Thanks to the recent breach of the New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street Journal and United Airlines websites, which resulted in a four-hour delay in stock trading, the WSJ website being offline and major airline flights grounded that resulted in the breach of personal data of 22.5 million individuals, a once-touchy subject, may have grown a new set of proverbial legs.
Government regulation of the internet.
While the internet is not policed or under any form of government oversight, as it is free, the recent data hacking, plus other recent cyber incidents such as Sony allegedly being hacked by North Korea over the release of ‘The Interview’ and other cyber attacks at major institutions, and many worry that this may give the government reason to begin the first steps of regulating the internet as a utility.
While President Barack Obama has stated that the FCC should look into making the Internet as a public utility, the greater issue of net neutrality comes int plays, as well as the bigger question that needs to be answered; does it have the right to monitor us online?
In a first-person column published on the Huffington Post titled “An Open Internet That Works For Everyone”, Democratic Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, a ranking ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet. stated the pros of having a free and open Internet because of it providing a level playing field,
“Why has the Internet worked so well? Because it’s a level playing field. Everyone has an equal opportunity to compete, to succeed or to fail, to put one’s best ideas or products forward and let the chips fall where they may.
Through a free and open Internet, an excellent idea or an individual can beat a powerful established institution. A scrappy student can challenge the status quo and come up with an innovation to change the world. Almost any citizen with an Internet connection can be heard across the globe and drive millions toward change.
But we need rules to make sure that in the battle of content — of music, of ideas, of games, of apps, whatever — it is a fair fight, and that winners and losers are determined by the quality of the content and nothing else.
ISPs offer real benefits to consumers and to our economy. The critical infrastructure they deploy provides the platform for the Internet ecosystem. They aren’t the bad guys.
But without clear net-neutrality protections, companies could alter their incentives and business practices. In order to maximize their bottom line, providers may give preference to Internet traffic from companies willing to pay more for faster delivery. ISPs would be able to charge Internet companies for better, faster access and impede others.”
Schatz would go on to state that the three essential elements that would be needed to be adopted to further make the Internet open, free and offer clear net-neutrality protections from companies who could alter their business incentives and practices,
“First, companies should not be allowed to block access to any website hosting legal content, whether that is video, music, photos, social networks, or email.
Second, companies should not be allowed to slow down Internet traffic based on its content, application, service, or device.
Third, companies should be prohibited from establishing “pay to play” schemes in order to get preferential treatment.
And more generally, the FCC should continue to have flexible authority to prevent other forms of discrimination that threaten Internet openness.”
Grant Ross, per IDG News Service on PC World seems one of the most anti-regulation critics in his article titled, “Net neutrality: Is it really regulation of the Internet?” cites critics such as Republican FCC member Michael O’Rielly and Wall Street Journal editorial writer Daniel Henninger stating,
“Critics have blasted the new rules, saying they amount to ”unprecedented” regulations and a government takeover of the Internet.
The new rules allow the “insertion of the commission into every aspect of the Internet,” Republican FCC member Michael O’Rielly said during a congressional hearing Thursday.
Wall Street Journal editorial writer Daniel Henninger took the argument a step further into the land of hyperbole: “Got a new Web idea?,” he wrote on March 11. “Run it by your Washington reps. Which will include the regulatory enablers of the Obama White House. They didn’t invent the Internet. But now they run it.”
With the current political climate already toxic cultural and social paranoia at an all-time high thanks to the rise in cyber-attacks, the USA Patriot Act and fringe groups such as Anonymous and terror groups such as ISIS, government regulation of the Internet could come sooner rather than later, whether we like it or not, and browsing the likes of Bing, Google, Yahoo and even one’s own e-mail will never be the same again.