Before you ostracize me for my post, I want to make it clear that net neutrality is very important for the survival of the internet. I’m currently unaware of anyone who is legitimately against net neutrality. And back when the internet’s freedom was challenged by SOPA and PIPA in 2011 and 2012, I was doing what I could as an 11 year old to stop it from advancing. Even the father of the internet, Tim Berners-Lee, supports net neutrality, and he knows what he’s talking about.
However, it’s a lot of other supporters that unfortunately don’t know what they are talking about.
I have seen a lot of messages about saving net neutrality since this summer, especially from advocacy groups such as the EFF and Battle for the Net. In fact, if you visited my company’s website a few days ago, you would’ve seen that we have a modal asking you to support the cause of net neutrality.
I’ve seen a lot of correct and accurate content about net neutrality being posted, but I am frustrated when I see misinformation being spread, such as this tweet:
The specific language used here was “websites we will lose access to without #NetNeutrality” (emphasis added by me). Thankfully, this is not immediately true. If net neutrality were to be repealed, it would be up to your ISPs (internet service provider) to determine if they want to start charging you to access a specific website. ISPs include your cable or telephony company (AT&T Uverse, Verizon Fios, Charter Spectrum, Apogee Telecom, etc.) and your mobile provider (AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile US, and Sprint).
But here’s the thing. Currently, we do not know if these ISPs will be creating special access lanes or faster access lanes or whatever. In other words, we don’t know how they would change what they are doing right now. We know Comcast is currently already implementing monthly data transfer caps, which wouldn’t be allowed under perfect net neutrality. However, no ISP has said they will be forcing you to pay extra to access Google or Netflix. Anything else is speculation.
Saying that ISPs will “deny you access to Google if net neutrality is repealed” is a dangerously broad and speculatory statement. This kind of statement, while attracting the hoi polloi to support a once obscure issue, lowers the pro-net neutrality camp’s credibility, introduces unnecessary and unjustified panic into people, and causes more confusion than clarity.
Oh, and by the way, I wrote this post before net neutrality was officially repealed by the FCC. Now that is repealed, can you access Google? Yeah, you sure can. So this tweet was wrong and deceitful.
I encourage everyone who supports net neutrality to read up on how it could and would actually impact the internet and why it’s important, instead of just relying on series of 280 characters.