Earlier today, President Barack Obama released a statement today in which he defended the freedom of the internet. The hot topic has been on the minds of many, as more than four million people have commented to the FCC about the issue of net neutrality. The president put forth a plan that he hopes will save the freedom of the internet.
President Barack Obama is asking the Federal Communications Commission to recognize how important the internet is to people on a normal basis and to recognize certain aspects that take away the freedom of the internet. The importance of this net neutrality issue is one that surely will affect millions of individuals globally. So, what exactly is net neutrality? It is the principle that no government of internet provider should discriminate against internet data, that is to say that the internet should be an equal playing field for all that wish to visit it. Certain concepts such as throttling and gatekeeping do not live up to the net neutrality standard.
What exactly is the plan that Obama has in mind? It comes down to a few solid points. No paid prioritization, no throttling, no blocking, and increased transparency. To start with, paid prioritization pertains to those that pay to get ahead. This creates a “slow lane” “fast lane” situation depending on who pays the most money. In order to even the playing field and promote the growth of the internet, this gatekeeper system would be eliminated.
No blocking is one of the key points that inadvertently works for and against the internet. When a consumer attempts to access a legal website, the ISP of the user will not be blocked. In a way, this adds more focus on websites that are or may not be legal. No throttling pertains to the speed at which certain ISPs are slowed. Based on ISP preferences, certain content is slowed or sped up, an act described as throttling.
The general idea behind Obama’s plan is to protect the internet and the freedom to use it. To do so, he mentions a rather old act, the Telecommunications Act. In 1934, this act came to be to protect consumers from problems that would infringe on daily life in accordance with the telephone system. Now that times have changed so drastically from the 1930’s, many use the internet through their phone, which is to say that broadband internet is very much a vital tool for many that depended upon it.
Is it good enough? Does the president’s plan have some sort of wiggle room that could open a can of worms no one is expecting? Tim Wu does not think so. Wu is actually the Columbia Law School professor that created the term “net neutrality” and he tweeted about Obama’s plan. He said “The White House’s announced Net Neutrality policy is 100% on target.”
The FCC has received more than four million comments about net neutrality, will they listen to the president about keeping the information super highway free of toll roads, gatekeepers, and throttling? Ultimately, the outcome to this situation is not up to the president, it is up to the FCC.