Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality

Reclaiming Net Neutrality

I was outraged by the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality through the hypocritically named Restoring Internet Freedom Order in July of 2018. One of the central tenets of the internet, and the reason it has led to so much innovation, is the free flow of ideas. Until recently, the United States had been a leader in advocating on behalf of this principle and against censorship by other governments.
 
The Restoring Internet Freedom Order makes it harder for us to take a principled approach. First, the fact that it is widely known that bots and fake accounts flooded the public comment period, and no investigation was ever done, is negligent. Second, the only people who benefit from this decision are big internet service providers, who now can decide what you get to see, and for how much. Not only will this affect your bank account, it will affect your privacy and rights.
 
I ran a non-profit that focused on extending equitable access to the internet and information to schools all over the world, and I’ve seen the harmful effects policies like this have on students. We have seen countries like Russia and China trying to create their own internet, with their respective governments deciding what information is suitable for public consumption and what it considers too dangerous.
 
In the United States, we have seen the internet used in the last decade as a driver of social justice movements – from the #MeToo Movement to Black Lives Matter to those demanding a clean #DreamActNow. Allowing big internet service providers to determine who can start or access these movements and the free flow of ideas would be detrimental to our progress as a country.