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Opinion: Net Neutrality Needs to be Saved

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Raymond Strawn III

Right now, when we use the internet, we have net neutrality, meaning that the internet is free and open. In 2015, the Federal Communication Commission was pressured into establishing net neutrality rules. Currently, net neutrality is being threatened by Trump’s FCC chairman Ajit Pai. It’s important that we support net neutrality because it allows freedom and access to information and websites on the internet. Without it, Internet Service Providers (ISP), like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast can restrict and block information and websites on the internet. We must not allow this injustice to occur.

    On Dec. 14, the FCC will vote on Pai’s proposal to destroy net neutrality. If the proposal passes, ISP will have the power to speed up, slow down, or completely block content, websites, or applications on the internet you may want to access. People will no longer have the power, but ISP will. Data, information, news articles, or content we want to access on the internet may no longer be free and open for our access if net neutrality is gone. Our freedom towards information, our freedom of speech to express ourselves on the internet, our freedom of the press, is in jeopardy if net neutrality is eliminated.

    Some arguments that could be made to support ending net neutrality are to monitor the information that is posted on the internet and eliminate fake news. But that violates our freedom of speech. The other argument is that it will help combat death threats, cyber bullying, and cruel messages people send on the internet. Once again, this is close to violating our freedom of speech. Yes, we should end this malicious behavior, but there are better ways to handle those situations than completely giving up the free and open internet. Websites or applications can monitor abusive language and ban users. Having the ability to block users is another option that can help combat this issue.

     Lastly, some say that net neutrality will eliminate pirating copyrighted content on the internet. Yes, net neutrality can achieve this goal, but at what cost? Pirating is an issue, but it is not devastating the economy or the entertainment industry. The benefit of ending pirating should not come at the cost of our freedom to information and content. There must be a better way, and corporations should spend more money and time figuring out ways to combat pirating and cyber bullying than wasting it on the effort to destroy net neutrality.

    Ending net neutrality hurts everyone, especially those of us in academics who can lose out on research and information to further our education. Those who are protesting and fighting injustice could find themselves silenced and censored from ISP. The truth could be buried and hidden through censorship. Isn’t it better to be honest and open to the citizens of this country and  towards the world?

      We should strive to have the truth be available to everyone, and to have knowledge and information out there for everyone to absorb and better themselves. Besides, aren’t we against censorship? Don’t we value freedom of information? Freedom of speech is in the Constitution, and eliminating net neutrality is an attack on our Constitutional right. Therefore, we should all support net neutrality and should express our support towards FCC, so when it comes time to vote on Dec. 14, the FCC will do the right thing and save net neutrality.

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