Tito's Opinion on - Net Neutrality

What is Net Neutrality?

I got this straight from the online dictionary to give you the simplest explanation: Net Neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.

What is Happening to Net Neutrality?

There is an article that was made by John Naughton that clearly explains what the situation is, an although it is currently in the United States, it is very probably for such a thing to spread to other nations.

The principle that all bits traversing the network should be treated equally was a key feature of the internet's original design. It was also one of the reasons why the internet became such an enabler of disruptive innovation. Net neutrality meant that the bits generated by a smart but unknown programmer's application, for instance the web, file-sharing, Skype and Facebook, would be treated the same as bitstreams emanating from a giant corporation. Neutrality kept the barrier to entry low.

So far, so good. But the problem with general principles, however admirable, is that they sometimes create inflexibility. In that sense, net neutrality is like the principle that one should never, ever, tell a lie, not even a small one: excellent in principle, unfeasible in practice. The internet works by breaking each communication into small data packets and dispatching them, often by different routes, to their destination, where they are reassembled into the original communication. This was fine in the early days, when most communications were files and emails, and it didn't matter if the packets failed to arrive in an orderly stream. But once innovations such as internet telephony, streaming audio and video emerged, it looked like a good idea to give them privileged treatment because otherwise quality was degraded.

When media corporations such as Netflix came along, they were outraged that their bits had to travel in the same third-class carriages as everybody else's. Which, of course, led big ISPs to the idea that they could put those bitstreams into a fast lane and charge their owners accordingly, thereby earning more revenue and throwing neutrality out of the window.

In the US, the neutrality buck stops with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), historically a doughty supporter of the principle. Since last January, however, the FCC has been impaled on the horns of an appeal court decision. Verizon, the huge US ISP, successfully challenged the FCC's rules on neutrality. The court ruled that the commission did not have the right to prevent Verizon from charging a fee for traffic carried on its network and since that point Verizon has been billing Netflix for providing a fast lane for its content to Verizon subscribers.

Mulling its options in April, the FCC concluded that, to stay within the law, it would have to allow ISPs to charge for providing fast lanes so long as the terms were "commercially reasonable". Anticipating the outrage that this violation of the neutrality principle would generate, the commission put the draft ruling out for a period of public consultation that closed on 15 July.

You can imagine what happened. The commission was deluged by public comments, most of them online. It had to add extra capacity to cope with the fallout from Oliver's broadcast. By deadline day, it had received nearly a million submissions, the vast majority of which were probably hostile to the proposed new ruling.

Also received were a much smaller number of submissions from corporations. Verizon, for example, filed a 184-page comment written by five lawyers. Comcast, another huge ISP, submitted a 71-page document. Other companies (internet giants and telecoms mainly) did much the same.

Guess which submissions the FCC will take seriously?

You know the answer. All the public submissions will be read and most of them rejected. This not because FCC officials are biased or corrupt. It's just that they can't do anything with expressions of outrage or affirmations of values. They're charged by Congress with making rules that can stand up to legal challenge. They need submissions that have evidence and arguments, things that most laypeople are not in a position to provide. Sad but true: even in a democracy, rulemaking can't be done by plebiscite, online or off. And that noise you're hearing is the ghost of Edmund Burke cheering.

The Philosophy

It is stupid for companies to do this to us, honestly the fact that there are people going against net neutrality is insanely stupid and I can't even imagine how idiotic some people can be. The internet is a place with billions of gigabytes of information, a cloud with vast numbers of intelligence and information. It is an archive of events both positive and negative and it is a useful element to the evolution of the human race.


The Past

When my father was working as one of the leading members in the team that brought the internet to Italy, many of the people that worked by his side did not imagine a web that is imprisoned by the plagued ISP's (my dad's name is Andrea Mazzucchi, in case you wanted to look him up). Their vision of what the power of the internet could do was young and positive. People like them, people who are the reason why companies like Comcast and Verizon exist, the reason why they have the power they have today, and I don't care how many lawyers they have in their stupid contracts, they are WRONG.


The Effect

If the internet was not working to it's fullest capacity, then there would be hundreds of thousands of people who would not be able to access it due to the price increments and the overall difficulty of using it. If this was the case then many protests like the ones in North Africa, where twitter and social networks like those were used, people used them as a method to organize a protest against an unfair law or unfair government choice or policy. Think about school! The protest me and my fellow classmates did to help support our teachers was organized using the web! If people would of had trouble accessing the internet, then how could the protest be as efficient as how it was before?


The Dream

I have a dream, a dream where boys and girls, women and children, men and seniors, can live in peace and serenity under the ways of Net Neutrality. I have a dream where history's events do not reenact themselves, where unfairness and stealing from the money we pay to speak out to the world, the very words that change who we are as a species does not occur. I have a dream that one day I will be able to provide for my family without having to worry about spending too much money to have a normal connection and that what I can do with the internet will change the world in a positive way, forever.


What will happen to us?

Not all of us can afford to use the internet now, and not all of us have access to the wonderful privilege of using an endless archive of information. If Internet Service Providers were to increase the cost in exchange of having a weaker connection many more people will be doomed, excluded form a virtual paradise. What will happen to those people? The same ones who will never be able to access the online news, the ones who won't be able to vote online for important events that impact THEIR lives along with the REST of the people around them. Their lives will never be the same... that's what will happen.


Me

I have had a problem for a long, long time. Since as long as I could remember, I was lost. I used to sit out from class and think for hours of what would happen to me in the future, what I was going to do, what did I want to do. I remember this sort of depression that was on me since always, this shadow that blurred my vision of my future. Now, I am happy to say that this thing is fading, the disease in me, the same one that I had since the beginning of my childhood is finally going away. I now know what I want to do, where I want to go, what I want my legacy to be.


My dream is to make videos, YouTube videos. Like pewdiepie and many of the great YouTubers before him I want to change the world in a positive way, by doing what I love doing best. To be able to provide for a family using my imagination, my passion and my heart. How can I make videos without internet connection? How am I going to be able to fulfill my dream, if the dream itself doesn't exist??


Conclusion

For anyone who already doesn't know, the death of net neutrality is basically what will stop your connection, what will steal your money, and what will please the greedy bastards who call themselves Verizon and Comcast. Do you truly think that if this was to happen, that it would stop there? No, no, what I mentioned was merely the beginning. They Internet Service Providers will only get greedier, they won't stop here. This will spread across the world if we let it, to the point where people from different sides will not be able to communicate. That's right, no longer will you be able to Skype your relatives if you go off on a trip, and no longer will you meet wonderful people that can change the way you think.

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