Net Neutrality-The First Amendment Issue of Our Time

Net neutrality has been around since the internet took off. It says that internet service providers cannot slow down certain websites. This is so that they don’t slow down certain to discourage traffic on that site, but it has become an increasingly hot issue over the past few years. Some people believe that everyone should have equal access to the web and that companies that provide internet services are simply there to transfer information without bias. The big media companies, however, believe that since they engage in and transmit speech, that this is a violation of the first amendment.

Verizon in particular have voiced that they think it violates the first amendment by stripping these ISP’s of control over the transmission of speech on their networks. Other internet service providers also agree that net neutrality imposes dramatic new restrictions and that the government seeks to control all aspects of broadband internet access service.

Recently, the organization that regulates net neutrality has proposed new rules that permit a fast lane for content providers that are willing and able to pay for it. Many people believe that if the court allows this new rule, that broadband companies will shut off access to web sites and ideas they don’t like, and it will funnel consumers instead to the sites and ideas that are favorable to corporate interests. This, they think, risks the loss of free flow and exchange of ideas that is central to democracy.

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One thought on “Net Neutrality-The First Amendment Issue of Our Time”

  1. I like to think of the web in terms of access to information (like a library!), rather than as a source (like a newspaper). It’s certainly what I teach. Still, if I’m being honest, libraries have always “curated” their collections using selection criteria that allows them to meet the needs of the population they serve. When I look at it this way, I have to ask myself, “Is an internet provider obligated to act as a doorway into the world’s biggest library without any selection process? ” I’m not sure.

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