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Net Neutrality: The Internet is Under Siege

Consider this your official notice of a Red Alert in Washington, DC. The Internet is under siege, and on December 14, the FCC is going to vote to ax the current laws guaranteeing censor-free, non-manipulated Net Neutrality. And when that happens, the Trump administration will change the face of the way we operate and view things on-line.

Here’s the scoop. During the Obama administration, the FCC voted to mandate that all Internet providers (and there are only six–AT&T, Comcast, Cox, CenturyLink, Charter, and Verizon)—could not control what you watched or how you surfed. While Internet service was allowed to be priced according to speed, with the fastest costing the most, the content could not be censored in any way.

With the new rules being proposed by FCC chairman Ajit Pai, controls on the Internet giants will be relaxed or actually eliminated, allowing those firms to design your service according to a “company service policy” that they dictate and can change at any time.

What this translates to is that the 93.5 million homes that receive the Internet (including yours) will have every piece of information which they send or receive online scrutinized. What websites they are able to view, what email they send, what videos they download, what Skype calls they make, as well as all the data generated by games and social networks.

Without regulations, the Internet providers can also route your service to interfere with how or even if you can see information. If these companies don’t like the sites you are choosing to watch, they can slow the speed or completely block the content. Worse still, they can be paid by outside companies to do it.

Image trying to order a sandwich online from Publix only to find yourself directed to the website for Subway, because the Subway Group paid Comcast to feature its website.

Imagine if your telephone worked the same way. Your telephone carrier can’t deliberately drop your calls or redirect them because telephone carriers are considered to be “common carriers,” much like the Internet providers are now.  They have the legal responsibility to handle all traffic neutrally. What the new FCC rules are proposing is that the rules governing broadband Internet should be up to the companies providing the service. It is supposed to allow companies to be able to increase their profits to supposedly reinvest in newer, faster, and more state-of-the-art service.

Because the FCC is ruled by the Republicans who have corporate interests among their base contributors, it appears to seem that they are willing to overlook the 22 million emails and letters against the plan already sent to the FCC in the last few months. Few, with the exception of the FCC and the six giant communication companies, want to see Internet protections disappear right along with Net Neutrality.  Yet that is precisely what will happen after December 14 when the FCC is scheduled to vote on its Internet rules.

President Donald Trump is in favor of the changes since it would then allow him to control negative news blogs about his administration right along with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The Internet giants are in favor of the changes because it will give them the ability to manipulate what you see in any way they care to.  It will differ from corporation to corporation of course, so exactly how the lack of regulation will affect the Internet is anyone’s guess.

But one thing is certain. If companies are allowed to block political and financial viewpoints that are at odds with their own, or block access to union sites during labor conflicts, or force developers to pay more to have their data featured or keep it from being blocked, the corporate giants will not hesitate to do it.  And after December 14, there will be nothing to stop them.

At this point, the only way to halt this egregious situation from occurring is by writing or calling members of Congress. Unfortunately, the chance that they will listen is unlikely. They haven’t listened to much of anything else. When Net Neutrality is eliminated, know for certain that Big Brother will be watching you. And as he does, we will essentially be losing our Bill of Rights mandated Freedom of the Press, since more Americans receive their news from the Internet than any other source.

It is very real; it is about to happen; and America will never be the same.

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