Check your (Media) Privilege

Courtney Cordoza
Staff Writer

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Photo credit: donkeyhotey/Wikimedia Commons

As of late, net neutrality has become a topic of concern due to the proposed changes made by the executive branch. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to repeal the majority of every net neutrality policy put in place by the Obama Administration.

The FCC proposed a rollback of the Title II classifications concerning the issue. Ajit Pai, the commission’s current chairman, believes that the government should keep out of net neutrality because it is a business practice and things can get sticky.

Oh, the irony. Ajit Pai says that Big Government should keep out of the way of Big Business, yet he is trying to coerce net neutrality into his. It is difficult to decide how much regulation the government should have over businesses. However, it seems as though Pai and other FCC members have zero regard for the average American consumer; many of whom can barely afford the basic internet service package, let alone a spike in price. This is a practice that is immoral and unethical – but legal. He is willing to do whatever it takes to turn a profit.

If he really wanted to help the consumer, he would want these net neutrality rules to stay in place. We use the internet for everyday activities such as schoolwork, shopping and paying bills. Adding a price increase to use the medium on which these everyday occurrences take place would be a major inconvenience to the consumer.

Without these policies in place, internet service providers would raise the cost of websites and decrease the speed of their service. This would revert us back to the days of dial-up. Since the number of service providers to choose from is limited, it would most likely be unavoidable.

In 2010, the FCC issued the Open Internet Order which states six principles internet service providers had to adhere to. Providers had to be transparent, mobile, vigilant, equal, open and have a fair network management system. I think these are ideal rules to have. The internet should be clear to understand. Every internet user should have access to the same applications. Just like trade, the internet is best when attainable for all.

The government should have minimal regulation over internet companies. There are statutes that everyone has to abide by, and companies are no exception. It is only fair that these big corporations follow suit.

It is the responsibility of the government to establish policies that protect us from violations. Too tight of a restriction could cause an abundance of unnecessary censorship and privacy infractions. Too little restriction could harm the consumer given the fact that companies would have 100 percent autonomy over what they choose to do with their services.

Now the Federal Communications Commission wants to take away our Freedom to the Media, along with robbing our bank accounts. Not every American has a great deal of money and can pay for these impending price increases. Internet Service Providers will be running our pockets dry.

These regulations would put a damper on our freedoms. Users would no longer be able to do everything they please with the repeal of net neutrality. Put yourself in our shoes and think of all the negative effects this could cause. Internet and the media shows no discrimination, so it is only just that the FCC do the same for all internet users.

As a millennial, I have had the privilege of growing up in a world filled with advancements. I remember the transition from videotapes to DVDs and Walkmans to iPod Nanos. This in turn has evolved into video streaming (Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video) and music streaming services (Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music.) We are now living in the virtual age.

The future is filled with technology. Every interaction is made through a glowing blue screen with the click of a mouse or tap of the finger. The repeal of net neutrality hinders us from using the World Wide Web to its fullest potential. It is a service that is not going anyway anytime soon. The internet is a public good that should be accessible and free for all. No one has the right to strip anyone of that.

Categories: Columns, Opinions

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