what is net neutrality and why it affects you

Written by MyComputerAid on Friday, October 10, 2008 23:37 - 0 Comments

what is net neutrality and why it affects you

There is a battle raging over internet service which is largely waged behind the scenes and out of sight of the average internet user.  On one side of the battle are the informed users, service and application providers, Wi-Fi systems, and even some of the original designers of internet protocols.  One the other side are primarily the broadband ISPs.  At stake is the very nature of the internet, how it is accessed, and what we can do and see when connected.

As it was originally designed, the internet is an open system, with no restrictions on the sites a person can visit, or the applications that can be used.  Net neutrality has been fundamental in the development of web applications such as Google Apps.  It has also made wide area wireless networks possible, such as being able to connect via cellphones and other mobile devices.  It has promoted a new generation of software development, best described as Open Source applications.  In essence, net neutrality means that everyone is allowed to connect when and where they wish, and that their connections are all equal in nature.

Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) want government agencies to allow them to put restrictions on some of the freedoms that have helped the internet evolve.  They want to give their own services, or those provided by their strategic partners, preference over other services and companies.  This is a major divergence of the open access of the Internet, and promotes the re-emergence of such by-gone specialized companies as the original AOL and Prodigy services.  If this should come to be, Internet users may not be allowed to use services outside of those provided directly through their ISP, or only allow such outside services limited bandwidth.  Those who speak in favor of such actions say that it could be used to deter piracy, human exploitation, and other illegal activities; but they refuse to mention the stagnancy such a system could have on innovation and the development of new equipment, services, and applications.

For most people, the neutrality of the Internet today gets very little thought.  But to lose such net neutrality would affect almost everyone who uses the Internet, because it could affect when we can connect, and what we connect to.  In addition to such personal limitations, the loss of net neutrality would almost certainly mean that the electronic devices which have begun to shape our world community will be fewer, and of a much different quality.  Net neutrality is not just about personal freedoms, but it is about the freedom to internet inventions, the sharing of information, and access to information for all people.

Article written by MyComputerAid.com

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