Net Neutrality and Internet Privacy

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Over two billion people worldwide are active on social media sites daily. Many of these people participate in sharing personal information and other data items with the general public, without realizing they are a risk. Net Neutrality has been a hot button issue in politics in recent years and there are some questions that frequently arise, even with political leaders: What is Net Neutrality and how does it affect me?

Net Neutrality as a whole refers to the laws and regulations which enforce broadband service provider regulations. Without Net Neutrality, service providers have the ability to slow down certain websites, charge additional fees for certain websites, and prohibit users from browsing websites at their own will. To use an example, television providers often charge extra for HD and showtime channels.

The Netflix streaming service requires an annual fee to stream shows and movies. Without Net Neutrality, internet providers are able to tack on extra costs to access certain websites. This would cause people to pay not only for their internet, but also their Netflix website fee and then their Netflix subscription. It may even go as far as service providers prohibiting customers from accessing competitors websites so they are unable to change providers. Many companies who would benefit from the fall of Net Neutrality include Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T. Several companies pushing the limits of the word monopoly.

Many people target the new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai who was one of the main contributors to remove Net Neutrality. Suspicion rose as the former lawyer at telecommunications conglomerate Verizon Communications laughed and showed disrespect in many interviews. He is often seen as not taking his power and position seriously, as shown by his use of humor to avoid criticism. An example of his one track mind to support big business is “And a week before the vote, he joked during a speech that “‘we only have seven more days to use the internet.’”

With the sudden ‘fall of the internet’, it is easier than ever to have your information stolen and misused. A example of a major company who has had a security breach includes Anthem, a health insurance company in the United States. Statistics provide information stating, “Anthem, the biggest U.S. health insurance company, agreed to pay $115 million last summer to settle a lawsuit over the hacking of about 79 million people’s records in the largest data breach settlement to date.”

18 of the 30 of the students at ICC who were interviewed and surveyed stated that they had never heard of Anthem or the lawsuit. With much of their medical history and other precious information at risk, it shows that in this day and age anyone is vulnerable and big businesses do a scarily good job at keeping the general public in the dark. These data breaches raise issues and questions on whether or not the public’s information could be better regulated by the government.

The United States Congress has attempted to enact many different bills and laws handling these privacy breaches and penalize companies for the unlawful distribution of private information. Some other regulations include the ability for companies to be penalized for not safeguarding information and better educating the general public on personal contracts and multiparty contracts.

Multiparty contracts exist when you sign a document, releasing your information to be distributed to other companies when needed. This often takes place when a doctor sends your information and prescriptions to other doctors or a specialty doctor. Large companies often own multiple businesses, and when a person signs their information over to one business, the entire company now has the rights to it. Educating the public would benefit our cyber security and also cause less issues when it comes to consenting to signing contracts.

One big question that has been raised when asked what should be done when Net Neutrality is removed: Should the government be allowed to regulate what it’s citizens view and access on the internet instead of the companies who provide the service? In 2017, the FCC with a republican majority had thrown out the Net Neutrality regulations that the same commission with a Democratic majority has erected in 2015.

People often see the internet as a free roaming place of information and entertainment. The rapid expansion of the internet will always play a part to how difficult it is to regulate so much content, but a certain set of guidelines needs to be laid down to help assist the common people who entrust their information to companies. Many Democratic party members have requested accountability for big businesses of their actions and regular cyber security checks.

When you enter a new website, there will often be a popup asking if you accept cookies from this website. Cookies are packages sent and stored on a user’s computer that saves information and data from that specific website. Upon return, your data will be loaded automatically and it will keep track of where you left off. People often think that letting a website make a file on your computer may be harmful and a breach of privacy.

If you are giving permission to access your files, you are at risk of your personal information stolen, but you are the one who allowed it. Many people fear this system of storage is harmful and risky, but it is only risky if you are accessing websites you don’t trust. People also have the option to deny cookies to a website, so there is not excuse to blame the site when you have full control on if your information if provided or not. Cookies control everything from what Netflix episode you were on to how far into your emails you got the night before.

Internet privacy is not always the user putting information online. People now have their credit cards saved to their phones, so they can pay with their Apple I.D. or google account. If someone was to access your computer, they would be able to get your credit card information and other precious necessities. It is always recommended to store information on a paper file system instead of on a computer. This could be for various reasons including computer malfunction, theft, and many others.

Cite this paper

Net Neutrality and Internet Privacy. (2021, Jun 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/net-neutrality-and-internet-privacy/

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