Thursday, 24 August 2017 00:00

WHAT IS NET NEUTRALITY?

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The history of the internet is complex. Its birthday can go as far back as 1958 with the Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA) or as early 1995 with advent of internet privatization or several dates in-between, like the creation of the World Wide Web on March 12, 1989- the point is the relationship status of the internet is "it's complicated" and it doesn't look like it will be changing any time soon. While we have all come to know and depend on the internet there is no denying that it is still evolving and its latest evolution is net neutrality and figuring out just what that means. Merriam-Webster defines net neutrality, also known as open internet, as the idea, principle or requirement that internet service providers should or must treat all internet data as the same regardless of its kind, source or destination. The United States Federal Communications Commission established the Open Internet Order to regulate how your internet service providers, companies like Cox and Century Link, must treat you. Internet service providers must be transparent, they can't block lawful content and they can't discriminate. Currently this regulation only applies to internet service providers and does not apply to other organizations in the tech industry but some wonder if there should be more government regulation on the internet especially where constitutional issues are concerned. Freedom of speech is one the most fundamental rights of the U.S. and some wonder if these companies who have the ability to censor speech should they be checked by the Open Internet Order and brought under more regulations. Other's believe as Thomas Jefferson did and who is quoted as saying, "I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves;" in other words it should be left up to the people. What do you think?