What is Net Neutrality?

Sep 26th, 2013
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  3. What is Net Neutrality?
  4. Net neutrality is the equal treatment of all data. Just like these data packets. Net neutrality means that users like us should decide which devices, software, services, and websites are used. Net usage should be open and without any third party telling us what will and won't work.
  6. Why should you care?
  7. Because it is an awesome thing from which you benefit every day and because this
  8. awesome thing is currently endangered.
  10. Or more precisely:
  11. A neutral network shows no discrimination towards the sender, content, or receiver of sent data packets. It doesn't make any difference which rate the sender and receiver are paying, what kind of application, or what protocol sends or receives the packet.
  13. Or in simpler terms...
  14. Imagine the web as a road on which data packets are moving. This road connects all
  15. computers that are connected to the internet. On the crossroads of these streets are
  16. routers, which direct the data packets on the right route to their destination. The routers
  17. don't care who comes down the road. Nor do they care how they look, where they are from,
  18. where they want to go, or what content they have with them.
  20. This way I can communicate directly with my friends even if they are living on a different continent, pay different rates, or have a different provider than me. I can access the internet to visit any website or play any game no matter who is offering them or where the hosting servers are located. I can watch any videos or read blogs from all over the world, and I can take part in initiatives and open source projects. I can do all this whether I am using a tablet, laptop, PC, or mobile device to access the internet.
  22. This is what the internet is all about. This is the way we expect it to work.
  23. We all benefit, as a community, from these neutral communication networks. They guarantee
  24. our access to all available content on the worldwide web.
  26. Because of this, the network providers earned billions within the last several years.
  27. Net neutrality: an awesome idea for all of us.
  29. What is the catch?
  30. The telecommunication providers now make the claim that these imaginary data roads
  31. could experience traffic jams. They want to abolish the concept of net neutrality. Of course, this isn't true because data networks are not real roads. As we
  32. know from the hardware manufacturers of this network infrastructure, there is enormous
  33. untapped capacity in the network. Not to mention, operators of content distribution
  34. networks tell us that data traffic is unbelievably cheap.
  36. But why are telecommunication companies making such claims?
  37. For years these connection providers have been jealously looking at the biggest profit centres of the internet's service providers: content providers, search
  38. engines, video platforms and social networks. They all want their share of these profits as
  39. the digital age reduces traditional revenue streams. Now, they not want to
  40. transport, but they also want to exert power and control on whatever is offered.
  42. So how do they want to do that?
  43. To achieve this, the telecommunication providers have considered splitting the data into
  44. categories, or rather castes. The lowest caste of this system would be the regular internet,
  45. which would only be available for a limited amount of data, and would have to take a back seat to higher castes when being sent through the data network.
  46. The highest caste contains content from the net provider, segregated from the
  47. internet, and would receive preferential treatment and unlimited access – naturally through an extrasubscription. Between these, many increments are possible.
  49. For example, a caste for data from social networks that raises a traffic data toll for the social network
  50. provider. This of course means that the receiver will have to pay for an extra subscription
  51. as well. In the same manner, an extra service to provide games for consoles or reading
  52. online newspapers could be implemented. They would be separate from the internet,
  53. and both the distributor of the service and their customers can be charged for it.
  54. Competitive offers would be restricted or blocked.
  56. So how does this work?
  57. Let us go back to imagining the data network as roads. The router, which originally directed
  58. data to the right route, would be upgraded with toll stations that scan through the data and
  59. separate them by castes.
  60. Depending on the caste, they could use a special road that was separated from the main road, in order to reach their destination faster. If the toll was paid for data of a lower caste, they will have to use the slower, regular road.
  62. If no payment for the data was made by the sender, it would be assigned to a lower caste and would only be allowed to use the street
  63. if it is empty and not too many data packets have passed through the toll station.
  64. Should they be part of programs, services, content or senders that are not liked by the
  65. telecommunication provider they will be slowed down excessively, sorted through, and possibly even destroyed.
  67. Moreover, if this was not clear: we customers do always pay, no matter if a service
  68. provider pays toll as sender or not. Therefore, our data traffic might get limited and we
  69. have pay for more data traffic subscriptions.
  71. So what does this mean?
  72. Non-commercial services and community projects, like Wikipedia for example, could not
  73. afford this caste toll and would have limited availability, or not be available at all.
  74. Direct communication with friends and acquaintances could be filtered or blocked as a
  75. rival to established models of service and commerce.
  76. Once such a control and filter infrastructure is introduced and established, filtering and
  77. discarding of unwelcome data like competitive offers or services can be done easily. Filtering opinions, information or political viewpoints is just a small change in the system settings.
  79. What if we let infringement of net neutrality happen?
  80. Such a process is very difficult to reverse, if at all.
  81. We would lose the richness of the internet, the variety of options through which we shape the net.
  82. We would lose much content because providers cannot afford the toll of the telecommunication enterprise any more.
  83. We would lose the free competition and by this the release of new services of smaller companies
  84. or community projects.
  86. The free access to content and information that we currently enjoy would be gone.
  88. There would be a two, three or four class model of the internet, or even not just one internet but many, and different content would be available in different nets. Think of it like a set of TV channels from a pay-tv provider, where in addition to basic programmes, there are premium programmes that are charged differently depending on the channel.
  90. You could only access whatever the providers offer and expect to be profitable.
  91. The network operators’ regime would severely limit today’s freedom of information on the internet. And for this loss, we would have to pay more.
  93. However, our providers say they would never do such a thing; it is just something
  94. like a rise in price!
  95. But of course, the telecommunication providers have been proven to lie right to our faces regarding the legality of arguments to break net neutrality. For example, the claim of non-available capacity, or that countries with laws for net neutrality would have a slower internet connection.
  96. If they already lying at this point, why would they tell the truth by promising to build a faster net with the additional money while claiming they will not sift through our data, even though they need it in order to make the caste system work?
  97. How can they possibly keep the richness and the competition with such a system?
  99. Therefore:
  100. Protest with us!
  101. Request statutory regulations for net neutrality in your country and in the EU!
  102. Demand equal treatment of data!
  103. Reject preferential treatment of premium data in exchange for a worse treatment of your
  104. personal data!
  105. Stand up against network locks and an artificial deceleration!
  106. Fight for a free and open communication network, in which we together as community
  107. benefit from!
  108. Demand non-manipulated data traffic!
  109. Reject the discrimination or prioritizing of data, no matter what the reason!
  110. Nobody has the right to be the snooping in our traffic. Nothing justifies it.
  111. We are all entitled to net neutrality even in mobile networks!
  113. Real net, now and in future!
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