Freedoms via Internet: The Loss of Net Neutrality

Freedoms via Internet: The Loss of Net Neutrality

Net neutrality was designed to keep the people able to access the internet in any way they wish - but now that's going to change.
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This isn't going to be a whole explanation on why net neutrality is a good thing. Rather, I want to talk about the effects of what the next era of the Internet is going to be. Of course it won't all be at once, but slowly we will see changes from the way we browse the web to the way we communicate with each other. The issue relates to freedom of speech and expression, both of which certain people in high offices would sooner see abolished, judging by what they've said. The internet was built as a way to communicate and share ideas, knowledge, videos, pictures, and in more recent years, memes. But now, the future is uncertain due to the freedoms now granted to the companies who want more money out of the poorest citizens.

The FCC does have regulations passed between the 1990s and the 2000s pertaining to keeping the internet free and open to the people. However, during this time, companies were overcharging customers and even slowing down bandwidth depending on the browser and even the location. People sued, and usually won against the corporations. At the dawn of the 2010s, when the internet culture hit its renaissance, a movement sprung up for net neutrality – regulations that prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking access to websites and data if customers did not pay extra charges. Barack Obama signed net neutrality into law in 2015, following the FCC and Congressional votes to approve it. Since then, no matter your provider, you see the same sites at the relatively (as with anything) same speed as someone with another company. Fast forward to the 2016 election, where Donald Trump actually said that he wants to “shut off” parts of the internet to the American people as part of his plan to stop ISIS – despite admitting that it would infringe on freedom of speech. This would not be a bad concept – limiting the purchase of domain names by known terrorist cells, but that is almost entirely impossible, considering the internet is not a land of law and order, much less is it designed to be country by country access.

Now, the current FCC chairman, a Republican working for Trump's administration has been outspoken against net neutrality, saying it's bad for the companies. Because they aren't charging people extra to go on Facebook, listen to music, search on Google, or even read this very article. Of course there are the other regulations and policies, but if net neutrality was voted out with a 3-2 majority (voting on party lines because no matter what you feel, the party – read Republican party – makes the real choices here). It should also be noted that without regulations like this, ISPs will be able to limit the websites people see, and much like suggested ads, it's based on demographics. Rich customers who pay for the premium services will be able to look for a good lawyer, read up on workman's rights, apply for certain jobs, etc. But poorer customers, who can't afford the extra, will get a very limited internet. Essentially, if you'll pardon the comparison, it's like EA's Battlefront II. You buy it, you bring it home, load up the game, and lo and behold, you can't play as Darth Vader unless you do one of two things: play for ten hours straight a day for a week or two, or just buy all the lootbox packs and spend over two thousand dollars on a video game. If you aren't able to pay, you don't get to have all the features.

But as with most things they do, the Republican party really knows how to convince their base otherwise. By saying the companies won't actually charge you, they'll keep their prices the same, or that sometimes we have to sacrifice freedom of expression in the name of security (“for a safe and secure society” to quote Emperor Palpatine), as well as really pushing the narrative via Fox News and other right wing sources, they can totally blind people to the reality that they are not seen as real human beings by the current administration. This is how the internet works in North Korea and China – heavily censored, and in the case of the former, only certain people have access. We won't see it all at once. Little by little, it'll load up slower, data won't go through as fast, and then eventually a message - “To access this site, please upgrade your service package.” The companies would decide what we see and when we see it, which as we can easily infer will be abused by CEOs being paid by government officials to silence resistance.

I won't go on for long about this. There is so much online and so much to read about that it is impossible to summarize in an article like this. The FCC voted it down, but Congress still has to vote. Several states are suing the FCC to reinstate net neutrality, among them Mississippi – because the Republicans screwed up so badly, even the deep south is suing them for it. Everybody should get access to the complete internet, regardless of provider, demographic, or package. It may well come to a point where to apply for a job, you have to pay your ISP more. So many things are connected to the internet, even fifty dollar smartphones. Should one have to decide whether or not they want to have an email so they can check for an important notice, or eat? Should the poor get poorer trying to go on Reddit or Google or Netflix, and the rich get richer by exploiting the poor? Seriously, the current administration doesn't care about the regular person, only the CEOs and boardmembers who lied, cheated, and stole their way to governing our daily lives. Call your senators, your representatives. Email, send a letter, anything. Tell them that these freedoms are guaranteed to all Americans, and that the corporations should not have any more right to block access than anyone else.

