Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to overturn net neutrality laws. The vote was split along party lines. Net neutrality ensures that all internet service providers treat data equally, meaning that a local businesses data is treated in the same way as data from a tech giant like Facebook.
Before net neutrality was introduced in 2015, Comcast and Verizon throttled their customer's connections to Netflix, forcing the streaming service to pay the two providers to restore speeds. Unsurprisingly, the repeal has lead many to believe that this kind of thing will happen again, and that businesses could pass the cost on to the consumer.
But Twitter user JTM, a data scientist from Paris, doesn't think that's going to happen. They're far more concerned about how this decision will impact new Internet businesses just starting out. Facebook and Google already make enough money to eat the cost themselves, but what about the little guy?
I'm getting tired of the #NetNeutrality meme saying "if it passes you'll pay $14.99 for Twitter and $.10 per Google search". It is absolutely not what is going to happen and we should try to educate people on the real reasons why #NetNeutrality needs defending. Thread ⤵️⤵️1/n— jtm_ (@jtm_) December 14, 2017
More precisely, internet traffic is made of packets routing through routers from A to B. In transit the routers dont discriminate based on a) the point of origin or the destination b) the type or content of data transmitted or c) the protocol (the technology) used. 3/n— jtm_ (@jtm_) December 14, 2017
So on a neutral network every service, every company, every person or organisation is treated equally, *including those who don't exist yet* : this is a crucial point. #NetNeutrality allows competition to exist. No competition means no capitalism, no innovation! #letthemfight 4/n pic.twitter.com/SiXeNrXnza— jtm_ (@jtm_) December 14, 2017
Voice-over-IP, Video Streaming, were made possible thanks to net neutrality. New protocols, new services have the same access to the network as long-established players despite their massive difference in size and financial power. 5/n— jtm_ (@jtm_) December 14, 2017
To loop back to my original point no, the end of #netneutrality doesn't mean you'll pay for Twitter and Google because these will be in the base package. But small actors will need to pay massive fees to telcos to get onto that base package short of which they'll be invisible 6/n— jtm_ (@jtm_) December 14, 2017
You want to launch a new video streaming service ? OK, but you'll need to give Comcast Verizon and AT&T 20% of your profit in order to be on the base package, short of which your bandwidth will be so small your user won't be able to play the videos in HD. 7/n— jtm_ (@jtm_) December 14, 2017
The other way in which the "$14.99 for Twitter" meme is misleading is that this is not the bigger risk. On top of the one for innovation and capitalism I just outlined, there's a very real risk to free speech and free circulation of information. 8/n— jtm_ (@jtm_) December 14, 2017
The problem is NOT that you'll have to pay to access your favorite mainstream website or service, but that you'll have to pay to access non mainstream websites or services if they dont have the financial mean to deal an inclusion on the main package. 9/n pic.twitter.com/woumO3YlqK— jtm_ (@jtm_) December 14, 2017
Do you guys see how that's different and actually a lot worse ? 10/n— jtm_ (@jtm_) December 14, 2017
Ok, so here's another one. How does one proceed to know which website you are accessing if one wants to throttle or limit your access ? Easy. It opens and reads everything that you send or that is sent to you. Creepy much ? 11/n— jtm_ (@jtm_) December 14, 2017
Didn't understand that? Here's a snail mail example to help you out...
Let's take a snail mail metaphor. Imagine the US Postal Service opening up and reading every single letter people send and decide that this one or that one should be sent slower or not at all because it doesn't use the brand of paper included in the base package ? 12/n— jtm_ (@jtm_) December 14, 2017
This type of traffic surveillance, is called DPI for Deep Packet Inspection is also what allows a nation-state, say, the US of A, to have the infrastructure in place at the telcos to read, filter, censor, or alter everything your write and everything you read. 13/n pic.twitter.com/Ys5LoKROiZ— jtm_ (@jtm_) December 14, 2017
To conclude, YES, people need to mobilize against the attacks on #NetNeutrality , but propagating misconceptions about what it is doesn't help. Always make the bet that people are smart and can understand complex problems if you take the time to explain them. It's on you. 14/14 pic.twitter.com/vGZUCEinl0— jtm_ (@jtm_) December 14, 2017
Could this be the end of Internet innovation?