By Mackenzie Farkus
The author Ray Bradbury once said that “there is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running around with lit matches.”
Right now, Congress is running around with lit matches. They aren’t quite burning books, however; instead, they might burn down net neutrality and the internet as a whole.
Net neutrality is arguably one of the most important freedom of speech issues of this decade. Without the current laws mandating internet providers to treat all websites and online services equally, the internet will be controlled by those in power. Broadband providers will be able to control what you see on a webpage and how quickly the webpage will load; they will even be allowed to block whatever content they deem fit.
Providers’ “basic news packages” may only offer news sites politically aligned with the provider’s interests; other news sites will be priced higher. Academics researching controversial topics—or, rather, topics not in line with a broadband provider’s views—will potentially not be able to access information relevant to their topics. Furthermore, broadband providers could possibly divide social media platforms into their own package at a high monthly rate. This means that the voices of the working class and others who cannot afford the extra fee will be missing from important dialogue.
There are so many more things at stake if Congress does not protect net neutrality; job searches, long-distance relationships, and access to a plethora of information will be lost. Please consider calling your state representatives and senators to deter them from destroying net neutrality and the internet as we know it. You can also voice your concerns at BattleForTheNet.com; the site contains information on which Congress members are for or against keeping net neutrality as well. A protest will be held at the Verizon store on 745 Boylston St. here in Boston on Thursday, Dec. 7 at 5 p.m.