Net Neutrality Repealed…What Happens Next? On November 21st, 2017, the Federal Communications Commision, or FCC, repealed Net Neutrality.
This caused an immense amount of controversy in the nation. Net Neutrality is an Obama-era principle that prohibits internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon from speeding up, slowing down or blocking any content, applications or websites you want to use. Net Neutrality is the way that the internet has always worked. Now that Net Neutrality has been banned, there have been outbursts and protests against the FCC’s decision, even demanding Congress to overturn the FCC’s vote. The internet without Net Neutrality isn’t really the internet. So what will happen next?Marginalized Communities For several years, the internet has been the source for people of color, the LGBTQ community, indigenous peoples and religious minorities in the United States to rely on the open internet to organize, access economic and educational opportunities, and fight back against online discrimination.
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When activists are able to turn thousands of people into the streets at moment’s notice, it’s because Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, are not allowed to block their messages or websites. The mainstream media have long misrepresented, ignored and harmed people of color. And thanks to racism and economic inequality, people of color own just a handful of broadcast stations to express their opinions.Without Net Neutrality, ISPs could block speech and prevent protestant voices from speaking freely online. Without Net Neutrality, marginalized communities would lose a vital platform.
Downfall of Small Businesses Small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs have utilized the internet to launch their businesses, create markets, advertise their products and services, and reach customers.The open internet is needed to encourage job growth, competition and innovation. According to the New York Times, “It’s thanks to Net Neutrality that small businesses and entrepreneurs have been able to thrive online. But without Net Neutrality, ISPs will exploit their gatekeeper position and destroy the internet’s fair and level playing field.” This indicates that instead of small business being able to expand and become more successful, already accomplished Internet Service Providers such as Verizon will continue to seize control of the internet. Without Net Neutrality, we may never get to see the next Google or Comcast.
Fourth Amendment Rights Gone Awry Americans have always valued their Fourth Amendment rights of privacy. The FCC’s ban has angered many privacy advocates, and with good reason. ISPs will now have the option to determine the type of media people are accessing, as well as logging in how long they access it.
The Federal Trade Commision previously was able to oversee unfair and deceptive practices of ISPs, but now it lacks the legal authority to do so. The now-canceled Federal Trade Commision protection would have prohibited an ISP from selling, sharing or otherwise using your browsing history and applications usage unless you affirmatively gave permission for that use. Now there is no way the Federal Trade Commision can prohibit the vast majority of ISPs from sharing or selling your personal information at all. Increased Price Rates Because of the Net Neutrality repeal, ISPs will now begin to sell the internet in bundles. Want to access Twitter or Facebook? Under a bundling system, getting on those sites could require paying for a premium social media package. Apps and websites Americans were once able to use for free will now have an additional cost. They will also be able to charge special fees in order to access content such as email, videos, or news.
It could even go further where ISP’s could charge multiple different rates if people want to access liberal or conservative online resources, and users would have to out themselves by opting to pay in order to have access. Clearly, the absence of Obama-era’s Net Neutrality will have a negative impact on the lives of many American citizens. But we shouldn’t give up hope yet. Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress can overturn agency regulatory actions with a simple majority vote in both chambers. This means that Congress can block the FCC’s repeal of Net Neutrality. Many Senators and Representatives from the House are already working to overturn this preposterous repeal.
Abolishing net neutrality is an imminent threat to the Internet we worked so hard to create.