Series 42 The Liberty of Net Neutrality

As some of you may noticed I launched my personal website and tied this blog into it. Among the pages is my bucket list where I have listed the Rudyard Kipling Poem “If”. This poem is my guiding script. It is what I turn to for vision on what I should be doing and how I should be acting in any given situation. However it doesn’t lend itself to politics too much.

At least for me, it doesn’t give me any insight into discovering a balance between authority and liberty. I am still searching for my personal baseline and hope that through this series of posts. As I discussed on the comments on my Facebook crosspost of this article my Series 42 posts are more along the lines of “What would I do if I were in a position of power? How would I balance authority and liberty?” Lets get into it for Net Neutrality.

Essentially Net Neutrality is the concept that all content traveling through Internet Service Providers (ie. Comcast, Verizon, Quest) needs to be treated equally and remain private. Back in 2008 the FCC stated that all content must flow equally regardless of filetype or size. Comcast challenged this because they want to be able to enforce a model that gives them control over the traffic. The Washington Post has further analysis here

There are two main principles at play here Equality and Privacy.

Equality: This concept of net neutrality states that regardless of the type of file, be it a text document, a YouTube video, a Netflix Streaming video or a piece of music, should be treated the exact same. This means that ISP’s cannot charge more or downgrade priority on the heavier traffic like movie files. This is important because if ISP’s have the power to regulate content by type they can also wield this power to influence other items. Comcast could increase the speed of Hulu streaming videos (it is acquiring NBC afterall) while downgrading the speed of NBC videos creating an imbalance. This is not a stretch of the imagination as ISP’s have already used this power to shutdown various filetypes from downloading.

Privacy: I believe that we have an inherent right to privacy. We may give up that right by using services like Google, but that is personal choice (this video from Google explains a lot about how they treat your privacy). However while we are giving up our privacy to google by using their services, should we also give up that privacy to ISP’s? If you were shipping a box via FedEx to your buddy Alex you are relinquishing your privacy to Alex. Should FedEx have a right to see inside, analyze, and keep a copy of your package? Should Comcast be able to do the same thing when you send your information to Google?

As a blogger and a user of the Internet I can’t but help want Net Neutrality. I want my content treated equally and securely kept private. To me this is a principle of liberty, particularly when the Internet is used as my primary source for news and politics. I do not want access to that content being controlled by a corporation, by anyone for that matter. However in order to maintain this principle of liberty we need to have regulation in the ISP market.

In this crazy version of politics I am ideologically favoring Liberty, however I must realistically side with government regulation in order to maintain that liberty. So my dear readers (*ahem Ben) Is this a Libertarian approach or an Authoritative approach?