There Be A Toll Upon This Road, Robin Hood

Originally I was going to write a nice fantasy related post today, but then I checked my round of news and other boards and ran into this topic several times, Net Neutrality. I didn’t really know what it was nor care at first. Sometimes reading the news, it’s like, no, really, can you just print something good today, I had all the negativity I could take yesterday. Sometimes I want to call a strike on news.

But we should care and here’s why. Net Neutrality means that all webpages have to be treated with equal priority by web service providers. We don’t even think about this. We click on a page or run into a url and expect to be able to get there, and in a reasonable amount of time. But that’s not necessarily how it has to be. If we didn’t have Net Neutrality, service companies could bargain with big sights or even hold them hostage to few to show their content. And they could charge us, like this graphic below, from Reddit user quink demonstrates.

Original graphic by Reddit user quink. Found here:

Original graphic by Reddit user quink. Found here:

As bloggers and blog readers, this is something we should care about. I’ve already lived with restricted internet for two years of my life in China, as a student and a international educator. My internet could crash simply because I typed in a word that was banned for the day but hadn’t been banned the day before. I could only read news that the PRC approved me to read. Skype conversation to my boyfriend would be shut down when he got upset at the Chinese health system when it served me less than well a few times. He lived in Japan. We know those conversations were recorded.

When I came out of China, I had a different view of the world having lived behind the Great Firewall. You don’t want to live behind a bunch of mini firewalls made by companies with agendas that include gouging your income for a service that has essentially become a utility. The way our world operates today, everyone should have access, be it through a local library or their own devices. Loosing Net Neutrality would be akin to charging everyone as they came into a local library, simply for the privilege of being there and finding out information existed, even before they can read it. Nothing as important to our way of life today as the world wide web should be up for hostage taking. And that’s what this could be, hostage taking.

I promise I’ll get back to happier topic on fiction, life, and other things soon. This is not going to become a political blog.


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