.

How is this technology, adopted by many for its practical use and spanning across large areas worldwide, suppose to be regulated and monitored so that the Internet can function efficiently?

Laws were set in place by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on February 26th, 2015 under the Obama Administration, deeming that all broadband internet services were considered forms of telecommunication. This enacted Title II from the Communications Act of 1934 to be issued for all Internet Service Providers (ISP’s), which prevents blocking or slowing down access to certain web links, prioritizing themselves through internet trafficking, and initiating new practices that could potentially harm the internet’s current state. All of these prohibitions are what creates Net Neutrality, protecting and fairly regulating the internet for all of its online users.

In recent developments, FCC chairman Ajit Pai suggests that their organization discard Net Neutrality regulations set in place, leaving the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to handle any violations in the ISP’s policies. He argues that by doing away with these regulations, it would give internet providers the incentive to devise ways of earning more profit, enabling them to stretching out their networks through funding. Pai has declared that the Commission will call a vote on the proposal on December 14th.

Supporters of Net Neutrality are opposed to this proposal, fearing that giving ISP this type of flexibility would encourage these companies to use anti-consumer tactics against one another. These tactics would include slowing down broadband lanes as to suade users that their network speed is faster than others, or establishing new policies that would give them the advantage when competing against other companies. This could interfere with the flow of internet trafficking for both internet services and users that rely on these broadband platforms.

Those against Net Neutrality argue that having the government micromanage the internet would restrict ISP from offering the best service they can to all their users. It would benefit all parties that by ISP having leeway in their methods, it will enhance their network and make more areas connected. Once Net Neutrality is gone ISP must become public about their business practices, so if they engage in any unethical or unpopular methods it will properly be dealt with by the FTC.