Net neutrality has become a volatile, high-profile news story, and with good reason: Americans are in danger of losing it. But what is net neutrality, and why is it important? Why are some lawmakers fighting so hard to make it a thing of the past?
The answer is complex, rooted in technological progress, a changing economic landscape, and a society and culture that is seeing greater class divisions than at any other time in our history. Some in our government are determined to make the internet a profit-driven product, and while this may sound understandable in a capitalist society, the dangers are very real.
In learning about net neutrality, consider these two main points. First, granting access to information based an individual or business' ability to pay -- which is the goal of the FCC and others against net neutrality -- is a way to keep poor and working-class folks in a vicious cycle of poverty, cutting them off from information, education, and, in a way, liberation. Second, the loss of net neutrality would mean that a handful of internet service providers (ISPs) and their preferred corporate clients are legally allowed to skim a massive profit off those individuals and businesses who are able to pay for higher levels of service. Things you consider simple Internet tasks today like checking social media or emailing a silly meme could become expensive, slow, and even impossible.
Make no mistake: the loss of net neutrality is a loss of freedom. Keep reading to learn all about net neutrality and the tangible threats it poses.