It is hard to disagree with the basic principle of net neutrality. It posits that Internet service providers. State organizations, regulating the Internet, must treat every website equally. They also must not discriminate in any manner. It will ensure that the Web remains open and free to access for everyone.
Thanks to the actions of some governments and corporations, net neutrality is under threat. Instead of seeing it as a public utility, it is actually becoming more of a product. It has been highlighted by Quartz, Portugal, a nation of net neutrality protective laws in place. This may actually be a vision of a dark future in this sense.
A Lisbon-based telecommunications company, MEO is actually taking advantage of the lack of regulations. Now, they are offering packages at different prices. They actually give their customers varying levels of access to the Web. If a person pays a few euros per month, they just get to use messaging apps a bit more. We can also use Facebook more, or perhaps Netflix.
For a lot of people, this seems like an alien concept.
If we pay for the internet, why don’t we have access to all of it?
The telecommunications company MEO is generally seen as an extreme example of a net neutrality antagonist. But they are actually not the first to act in this way. There are several American corporations which have been either accused or fined for restricting access to their users. Usually without directly informing them.
Net neutrality, which is a term that is first coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003, has become far better known in the last few years. Back in 2014 and 2015, the administration of Obama voiced strong support for net neutrality rules. And many were implemented in 2015.
In this year, in April, the newly appointed chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, proposed some actions. These actions would threaten net neutrality in the US. In May, the gradual rollback of landmark protections has started. There were at least 22 million Americans that have written to the FCC about the issue, largely in protest. But the policy change still remains the same at the period of writing.
If this continues, maybe companies or individuals willing to pay more will get a freer, faster, as well as better internet service.
It does not take much imagination in order to see how this can actually lead to two classes of virtual citizen. One rich in money, as well as information, and the other poor in both.
Generally, those that approve are actually major companies which would stand to benefit from them economically. Those which advocate for neutrality include human rights organizations, as well as consumer advocates. And much of the public — for example, about 77% percent of Americans.
Actually, it all boils down to whether you think the Internet is a privilege or a right. So, would you like to see MEO’s behavior echoed in your country? [Inspired by IFLScience]