Net Neutrality: Our Freedom Lost In This Toss

Last few days have brought about a revolution in the Internet Industry. Until now, you and I could use the net data we paid for to do anything we want online. If telephone companies get their way, they will dictate what, how and when we browse the internet. (S-C-A-R-Y, right?) And this could happen VERY soon.  Here’s all what you should know regarding the issue:

WHAT IS NET NEUTRALITY?

Net neutrality means that all the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and the governments should treat all data on the Internet equally. Discrimination of data should not be done based on the user, content, website, platform used, application, type of attachment, or mode of communication.

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WHAT IS THE SUDDEN BUZZ ABOUT IT?

Telecom companies like Vodafone, Airtel, Idea have lobbied with TRAI and are trying to bring regulations into the usage of Internet to regulate certain Apps and services like Whatsapp, YouTube, Skype etc. This essentially means that we will be charged separately for using them even if we have paid for the net data packs. (Just another of their sly ways to get their hands deep down in your pockets till there is a HUGE hole in it!) 

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WHAT HAPPENS IF THE TELEPHONE COMPANIES GET THEIR WAY?

The Internet Service Providers are trying their best to snatch away your freedom while surfing the net. If they get their way, the surfing speed of different websites would be governed by your service provider. This means that even if you like an item on Amazon, you’ll be forced to shift to (say) Flipkart, because it’ll be the only site which will open up fast enough or at all (the only thing worse than no internet is slow internet..argh). In this way, the online traffic would be diverted according to the wish of the Internet Service Providers. (Higher the bidder higher the traffic on their site…coz it’s all about the money money money!)

Also, you’ll be charged for everything that you work upon or see online whether you have a net plan or not, you’ll have to pay for everything that you open up –be it a video or a social-networking site.

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HOW HAVE THE MASSES REACTED TO THIS NEWS?

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has received as many as 1 lakhs votes from netizens across India supporting net neutrality in the country. The campaign stands against telephone operators charging extra money from users and companies to open apps faster, and slowing down the speeds for those companies who don’t pay.

Nooooooooooooo

TRAI has put up a consultation paper on its website asking users to give their views on this issue in India. The last day to send in views to TRAI is April 24. Users can log on to www.savetheinternet.in to send an email to TRAI. Or sign this petition

Link: https://www.change.org/p/rsprasad-trai-don-t-allow-differential-pricing-of-services-let-consumers-choose-how-they-want-to-use-internet-netneutrality

In a bid to do their bit to save the internet and ensure net neutrality we see a lot of companies, groups and people coming out with campaigns.  Check them out below: 

FACEBOOK: Facebook’s Internet.org project, which aims to give impoverished people around the world free net access to a selection of Internet services, is facing flak and defections over alleged violations of net neutrality principles. Though the app itself doesn’t provide access to the entire Web, users could access the rest of the net if they have a browser and data plan.

But in India, concerns about providing free access to some websites but not others led several companies to abandon the platform (Duh, who doesn’t want free internet in a world where using the net can cost you most of what you earn). 

But a group of prominent companies, including the media giant Times Group and travel portal Cleartrip.com and TV channel NDTV, have curtailed their involvement or announced their plans to exit the project, amid a fierce national debate about the issue.

AIB: Comedy group AIB has joined the battle for net neutrality and created this tongue-in-cheek humourous video to make Indian netizens aware about it and why they need to raise their voice against this attempt by telecom operators’ plan to control the internet:

Savetheinternet.in: E-mail campaign to protect net neutrality began on Saturday through Savetheinternet.in website. It is an apolitical collective, where various individuals, journalists, engineers, artists, web developers, policy experts and lawyers have come together in their personal capacity to voice their concerns with respect to threats to the free and open character of the Internet to the TRAI before the deadline on 24 April 2015. As of April 16, 2015, more than 750,000 individuals have sent submissions to TRAI after visiting their page. Because…

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AIRTEL ZERO: The chief bone of contention nowadays against net neutrality is Airtel’s Zero plan, (pretty sure they were thinking about our future bank balance while putting that “Zero” in their plan name) which aims to give higher bandwidth to apps and websites whose owners are paying it extra money. The plan is being criticized across India. Airtel’s move can be seen as a blatant arm twisting gimmick since it is the largest telecom operator in India.

O KBPS: 0 kbps is an online campaign on Facebook urging users to switch off all data devices, broadband connections, DTH services, mobile phones. To support the movement you can click here and switch off your net on 25th April | 12pm – 1 pm because in their words, “You have the power, not TRAI or any telecom operator. It’s called the switch off button.” Let the loss of data traffic and voice, thunder folks!

DuhKid

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