Save the Free and Open Internet
The year 2012 has been quite a roller coaster ride for the Internet. The freedom we enjoy on the Internet has constantly come under threat. Many governments around the world attempted to pass laws such as “SOPA” that would enforce strict regulations on Internet users. Although such legislations were unsuccessful, the fight for Net Neutrality has not stopped.
Piracy was the driving force behind government attempts to censor the Internet. The infamous SOPA and PIPA legislations was proposed to stop Piracy. However, that was only the sugar coated excuse, covering a more serious consequence for such laws. If these legislations were passed, Internet users would be under risk of censorship.
The Internet is highly valued by it’s users because every individual has equal control. There is no company or no authority that “owns” the Internet. By passing legislations that control the Internet, governments are essentially taking ownership over something they do not own. Indeed piracy is harmful and must be tackled, but censorship would have caused more harm than good.
The powerful voice of the Internet users ensured that SOPA and PIPA did not see daylight.
Such drastic legislations were influenced by big organisations that welcomed government control over the Internet. It may seem that these companies are only looking out for their own interests, but that may not be the case.
The Open Internet seems to be harmful for large companies. The quick access to free or pirated content online has seen many large corporations criticise how easy it is for users to gain access. The response from these companies was to enforce regulations and manage restrictions which in return influenced laws such as SOPA and PIPA.
Since the Internet is a free and open platform, not one single person or corporation has a right to take control. So if the government was to take control, it would give other corporations the idea that it is okay to enforce restrictions on their customer base.
For example, a few months ago AT&T got away with violating an Open Internet Rule. AT&T blocked Apple’s Facetime application from being used on it’s cellular network unless consumers opted to pay for a more expensive data deal. This was a direct violation of Net Neutrality. AT&T were able to get away with it on a loophole.
Now if a large corporation like AT&T can get away with something of this nature, it would be a no brainer for other large corporations to start pulling such tricks. Ultimately threatening the Open Internet.
Save The Open Internet
So why do we so badly want to save the Open Internet? It is because the Internet is an amazing tool which connects people all over the world. It gives unknown people opportunities to become known. It promotes innovations and stimulates the economy. The Internet does more for each of us than we even realise. The Internet is the pinnacle of freedom of speech.
In December, some Governments are going to attend a closed-door meeting in attempt to increase censorship and regulate the Internet. Once again, the Open Internet is coming under threat and once again it is up to us to stand against it.
Google has been the driving force, uniting users to combat against anything that would risk the freedom of the web. Google have set up a webpage where users can sign a petition against such moves. The time has come once again for our voices to be heard.
Please visit Google’s Take Action Page to join the fight: https://www.google.com/takeaction/
- Inayat Cassambai, @Inu_SPN