Free and open internet is one of the most precious resources our world has to offer.
The amount of information we have at our fingertips can be overwhelming, but the possibilities are truly endless.
This past week, the Federal Communication Commission made the first steps to repeal an Obama-era policy known as net neutrality, which keeps the internet out of the hands of greedy, near cartoonish form of evil corporations. This prevents corporations such as Comcast from dictating the speed at which certain (frequently used) internet pages will load. The premise is that if you want faster internet for certain sites (Netflix/Facebook/Youtube), you’d pay more to use these sites or be bogged down with borderline unusable speeds. This is an egregious, though not surprising, move from the Republican-led FCC that threatens the freedoms of all Americans, whether they realize it or not.
One of the primary arguments coming from the right in most facets of American life is that the government is too involved in our day-to-day lives. Republicans love posting the quote from former President Ronald Reagan “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” in their Twitter bios. It’s no surprise that the same talking points are used on this issue as well.
The argument that repealing net neutrality is for the purpose of deregulation and would be good for competition is asinine. It’s simply a cover for the very wealthy heads of the companies that would benefit from this deregulation. For starters, that already exists with the multiple internet providers that operate and are making gobs of money.
Simply put, the repeal of net neutrality is for the rich, not for the people. People deserve access to as much information as possible, and while it is up to them to make good use of it, the possibilities should always be there.
The nature of rights has changed since 1776. Things that were not considered rights then have evolved into becoming basic necessities for life in 2017. Health care has been a hot button topic, but the right to information is another that has come to the forefront. Americans saw the value in information when public libraries were deemed a necessity, and in many ways, the internet is the modern version of this. The only difference is that corporate America cannot exploit public libraries as easily as it can exploit people’s addiction to social media.
Social media and streaming services are a huge part of what makes the internet great, but what cannot be lost is the fact that humans have access to any information they could possibly want in seconds. That is power, and by repealing net neutrality, the FCC wants to take the power from the people.
That’s how autocracy begins, and that is not an acceptable form of rule in any state.