Cover Image Credit: Reddit

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10 Reasons Buying A Fitbit Is The Best And Worst Thing That Will Happen To You

Do you even FitBit?
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We all have or know of someone who has joined the Fitbit craze. They are amazing, are they not? A watch, a step counter, a calorie counter, a sleep tracker and in some models, a heart rate monitor; how awesome is that? They have definitely become a new "trend." I see people all over campus and the gyms wearing them.

After wearing mine nonstop for a couple months, I realized 10 reasons why it was the best and worst decision to purchase one.

1. I find it motivating me to take more steps each day.

It really is motivating. Kind of silly, though, that something as simple as a step counter can actually make you want to take more steps. It definitely inspires me to get up and get moving.

2. On days I do not meet the daily step goal, I feel like a lazy bum.

If I don't reach 10,000 steps, I feel like I've accomplished absolutely nothing. Sometimes, I'll look at the number of steps and seriously question if I ever even stepped out of bed that morning. How can I only have 3,000 steps in a day? Yep, sadly, it's happened to me.

3. When I'm just "so close" to the 10,000 steps, I find myself walking around aimlessly in circles just to reach the daily goal.

Yes, I will admit it, I have a problem. I see 9,000-something and then I become SpongeBob and Patrick.

4. When I do reach 10,000 or higher, I feel embarrassingly accomplished.

Did I run a marathon? Did I run for president? Did I win the lottery? Nope! I just hit 10,000 steps and I feel like I did all three (it's pathetic).

5. Having competitions with friends via the Fitbit app makes you want to do way better.

OK, I will confess... I have cheated. (Sorry, friends.) But when you're beating me by 10 steps, what do you expect!? I am competitive and the FitBit app has only fed my competitiveness by either making me work out longer or cheat (only a little).

6. It makes you realize how good, or in my case, how bad your sleep pattern really is.

It really is awesome how it can track your sleep, I won't deny that. But holy cow, until I bought one, I didn't realize how terribly I slept during the week and how lazy I am during the weekend. Seriously, four hours on weekdays and nine on the weekends—is that normal? Not sure, but at least my Fitbit can track it!

7. I find myself refusing to take it off, even when going out and looking cute.

It is pathetic, I know. But how could I take it off when I am potentially going to get thousands of steps going place to place? Why wear my cute watches or bracelets when I can wear my super cute Fitbit?!?

8. When I go a day without it, I find myself feeling empty.

How will I know how many steps I took? How will I win the competition? What if I hit 10,000 and I don't even know!?

9. It is the easiest way to check the time in class.

You can format it any way you want, but my favorite is so I can click it and it shows the date and time. I can simply click the side button, and there's the time. Sometimes, I find myself clicking it every. Single. Minute. Until class is over.

10. I cannot go anywhere without the charger.

It has become equally as important as my cell phone charger because if it dies, how will I know how many steps I took?

Cover Image Credit: meme generator

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11 Reasons Why You Should Take An Online Class

It's learning from the comfort of your own bed.

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I was uneasy about taking my first online class this semester, but it's already week two and I really like it. I feel like I am learning even though I'm not in a classroom. Here are 11 more reasons why you should take an online class at least once in college.

1. It's literally online

All you need a laptop and Internet connection and you are good to go.

2. You don't have to leave your bed

Because you don't need to go anywhere.

3. You can Google things if you need help on anything

It's magical.

4. It can be less work than a normal class

"Can" is the keyword but usually it's a lot lighter workload and easier to handle.

5. You can do it on your own time

You can do your assignments whenever you want, just beware of deadlines.

6. Your teacher is only an email away

And is usually pretty good at getting back to you since it is the only form of contact.

7. You can see your grades right away

If you're lucky enough to have assignments that are automatically graded.

8. You can complete assignments with friends

I think that is the best part of online classes.

9. Your exams and quizzes are online

Which might make them less stressful.

10 There's no absences

So you won't miss anything.

11. It's more organized

Everything is laid out in front of you so you don't miss assignments.

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