China has a restrictive firewall blocking specific content from their citizens and Russia may be following suit.
While VPNs and proxies are decent workarounds, will the U.S. share the same fate if Net Neutrality fails in Congress?
Net Neutrality: The Only Firewall Against Data MonopoliesClick To Tweet
Tech Workarounds to Bigger Questions
It is no secret that the country of China bars many sites or certain content types from its citizens.
WhatsApp is one of the latest casualties to the government’s ever tightening hold on what media comes into the country. One of the biggest ways citizens circumvent these stringent content bans is by utilizing VPNs and proxies. VPNs, otherwise known as virtual private networks, ensure that you are operating on a secure, encrypted network even if using a public access point.
Russia Moves to Block Proxies and VPNs
Proxy servers are similar. However, they facilitate accessing information by occluding the source of the user. Moreover, they can also enable users to bypass IP address blocking. Despite the ingenuity of intrepid internet users, China and Russia are both investigating ways to inhibit the use of VPNs and proxy servers to finesse content bans.
The questions remains: is government sanctioned content restriction allowable?
An ever growing concern for many U.S. citizens relates to this very question. The dissolution of net neutrality protections could mean a transition into a country with stringent restrictions on internet service.
What’s the Deal with Net Neutrality in the U.S.?
The actions net neutrality helps prevent are also show us why it matters. Examples such as Verizon throttling Netflix users in a “test” about which they don’t inform their customers is one such action. The major claim against net neutrality is that it would “kill broadband investment”.
Big companies such as AT&T and Comcast make this claim often, but the FCC doesn’t seem too concerned about it. Despite disputes to these claims of economic cost, the chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, maintains that net neutrality harms broadband investment. Senators such as Greg Walden have called major ISPs and websites to the stand to testify on the effects of net neutrality.
Companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Alphabet are among the invitees. ISPs such as AT&T, Verizon, and Charter Communications were also invited to testify before the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Is Net Neutrality Bad For Business?
Even beyond the constitutionality questions of ISP monopolies, data throttling, and content restrictions, the economic question looms overhead. Could Net Neutrality be bad for business? Ironically enough, without the protections that Net Neutrality provides, tech startups could be completely eradicated.
Could net neutrality be bad for business?
Ironically enough, without the protections that net neutrality provides, tech startups could be completely eradicated.
A year long study conducted in 600 countries examined aspects that influence innovation such as:
- governmental backing
- research and development spending
- economic conditions
- startup funding
- entrepreneurial talent
Despite America’s highly advanced digital culture, the data showed that investment is slowing comparatively to other countries. This could be due, in part, to the already formed monopolies of current ISP giants.
“What those companies provide is both slower and more expensive than in many countries around the world. Ending net neutrality, as the Trump administration has proposed, would give internet providers even more power, letting them decide which companies’ innovations can reach the public, and at what costs and speeds…” says Bhaskar Chakravorti for Business Insider.
A Throttled Future is a Bleak One
The good news is that net neutrality has many varied and powerful allies across many industries. Title II is well protected and yet–Congress recently rolled back privacy laws thus allowing ISPs to sell private web data.