Essential question- Is net neutrality affecting the 1st amendment rights of internet service provider and us the public?
Have you ever wondered when you type in “the crisis with Russia” why you get stories for Donald Trump and against his political actions? You can see is that because of net neutrality. Net neutrality can be a very confusing topic. In 2012, an attempt to pass the first version of net neutrality was successfully blocked by Verizon Internet. Verizon claimed that it was their first amendment right, their freedom of speech, to post whatever they wanted to. Net neutrality is a law that was passed on February 26th, 2015 with a 3-2 vote in favor of it. Net neutrality, as defined online, “is the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites”; so essentially all Internet service providers are bound by law to allow you access to any and all information. The Federal Communications Commission, also known as the FCC, was the biggest shove behind the law. The law is not very old, however there is already a great amount of controversy surrounding it. Barack Obama was the president when the law was passed. With Obama now being out of office and Donald Trump being the current president, the views on the law have changed. President Trump, a previously known “big business man”, wants the law to be repealed. He pushes against this law so that big businesses can “run” the Internet, control what is posted, and consequently control what people see. Companies like Google and Netflix, on the other hand, are in favor of net neutrality because they believe everyone has the right to information and it should not be tampered with.
Personally, I find this topic very difficult to wrap my head around. I feel that without net neutrality our first amendment rights, along with internet providers’, would be greatly affected. If we didn’t have net neutrality, we would not be able to use our own voice on the Internet. The Internet providers would be controlling our freedom. Is that really freedom? Large companies, such as Verizon, could accept great amounts of money from other businesses to manipulate what we the people are able to see. For example, let’s say you are searching for women’s dresses and all of the companies that come up are contributors with strong conservative bias and no liberal opinions to even it out. This is how the elimination of net neutrality would affect the people. Only the voice of certain, hand-picked Internet providers would be heard, and that is what we would see. Here’s a scenario: If you were a journalist or blog writer and net neutrality was repealed, you could find yourself having a harder time getting your opinion voiced, because bigger companies would be out-paying you, essentially taking away your rights to free speech. Net neutrality has a great effect on allowing citizens to see every piece of information that is available to get every side of every story.