Net Neutrality Continues to Raise Controversy

         A country based upon the Constitution and the amendments, the U.S. sees rules and regulation as important to maintain a safe and protected environment. In regard to net neutrality, part of the First Amendment, rules and restrictions are being bended and changed.

     First off, what is net neutrality?  Net neutrality is the principle of a free and open internet space where consumers are not hindered by investors or entrepreneurs who restrict certain information. The fight for net neutrality started in the early 2000s when certain internet services banned costumers from using private networks and setting up Wi-Fi routers, which bring the internet to people’s homes.  

    In late 2015, during Obama’s presidency, millions of Americans reported to the Federal Communications Commission about the issue of net neutrality and enforcing protection according to the regulations. The FCC decided in favor of millions of Americans and supported the choice of a free and open internet.

     Obama thanked the country saying, “Today’s FCC decision will protect innovation and create a level playing field for the next generation of entrepreneurs- and it wouldn’t have happened without Americans like you… so to all the people who participated in this conversation, I have a simple message: Thank you.”

     When Trump assumed the presidency, one of the changes he made was ending network regulation. This change opened the doors to paid prioritization by investors and corporal businesses, as well as blockage and banning from certain web pages.

    But why is net neutrality important? Net neutrality means that “internet service providers have little say on what passes through the mechanisms that are used by customers to access the internet. There are controls in place for illegal activities, but companies like Comcast or AT&T [will] not be able to change how a customer’s data is delivered to them.,” according to the editor in chief of Vitanna. This favors small businesses who are looking for a fair shot to advertise their businesses.

     Along with a fair playing field among the corporal and small businesses, the freedom of expression is protected. Vitanna also states, “Blogs, services, businesses, and any website can operate legally and there aren’t any censorships available as long as the content being offered meets legal obligations. If illegal content is discovered, it can be immediately reported to law enforcement officials..”

     Net neutrality among teenagers is also important because as kids we grew up with a free and open internet space. With net neutrality gone, certain social media platforms have no freedom to post our opinions or have a voice.

     Giselle Sethi ’22 said, “I do not think anyone has the right to withhold information from anyone. It violates our first amendment. If there is a specific group of people in charge, they can skew the publics beliefs one way, or another based on their own beliefs. That singular perspective can become dangerous because the less the consumers know, the more the authoritative leader’s grows.”

     Sophomore Shelby Sawyer ’22 added, “To be not for net neutrality is to be not for the United States of America!”         

Image courtesy of Google

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