Not So Neutral Net

Today is the “Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality 2017”. I added the year in there because this is actually the second such day in about as many years. The U.S. FCC has proposed rolling back rules that would restrict how ISPs can manipulate the data stream that we purchase from them. Many ISPs want to be free from adhering to Title II regulations that require them to provide fair and unhindered access to all users of the internet connection. Most stories I’ve read have put forward the idea that, given the successful removal of Title II rules requirements, the ISPs would be free to create “bundles” of websites that they could then charge extra fees for access. While this is possible, much like many cable companies offer programming bundles today, I think this misses one important detail.

The provider of my internet service has privileged access to my activity, able to see every webpage I visit and for how long. I think it’s naive to say that ISPs would create generic “bundles” of content for which they charge a premium. I think we are much more likely to see people simply being charged more for continued access to their most frequently visited sites.

For more detail and links to additional resources, see Center for Democracy & Technology’s blog post on the topic.