November 22, 2017

This Story Not Available

On a non-neutral internet, this content could be blocked or censored

by Chris Thomas

Photo by Hannes Wolf

This article is about Net Neutrality and why Net Neutrality is important. Because you chose to read this article, a request was sent to a server somewhere which resulted in some information — this article — being delivered back to you.

On a non-neutral internet, however, it might not happen that way.

On a non-neutral internet, your request to talk to the server that hosts this article might not be allowed to proceed. Your internet service provider (ISP) might decide not to provide content from Medium, which hosts this article, or might decide that content from Medium should require a “blogging” package for which you’d be expected to pay extra.

On a non-neutral internet traffic from Medium might be metered so that your blogging package only allows you to transfer 1 gigabyte of content. Maybe you’re over your limit this month. Maybe you’d like to add 0.5 gigs more for $5.

On a non-neutral internet traffic from Medium might take a back seat to traffic from Xbox live games (get the gamer-power pack for $19.99 a month), Youtube and Netflix (bingewatch for $15.99 a month), or Twitter (post 1,000 tweets for $10).

Why might these things happen? Because this story is critical of a non-neutral internet. Verizon, Comcast, and Time Warner don’t want you to read it because they want to sell you the internet you already have deconstructed into artificial categories for three times the price you’re already paying. If they can control what you can read they can control what you know and therefore what you think.

If that sounds crazy, consider this. Wireless providers already routinely block services and websites. In 2012 AT&T blocked Apple’s FaceTime service and Verizon blocked the use of tethering applications. From 2011–2013 AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon all blocked Google Wallet and in 2011 a collection of small ISPs intercepted requests to Bing and Google and directed them to their own pages to boost ad revenue.

On December 14th the FCC will almost certainly vote to end Net Neutrality provisions and the wholesale strip-mining of the internet will begin… unless Congress acts to stop it.

They want to sell you the internet you already have deconstructed into artificial categories for three times the price you’re already paying

It’s a long-shot, but this may well be the defining issue of a generation. The internet has changed, in just a few years, how we communicate and what it means to be a community. The political consequences allowing a handful of multi-billion-dollar telecoms to determine its future are too far reaching to even contemplate but the arc of them bends away from freedom.

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