Image source – Credited to DailyTech.com
Net neutrality is a trending topic these days for all the right reasons. After all, what could be more important than equal access to all the information that the Internet has to offer? These days, we simply can’t afford to take the Internet for granted. It reduces our workloads, supports and promotes our business, reinforces our communication with our loved ones and provides timely answers to all our questions.
The Internet is our unanimated Mr. Know-It-All whom we all need in our lives to function properly. But even so, the Internet is not technically ours. It belongs to no one and to everyone at the same time. This is precisely why news related to net neutrality and its virtually endless list of positive aspects is received with great enthusiasm by a large audience.
What It Net Neutrality and Why Does It Matter So Much?
A few days ago, the European Union made a huge step in the right direction, towards an improved legislation by signing net neutrality into law. The European Parliament voted in favor of the Telecoms Single Market proposal, a much-awaited change that could improve the online experiences for all European Internet users. The EU showed its eagerness to support a set of solid rules that ensure an equal, indiscriminative access to the Internet. According to an article published by Forbes, the whole concept of new neutrality gravitates around a very important nucleus: the idea that all the information available online should be treated identically, regardless of adjacent factors like users, application or platforms. This means that all EU-based Internet visitors would have unlimited access to the same content, without being forced to cope with interferences or any other kind of limitations.
In most cases, people do not appreciate the good until they meet the really bad and the ugly. Those who do not acknowledge the importance of net neutrality should imagine how the absence of a legal framework regulating the Internet access would influence their work, spare time and ultimately their whole life. Clearly, an Internet that would not be protected by net neutrality would look and feel completely different. In this context, there are two potential threats that should be factored in.
First of all, numerous companies could decide to fill the pockets of major players operating in the telecom industry by paying ridiculously high amounts of money for premium, faster services. This would be good news for telecom giants who would probably rub their hands together in anticipation, but a major drawback for the masses. The financial aspect is only a part of the problem. According to Forbes, the absence of a robust set of rules designed to protect the Internet as we know it and help it become a better version of itself, the content that users check out online could also be influenced. This would be a highly unethical practice that should be avoided at all costs. We all know that content is a mighty king. So the question is this: how much could we actually value a king in chains?
The Reason Why Net Neutrality Makes Telecommunication Moguls Choke
As expected, the new step completed by the EU has created quite a stir, especially among giant telecom players who realize that the net neutrality framework doesn’t really serve their best interests. Right before the much-awaited EU vote, 4 major companies operating in the telecommunication industry chose to express their discontent by releasing a joint statement. Their statement condemned the new legislation and all the proposed amendments, blaming them for their “restrictive” nature. According to these four influential players, the proposed changes would block innovations and impact competitiveness in this field of activity.
On the other hand, experts specializing in digital security and privacy issues beg to differ. For instance, Forbes’ Michael Fertik suggests that net neutrality would protect the consumers’ rights, support the evolution of a free Internet and block the abusive, aggressive, moneymaking strategies that would most likely be embraced by big players in the telecommunication sector.
Network Discrimination Comes to an End in Europe. What’s Next?
At this point, by giving the green light to net neutrality, Europe has managed to outpace the United States. Forbes reveals that America is a few steps behind the EU in what equal, unlimited access to the Internet and online privacy issues are concerned. Perhaps the recent changes implemented by the EU will accelerate discussions and compel the U.S. to follow a similar course of action.
Accessnow.org reveals that the positive proposal will be analyzed by the Council of the European Union, whose representatives will have to communicate their final position on the new set of rules later on this year. The same source indicates that the Council should protect the net neutrality and make sure that this principle could be enforced in a highly effective manner, to prevent power abuses and protect the consumers’ rights.