Net Neutrality is now a thing of the past, at least for now. This “Obama-era” regulation that protected the rights of internet consumers in the US has been repealed by the Federal Communications Commission. It’s taking away a law that protected rights of consumers in the United States and giving back power to companies that are almost universally hated at this point.
We’ve already written on the backwards implementations that have occurred already in the past, like when Verizon started throttling Netflix for users, or when Comcast started injecting code into browsers. Keep in mind these things were happening WITHIN the confines of Net Neutrality laws.
What happened to Net Neutrality?
Recently, a lot of positive changes made in the Obama-era have come under attack. One of the best implementations was two internet orders protecting internet consumers from greedy internet service providers.
Ironically, the chair of the FCC, Ajit Pai–whom has a significant say in how politics shape new laws concerning net neutrality, is a former Verizon employee. Companies like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T will benefit from the new “internet freedom” ( or rather, the freedom to build their business without consumer protection laws) since the laws that prevent them from utilizing their strength as a monopoly are now gone.
The Open Internet Order of 2010 and 2015 Title II Order are now abolished. The original Open Internet Order was a regulation that required ISPs to treat traffic equally without shaping or slowing down certain websites. The reasoning behind this law was to prevent behind the scene monopolized internet control. The basic idea is that certain internet companies have their own websites, and if such a law didn’t exist, websites like Hulu which are owned by Comcast would get a “boost” with good speeds, whereas other Websites like Netflix would be slowed down in order to subvertly push consumers one way or another.
The Title II order carried similar restrictions by preventing ISPs from making “any unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services.”
Now without these two orders, ISPs in the US have complete control over consumers. This means that websites are going to enter in a bidding war for speeds, and it could also spell a complicated war between all types of internet companies–depending on which affiliations they choose in the future and with what provider.
In a future without Net Neutrality, consumers may have to pick Internet Service providers based on the services they want or use. Let’s say that you pick Comcast if you like Hulu, or Verizon if you like Netflix. However, this isn’t even a possible solution since people like to use both streaming services, and in many locations, there is only one major internet service provider!
Is Net Neutrality Really Gone?
So the steps that need to be taken have been taken, but is internet freedom really gone already? Well, there is still room for plenty of legal challenges but it’s too early to say now if they will prove effective against the FCC in court.
The US congress could also take action against the FCC’s order, if both houses in Congress pass a disapproval within 60 days. In the past, the Republican Party used this to block other privacy provisions put in place in the Obama-era. However, the US Senate and Congress is already controlled by the Republican party, so even this hope of resolution and push for net neutrality to stay looks dim. Needless to say, things don’t look good.
Can a VPN Protect You from ISPs?
Thankfully, with a VPN, you can circumvent a lot of the dark times ahead that are sure to bring more aggressive spying campaigns and internet control schemes.
Since VPNs like TorGuard encrypt your traffic and online data, your ISP cannot monitor which websites you are using and discriminate against them which makes the long lasting effects of the repealed net neutrality a little less scary.