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Understanding net neutrality

On December 14, 2017, a staggering blow was made to Internet users everywhere. When the FCC began to systematically destroy net neutrality, they were at complete odds with the wishes of users and tech experts. There were even some public officials who were unanimous in their voice of opposition.

Net neutrality was created in order to keep the Internet open and free. The governing principle behind net neutrality was equality for all services and sites, no matter their size.

Our desire for Internet freedom has been crushed by the Federal Trade Commission. Now it’s the time to know how to combat these decisions and keep our Internet experiences as free and enjoyable as they were before.

What does the Net Neutrality mean to you?

ISPs blocking content from usersReversing net neutrality gives power directly to Internet Service Providers. They can now prioritize, obstruct, or reshape the Internet however they desire. This power means that users will be helpless to stop their ISPs from marketing services in any way they want. In effect, users will be bound to the rules of their ISPs. The only caveat is that the ISP must make their business practices public, but that doesn’t stop them from being able to hold users hostage to their terms.

The impact of this decision isn’t only going to be felt in the United States. The ripples will flow to other countries who look to the US as the leaders of Internet technologies. The decision sets an unfortunate precedent for other countries to follow, clamping down on their own Internet traffic.

The United States is one of the most used sources of content used in the international market. The fact that ISPs can now control distributors of media content such as Spotify, Netflix and many other streaming sites will have globally negative consequences.

While it may be too early to completely understand the potentially negative outcomes of this decision, it is never too soon to protect yourself.

Can a Virtual Private Network help with this Repeal?

The answer to this is largely, yes it can. VPNs will allow the user access to sites that may now be restricted by their ISP. According to some experts, the repeal of net neutrality will allow ISPs to arbitrarily block certain sites and content. This is called blacklisting, and it is serious business. The ISP can block content completely, or hold the user hostage by demanding fees to access the content that was previously free to view. Using a VPN will allow users to bypass the ISP altogether and continue to gain access to blocked content.

A VPN is also able to protect you from concerted efforts of your ISP to promote some sites while making others less appealing. Under this repeal, the IPS can choose some favorites, most likely under the influence of which site pays more. For instance, users of Netflix may continue to enjoy all the benefits of the big movie streaming giant. On the other hand, its smaller cousins, such as Hulu, get slowed down to frustratingly sluggish speeds in an effort to get users to ditch the smaller service in favor of the larger. ISP’s slower streaming services of certain content is called throttling, and it is not a mistake or a glitch. It is a targeted effort to drive you to sites that pay the ISP more in advertising dollars. A VPN can help users bypass throttling and continue to enjoy whatever services they like.

In short, using a VPN allows users to take control of their Internet experience again. They can browse whatever content they want, while remaining completely anonymous. Users will feel more secure knowing that a VPN offers security and encryption to further keep their identity safe. An ISP cannot block any site or content if your actions are hidden from it.

It’s Still Not Over

With almost 83% of the American public opposing the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality, the fight is still ongoing. The implementation dates of the repeal have come and gone, bogged down by red tape and corporate interests. This means the People may still have a chance to fight the decision before it becomes final.