EC&I 831

Equitable Access for All

“Without net neutrality rules providers are free to discriminate.” – Johannes Steiling

I had heard of the term Net neutrality prior to this weeks class but really had no frame of understanding or idea of how it applied to my use of the internet. From what I have been able to discern this week, the reason so many are fighting for Net neutrality relates to what we see in business around the world, internet related or not. Those with money have control and want to use their money to have even more control. I appreciated Johannes Steiling’s explanation in his TedX talk, shared above. He creates a metaphor between the idea of large automotive companies eventually having the ability to determine who gets prioritized use of highways with that of the conversation around Net neutrality.

I understand that in business numbers drive decisions and this often leads to customers being the last concern. Leading with a strong business mind is why the large companies have the control and reach that they do. My question though is, why should they be able to tell me what I can and can’t see and how fast I can see it on the internet? Through my readings this week it was clear that it isn’t just big business that has the ability to impact who gets to see what on the internet but that we also need to consider the reach of the law.

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Photo Credit: Public Knowledge: What is Net Neutrality Again?

After watching John Oliver’s episode about Encryption I couldn’t help but wonder, where does the laws reach end? I don’t know that I agree with law enforcement asking Apple too create a backdoor into their phones that would allow them to solve crimes. However at the same time, I think about if it was me who had been the victim of a crime. If there was a code or backdoor that could help provide the law with the information they need to solve whatever the crime may have been, I feel like I would want them to be able to have access to that. Sure this would help me at the time and undoubtedly my others who actually are living in such a situation but where does that end? What happens when the reach goes too far? Who will be impacted in the end and when does it stop? What happens if the wrong person has been accused and their personal information is accessed through this backdoor?

I feel as though I haven’t provided any answers or solutions in this post because I don’t think that I have them. What I do have is a voice and have started to use it to share how I feel about Net neutrality. In case I wasn’t clear… it’s important!  As Clive Thompson put it: Why Even the Worst Bloggers Are Making Us Smarter. I certainly hope that I am not falling into the “worst” category but as many in our class have written, having a voice is where we need to start. Perhaps my small voice might one day help to create a positive turn in the push for Net Neutrality.

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One thought on “Equitable Access for All

  1. I’ve often felt that the more I learn in this class, the more questions I have. I don’t have any solutions, but I’m at least beginning to start the conversation with others on issues such as net neutrality and encryption. I’m actually embarrassed that I had no awareness of net neutrality up until a few weeks ago but you’re right, now that I understand I do have a voice on the issue and can help others become aware.

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