Image by Joseph Gruber via Flickr
Jennifer Blanco | Contributing Writer
Obama’s administration has been fundamentally about change and for the most part has had a positive outcome. The cycle of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants that dominated our government has finally been broken – leaving plenty of room for improvement. This time, however, change includes limitations concerning net neutrality.
After months of advocating for utility regulation of the internet, President Obama got his way. According to the White House website, Obama plans to put forth net neutrality; creating an open and free internet. The word “free” is advertised as if its going to be donated to the public– a tactic to attract supporters, but what it’s really going to cost us is our freedom in.
The FCC plans to introduce the presidential directive, beginning on Feb. 26. The public is yet to find out details about what this entails. After reading the president’s statement on “an open internet,” I still find myself with several questions. His plan makes me suspicious because of the ambiguity of his statements. “Increased transparency” sounds a bit like NSA’s warrantless surveillance– but without reason.
Under what premise is the government advocating the modification of a system that has been effectively running since the Clinton administration? Clinton and his administration felt that the internet should not fall under a utility and should be deregulated by the government. However, government recently has claimed that the internet is not equal (or available) to everyone and that under this new directive, everyone will have the same access and speed. How they are going to achieve this “net neutrality” is not clear to me.
Previously, the internet did not fall under the 1934 telephone utility regulations. With Obama’s new directive, the internet will be considered a utility; therefore, it will be regulated as one. I like the internet as it is– a free flowing stream of ideas, products and global communication. It doesn’t need to be censored or monitored by the government. When the government did have control of the internet, it was only for official use. It wasn’t until the internet was in the hands of the private sector that it was available to common people. The internet is in retrograde and back in the hands of the government, despite the remarkable advancements the Internet made while privatized: from dial-up internet to Wi-Fi and mobile hotspots.
The industry flourished through investments made by the private sector and continues to progress. With these new policies at bay, who knows what will happen to the internet. Many of us who enjoy making podcasts, blogs or other websites might end up restricted and with less opportunities than before. For instance, Verizon and many other phone companies provide popular apps like instagram, whatsapp and twitter for free; under the new directive this will be banned because it ‘favors’ those websites over others. This is only going to diminish connectivity and penalize companies, that try to bring its consumers free applications. At the end, it will mainly impede the regular consumer and not the big corporations it is targeting.