Open Internet Access and Online Writing: Do we need to be worried?
The Fight for Internet Freedom
The fight for Internet freedom or Net neutrality continues as the threat to be controlled in what we say or do online becomes more real. Internet legislation could hinder sharing of information and innovation and could control Internet users in numerous and unwanted ways. Several Heads of States, including President Barack Obama, have been champions of Internet legislation.
Have we as writers considered how this intended legislation would affect our online writing careers as we need the open Internet to publish and share information?
Net neutrality refers to the Open Internet which uses free and widely accessible standards for anyone. When the Internet was first founded a very important principle has so far been adhered to, namely the guarantee that internet providers and telecoms operators would only be the transmitters of information. Due to intended legislation open Internet access could become something of the past. Telecoms operators might be given the power to develop and implement business models which could restrict your open access to the Internet unless you are willing to pay for more services. How will this affect you when writing online? Did you know that telecoms operators will even be able to limit your ability to publish and share information?
Freedom of Communication undermined
By limiting access to the Internet, freedom of communication could be severely undermined. Imagine not being able to publish acceptable content due to restrictions in your country or having to pay for more online access to earn online. Net neutrality should never be compromised and users of the Internet should always have full access. From what I can understand if the legislation is accepted, regulation of the Internet will be implemented on a country-by-country basis. Innovation would also become more difficult as well as your ability to share online content with others. Why would anyone using the Internet be required to ask for permission or pay Internet service providers to access others or share content on the network? The implications for you as an online user are immense: think of restrictions to emails, blogs, live streaming and online shopping. Internet providers and telecoms operators will be given the power to decide which websites you may access based on which site will pay them the most. Another search engine, for example, could pay Internet providers to become the dominant search engine and to open faster than other search engines. Your access to iTunes could become slower than for other music sites forcing you to use a better service.
If the restriction to the Internet would solely be to prevent criminal activities or sexual transgressions, for example no access to sites promoting terrorism acts or sexual crimes, etc, I would support it, but not the way in which it is currently unfolding.
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