Thursday, April 5, 2012

Net Neutrality

Today, I will be talking about Net Neutrality. Net neutrality means that Internet Service Providers cannot discriminate or block the transmission of lawful Internet content. Since ISPs are between users and the net, it is theorized that ISPs could control access to websites. However, opponents to Net Neutrality would be quick to point out that for the most part, ISPs have not engaged in this practice. “But, why leave the opportunity open?” supporters would say. Supporters of Net Neutrality mainly argue from a business standpoint, and they think that ISPs have a great incentive to regulate content. They would most likely do so in order to promote their own services. Opponents argue from a technical side, in the sense that, the Internet’s normal functioning depends on regulating the transmission of data packets. In other words, the Internet is efficient because data is regulated.

The FCC has enacted and put into practice a policy that has been described as Net Neutrality lite. This policy states that ISPs must be transparent in their operations and wired services cannot block or discriminate the transmission of lawful Internet content. Neither sides are in much agreement about this policy. Supporters state that it is too lenient and contains loopholes, and they question the FCC’s ability to enforce it. Opponents argue that the FCC has enacted a policy that has too broad an authority. Verizon has already gone so far as to sue the FCC for this policy, twice! Their first attempt was denied on the basis that the policy hadn’t been officially published, but their second attempt was only several days after publishing. The case has yet to be resolved, and the courts will decide the outcome.
This policy will likely continue to be debated, and Net Neutrality will continue to be a hot topic of today’s Internet.

1 comment:

Zach Drew said...

Who controls the Internet? Ultimately, the users control the internet, though most probably don’t realize it. ISPs are dependent on money, and if you can cut that off, they can be controlled. The problem is complacency. Users tend to put up with objectionable actions by ISPs on the stance of “that’s just the way it is”. However, if users get organized, then ISPs will have to bow to the will of the users. ISPs are just under the illusion that they control the network. Cutting off payments to ISPs is only one way of regaining control. Using Distributed Denial of Service attacks and other ‘black hat’ methods are of questionable legality, but are effective if used by hackers, the ‘vocal minority’ of Internet users.