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The Net — 1984 in 2018

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The much debated topic of net neutrality

The much debated topic of net neutrality

Photo by Courtesy of Creative Commons

Photo by Courtesy of Creative Commons

The much debated topic of net neutrality

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First there was fire. Then, man made the wheel; followed by farming and the taming of the land. All throughout our short existence, humans have been able to continually innovate, create, and revolutionize the world in a way that was previously unthought of. Now, in the 21st century, our version of fire is the internet. No more were people left in the dark about news, politics, sports, their favorite celebrities, you name it, it is all at the tip of their fingers. In fact, sometimes the news is so expedited we tend to find out before the person the story is on can even begin to type it in on Google. In a society were so much utility, so much reliance and power is placed in the hands of one system it is only a matter of time before someone- or rather something- tries to ascertain control over it. On December 14th, 2017, the FCC- more specifically, five individuals- voted on and successfully repealed the Net Neutrality Act created under the Obama administration on a 3-2 vote. By now, this is old news: as we have cycled through our five stages of grief, the doomsday many predicted now seems to be far from over.

The United States, a country built on the idea of checks-and-balances, has seen many of times were one branch has attempted to make a decision and it has ultimately been denied access- this is no different. I mean, what did the FCC expect? Essentially, five people- I emphasize five people- where given complete control on deciding the fate of over 300 million people’s lives and wallets all while giving their typical political answers and flashing their cheap, painted on smiles. In a way, the whole situation can resemble the classic novel 1984 by George Orwell, and the whole situation encapsulates the idea of Orwellian. However, unlike the world of Oceania in the novel, here in the United States, we do have a chance to speak our mind: almost immediately after the vote, states such as New York and California used their states rights and filed a lawsuit against the FCC for their quote-on-quote “arbitrary and capricious” actions. This was not the end of it though, as now major tech companies such as Amazon, Google, Netflix, and Twitter are rallying their funds together to hire lobbyists to support the overturning of the FCC’s choice. Just where this decision will go is hard to say: to prove the legitimacy of this decision being malevolent and unscrupulous will take exceptional legal council and use of the law and even more dedication to go after a department as big as the FCC is. What I can say is this: whenever there is a unification of such an overwhelming amount of people who want to make a change- change is made. As the saying goes, history repeats itself.

Like myself, I am sure you find it hard to imagine a world where you are limited in the use of internet based solely on the size of your wallet and these fears are rightfully so. No matter what Ajit Pai does to try and humanize himself we are not unintelligent, despite what they believe. While the future of Net Neutrality still remains influx, the long awaiting legal battle will surely postpone any near future plans the FCC and its supporters had; how long this will last though, remains to be seen.

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The Net — 1984 in 2018