By Zain Abouraia
Few people have heard the phrase “net neutrality” and fewer know what that means or why it is
important. Network neutrality is the principle that all information on the internet should be free
and equally accessible to everyone. This concept, which should be accepted under the umbrella
of human rights, has been suppressed by those who stand to profit.
A recent federal appeals court was held ruling that the Federal Communications Commission
did not have the authority to enforce the regulations they adopted in 2010. As if it were
scripted, Netflix agreed to pay Comcast for direct access to its broadband network, allowing for
higher streaming speeds; now Comcast has its sights on Time Warner Cable. AT&T, Google,
Microsoft, and Facebook all have paid-connection deals with major internet service providers.
“Net neutrality is the idea of keeping the internet neutral. Anyone can go out and write a book,
get it published and you could have it in the library,” said electrical engineering major, Michael
Rydinsky, illustrating a tier system. “Imagine they tuck it away in the back corner or have it on a
shelf in the front and made it hard to get.”
What all of this boils down to is a set of cyber-atrocities that are, as of this moment, 100% legal.
Tier systems, the consolidation of information, is and should be abhorrent to everyone; it is un-
American. He who has the power to control the flow of information can censor and silence
anyone they want; more than that, they can control what you are exposed to and make you pay
for services that used to be free.
What is the effectiveness of the internet if it is impractical as the public resource that it is and
always was? Why try to make the next YouTube or Vine sensation if your video loads five times
slower than a corporation or studio that is not creating anything of artistic merit, but is just using
these populist tools for their profit margins?
Get ready Monarchs, this is real now; you cannot ignore the argument anymore, dismissing it as
“tech-nerd talk.” You may not care about prison reform, the National Defense Authorization Act,
catastrophic climate change, terrorism or anything as vague and ethereal as any of those things.
You need to care about this, because it infringes on the one freedom that many young adults
actually care about: a free internet open to all.