“Net neutrality (also network neutrality or Internet neutrality) is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication. The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003 as an extension of the longstanding concept of a common carrier. Proponents often see net neutrality as an important component of an open Internet, where policies such as equal treatment of data and open web standards allow those on the Internet to easily communicate and conduct business without interference from a third party. A “closed Internet” refers to the opposite situation, in which established corporations or governments favor certain uses. A closed Internet may have restricted access to necessary web standards, artificially degrade some services, or explicitly filter out content……Neutrality proponents claim that telecom companies seek to impose a tiered service model in order to control the pipeline and thereby remove competition, create artificial scarcity, and oblige subscribers to buy their otherwise uncompetitive services. Many believe net neutrality to be primarily important as a preservation of current freedoms. Vinton Cerf, co-inventor of the Internet Protocol and considered a “father of the Internet,” as well as Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the Web, and many others have spoken out in favor of net neutrality.” Wikipedia
Bored already? How do we get excited about such dry but absolutely important question?
Net neutrality (or rather, its opposite, the proposed inequality that will be created by offering different speeds according to how much a company or an individual can pay to the providers) is one more example of an increasingly unequal world developing new mechanisms that aid the seemingly unstoppable concentration. Information is power. Information that travels fast to the rich and slowly to the rest of the world means more concentration of power. The ramifications are enormous but, who better than John Oliver, British comedian playing gadfly to the American establishment to explain them to us, making us laugh on the way?
Or see more highlights (including FIFA and the militarisation of the US Police) at the Guardian.