Corporations should not control net neutrality

Editorial Board

Net neutrality has been a frequently discussed topic in the realms of national politics- there have been several bills to hit the Senate floor regarding it. In the past few weeks, the issue has come up again as the Federal Communications Commission has changed their stance regarding the current regulations on net neutrality.

The now Republican-led FCC is looking to undo Title II and restore “Internet Freedoms” by returning to no regulations like we did in the 1930’s and allowing the free market to sort things out.

In 2015, the FCC made a decision under Obama administration-appointed leadership to create legislation preserving net neutrality. Current leadership appointed by the Trump administration is attempting to undo these regulations. It is imperative to keep these regulations in place, if not strengthen them.

The existing regulations prevents bias network allocation, meaning it prevents network service providers like, Spectrum, AT&T and other major companies from giving faster loading times to particular websites, or from blocking certain sites all together.

Repealing this legislation would allow these large corporations to prioritize sites that they favor and slow load times for sites they don’t like. In this technology-driven era, almost all information that the public receives is reliant on their internet connection and the public’s ability to access information.

Without this legislation or a replacement that would constrain the amount of control providers would have over the accessibility of information, someone could write a bad review of their service and they could block it from all of their customers.

The possible implications are endless. This could open the door to providers giving faster load times to the highest bidder, or taking bribes to block content on the web. If a service provider didn’t like a political candidate, they could block their website and hinder their online campaign.

Getting rid of this legislation will allow corporations to control the proliferation of information and the content displayed to the public. This violates the ideals of free speech and freedom of the press.

Without a key portion of these regulations, the FCC would lose much of its ability to oversee and to mandate the doings of network providers. This opens the door for more backdoor corporate deals, and hinders the FCC from protecting the people.

The people of this country should be protected from this potential information gauging and control. Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, a huge backer of net neutrality in the Senate said in 2014, “Under this terribly misguided proposal, the internet as we have come to know it would cease to exist and the average American would be the big loser. We must not let private corporations turn bigger and bigger profits by putting a price tag on the free flow of ideas.”

George Orwell once said, “Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.” The prophetic dystopian fiction writer is known for warning against the control of information. The power that information has is exactly why we should not give corporations the ability to control it.

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