Network Neutrality is one of the fresher, more recent debates when it comes to basic freedom of speech and freedom of access. The debates started back in 2008 but were brought to attention when future President Obama mentioned it on his campaign trail: “I am a strong supporter of net neutrality … What you’ve been seeing is some lobbying that says that the servers and the various portals through which you’re getting information over the Internet should be able to be gatekeepers and to charge different rates to different Web sites … And that I think destroys one of the best things about the Internet—which is that there is this incredible equality there.”
Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, ideas and ways of thinking, which is where internet providers (and sometimes the government and people in charge of overseeing things of this nature) sometimes trip up.
Unregulated internet is the basic principle of free speech and something that the first amendment stands for in its highest ideals. Although the creators of the Bill of Rights had no idea that the internet or anything related to it would be something to consider when drafting the first amendment, net neutrality still stands for exactly what they believe in.
Participation in society, including the ability to receive and convey information, is a global human right that includes internet browsing and surfing. Net neutrality supporters believe that the internet should remain free, open and nondiscriminatory and that this is essential for a democratic exchange of ideas and knowledge, ethical business practices, fair competition and ongoing innovation.
In terms of media literacy, net neutrality is essential. Limiting anyone from broadening their understanding of the internet and media makes them illiterate and gives an unfair advantage to the people that have the right or accessibility to these things.
This is also part of the reason why social media, internet browsers, messaging apps, email applications and more are free and fully accessible to use by anyone in the public. Putting a price on any of these things limits media literacy and goes against the principles of net neutrality. Receiving and sharing information is the core value of the first amendment, and limiting that would be going against basic rights as a citizen in the United States.
Before this assignment, I was unfamiliar with how serious and important this conversation is and the hurdles that the government and the people advocating for net neutrality had to go through in order for net neutrality to become a thing. A basic human right is free speech, and net neutrality guarantees that that is not taken away.