Catherine Gagulashvili staff writer
Picture this: After a long day of strenuous studying you decide to reward yourself by watching a couple reruns of your favorite show on Netflix. You type “www.netflix.com” in the search engine and wait to be awarded with hundreds of movies and shows at your fingertips. Yet, the domain takes forever to load. Or worse yet, the site simply doesn’t show up. This is what awaits us students now that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has repealed its former net neutrality acts.
Net Neutrality is the basic principle that prohibits internet service providers like AT&T, Spectrum and Verizon from speeding up, slowing down or blocking any content, applications or websites you want to use. The FCC voted on Dec. 14 on whether or not to end net neutrality and it has now been repealed. The only ones to gain from this despicable form of censorship and inequality are major cable companies such as Verizon and Time Warner Cable. How? They will simply force any site of their choosing to cough up millions of dollars to avoid being in what is called the “slow lane.” Only major companies will be able to pay the “bail”and remain in the “fast lane.” This process kills our right to the First Amendment by limiting what we are able to share and see on the internet. It kills the open internet. It kills everything that America stands for by not allowing the internet generation to freely communicate.
The end of net neutrality will be the modern-day censorship of content in America. Just about everything is online; with the end of net neutrality, the world of information that is now so accessible to us will slowly disappear. Major cable companies will be able to put any website that disagrees with what they stand for in the “slow lane.” If a company is pro-Trump, they could block every news outlet and every website promoting liberal, democratic and generally anti-Trump ideas. If a company is racist or homophobic they can slow down or limit organizations that advocate for minorities and the LGBT. This form of censorship will heavily impact the information the student body is fed and made to believe. We will be living in a world where finding reputable sources and finding the truth will only become more difficult. Considering we are a generation that depends on the internet for just about everything we do, it is astonishing how little we chose to act against a force that will now change life as we know it.
The Break the Internet campaign attempted to petition against the end of net neutrality by encouraging people to call or write to Congress. Their attempts, while significant, were not enough to persuade Congress to step in and enact the Congressional Review Act which could nullify the FCC’s plans to end Net Neutrality. There is still hope; the more people that join the campaign, the louder we can voice our opinions and claim the rights we have to the open internet and persuade Congress to step in and override the FCC’s attempts to strip us of our rights.
The repeal of net neutrality will make our lives so much more difficult. You will simply not be able to freely use the internet. You likely will lose easy access to most of your favorite websites. What you will have access to will be tainted with propaganda issued by major cable companies. You will be limited in your abilities to access study aids such as SparkNotes. You will not have the freedom to do as you please on the internet unless you are willing to pay a fee.
To do your part in ensuring that Congress steps in to stop the FCC, click here to write or call Congress to voice your opinions on net neutrality. For more information on this topic, click here. Urge your lawmakers to reverse this vote while you still have a chance.