With the latest advancements in technology, and our increased ability to connect with one another on a global scale and access information online, our rights as humans are evolving as well; an example is online privacy, where the debates about implementing it have skyrocketed. The right to access information online has become universal. Our way of learning has changed, and our ways of communicating have changed as well.
For as long as the internet existed, our rights were protected under the banner of Net Neutrality. This name, although familiar to most of us now, was unknown to the regular person just a few months ago; only because that’s simply how the internet has always worked. The event that sparked this knowledge was the act of repealing Net Neutrality in the United States of America. But what is Net Neutrality? Why is repealing it dangerous? Net Neutrality is the principle that all data on the internet should be treated the same, and that we, internet users, are entitled to access the websites that we wish to access, with no arbitrary restrictions. Without Net Neutrality, internet providers are allowed to manipulate which content they encourage us to view, and which content they want to keep hidden. Without Net Neutrality, internet providers can start charging us fees to grant access to some websites. Imagine some applications and websites being slowed down or sped up according to the internet providers’ will.
The first thought that comes to my mind is how inconvenient this is for myself, someone who is constantly online. However, we must go much further than that. This promotes censorship of ideas minorities are trying to speak up about, and the censorship of media has many hazardous effects, since the media are often referred to as the watchdogs of democracy, due to the fact that they call attention to important subjects and make the public aware of them; they can be considered to be an unofficial “check” for the government. In addition, the idea of adding a fee to certain websites contradicts our right to access information online. This also hinders small businesses that start online from creating a market for themselves. While many have labeled the repeal of Net Neutrality as a “first world problem”, when you take a step back and look at all that Net Neutrality protects, we see that it is fundamental for us internet users, and the internet shouldn’t exist in any other way.