You Need To Be Worried About Net Neutality

You Need To Be Worried About Net Neutality

Open internet is vital to our society.
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We all depend on the internet for access to information, goods, and services. I’m sure that most of us take for granted the fact that we have a free internet that does not block us from seeing anything online. A few weeks from now, that could all change.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Pai is currently trying to repeal net neutrality. You may want to click off this article and think that this will not affect you because the internet will always stay the same. If we ignore the issue at hand, then Pai will succeed.

Net neutrality is

“the basic principle that prohibits internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from speeding up, slowing down or blocking any content, applications or websites you want to use. Net Neutrality is the way that the internet has always worked.”

If Pai gets his way, then the internet could be split into a slow and a fast lane. Only those who could afford the prices of high-speed internet would be able to still have the entirety of the internet at their disposal, and everyone else would be stuck in a slower and lower quality lane. In Portugal, where they have already repealed net neutrality, internet service providers have created packages of different internet services that each have their own fee for high-speed internet.

Cable and phone companies would also be in charge of what type of information you see when you roam the internet. If you want to access information about a political party they do not agree with, or you want access to a service that is competing with theirs, you could be blocked.

The internet has become a vital instrument for people to inform themselves on world issues and also for others to inform others about injustices that are currently happening. The freedom of the internet we know today is what has allowed people to be held accountable for their actions, whether it is someone who has sexually harassed another person, or whether it is a police officer that has wrongfully killed a person of color. The open internet gives marginalized people a voice. Without net neutrality, their stories will fall through the cracks and the victims will not be able to receive the justice they deserve.

New businesses would also suffer from net neutrality being repealed because they would no longer be able to use the internet to jump-start their businesses. Many startups use social media to promote their business and are able to reach their target audience by doing so. If they still wanted to do that in an internet without net neutrality, they would have to pay fees to access high-speed internet. It is likely that since they are a new business, they would not be able to afford to pay those fees, and thus would be unable to have their business grow online.

We all have to take action now. The FCC will be voting on Pai’s proposal on December 14th, so now is the time for us all to reach out to our members of Congress and tell them that we oppose Pai’s plan to get rid of net neutrality. The ACLU has uploaded a feature that will automatically connect you to your members of Congress by giving them your phone number, and they also have a script telling you exactly what to say. If you do not want to speak to your representatives by phone, you can also use the Resistbot to write a letter to them. I will have a link below to both websites, and I strongly encourage all of you to demand that the internet stay free.

ACLU

Resistbot

Cover Image Credit: Sergey Zolkin

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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A Message To High School Seniors

It's going to be alright.

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Dear High School Seniors,

You've made it! In just a few months you will be getting ready to put on your cap and gown and walk across the stage to get your diploma. Soon, you're gonna say goodbye to the life you've known for the past four years and start a new life somewhere else. At this point, your senioritis has most likely already kicked in and you're probably dreading waking up at 7 a.m. more and more each day. The second semester of senior year is annoying but cherish every moment of it.

Everything is about to change. As you walk down the hallways look around. Take a second to look at your classmates and ask them how their day is going. Learn about them and the stories they have to share with the world. Everybody has some advice to give and you never know what you're going to learn. Before you know it, you won't be seeing their faces anymore. The only form of connection you'll have with most of them is through social media which will eventually fade as well. You don't want your only memories of those you graduated with to be just seeing their face in the hall.

Go to the places you love the most. Whether it's your favorite hometown restaurant or your favorite place to hang out with your friends, go. Go until you're sick of it. Take a second to acknowledge the sights and smells around you. You're going to miss them. In a few months, you won't be able to jump in your car and drive five minutes to get there. The places that make your home your home are about to be a long car ride or flight away.

Spend time with your family. This is one thing I wish I realized earlier more than anything. Your parents are most likely going to soon become visibly upset or scared at the fact that you're leaving them. After all, you are their little girl or boy. This time is just as stressful for them as it is for you. But don't make fun of them, hang out with them. You're going to miss the once dreaded trips to the grocery store with your mom and the annoying car rides with your little brother. You really don't realize how important your family is to you until they're not a few footsteps away anymore. Unfortunately, no amount of facetime calls will ever compare to being with them in person. Don't leave home wishing you had spent more time with them.

Be involved in the things happening at your school. Go to prom. Buy a yearbook and get as many people as you can to sign it. Go to the football, basketball, baseball and soccer games you have left. These activities may seem boring at times but they are what you're going to miss. When you get to a big university it isn't going to be as easy to get involved.

Get excited about for the future. Even if you're not going to your dream school, it's going to be ok. The second semester of my senior year I spent upset over the fact I was going to stay at an in-state school. The school I'm at now was the last place I had thought about attending. I almost didn't even apply. However, I am so lucky that I did. I truly can not imagine there being a school that could have been a better choice for me. The people I have met and the opportunities I have been given would have never been put in front of me if I had attended another school. Try to keep an open mind. Everything really does happen for a reason. If you aren't going to the school you originally were hoping to, don't stress. You're going to end up at the place right for you, at least I know I did.

College is amazing but there will always be something special about your home. Make sure you make these last few months your best months. These next few months will be filled with a whole lot of lasts and followed by a whole lot of firsts. Good luck!

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