Net Neutrality, or the Separation Between Internet Service Providers

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Scott Cleland from Net Competition said that net neutrality legislations “mean less privacy for all Americans, as Net neutrality would require more government monitoring and surveillance of Internet traffic” (qtd. from “Net Neutrality”). But what is he talking about anyway? Net neutrality, or the separation between internet service providers (ISP’s) and the content being retrieved through their networks, is an extremely hot topic nowadays. The ideals of net neutrality can be compared to the way you would use electricity in your home. You do not pay your power company a “toaster fee” just so you can plug in your toaster, or a “light bulb fee” just so you can turn on your lights (Gordon; Ammori). Similarly, net neutrality states that ISP’s should not charge for the privilege to use specific programs or services (Ammori). Why would you want to pay for a Netflix package or a YouTube package with your internet service plan? Scott Cleland and Net Competition argue that Americans would suffer a loss of privacy if net neutrality became a reality. But is this true? Will the United States government suddenly start flipping through the pages of every single American’s web browser history? Will the land of the free suddenly become the land of the watched? Not so fast, Scott. It is certainly true that the government will have to start looking a bit closer at network traffic, in order to enforce a neutral internet. Why do you think police officers hang around highways so much? To enforce the speed limit, of course. The same goes for the world wide web. Tim Berners-Lee, the man who created the internet, even justified network regulation by the government: “Mostly, the Internet thrives on lack of regulation. But some basic values [still] have to... ... middle of paper ... ...right to free speech, all while keeping each company’s customer numbers from dropping. The land of the free doesn’t have to be the land of the watched after all. Works Cited Ammori, Marvin. "TEDxUofM - Marvin Ammori - Why Internet Policy Matters." YouTube. TEDx Talks. Web. 7 May 2014. Berners-Lee, Tim. "Net Neutrality: This Is Serious." Web log post. Decentralized Information Group. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Web. 7 May 2014. Gordon, Whitson. "An Introduction to Net Neutrality: What It Is, What It Means for You, and What You Can Do About It." Lifehacker. Gawker Media. Web. 7 May 2014. "Moyers on America: The Net @ Risk." Classroom Video On Demand. Films Media Group, 2006. Web. 7 May 2014. "Net Neutrality." Issues & Controversies. Facts On File News Services, 1 Nov. 2010. Web. 7 May 2014. New Jersey Online Privacy Protection Act, §§ 3-A-C (2000). Print.

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