Let's start with the basics of what net neutrality originally started out as and use San Francisco as an example. In San Francisco a company called Covad owns all of the lines that have been installed in the area. Covad sells or leases these lines to companies like AT&T which then charges a consumer an access fee. Currently all ISP's offer a specific bandwidth on a tiered system all the way down the food chain. Net neutrality will step in and void that by forcing someone like Covad and AT&T to offer service without a fee, it will be a lot like public access TV.
Another complaint that net neutrality is trying to tackle is the fact that Comcast slowed down a peer-to-peer network connection because of their packet sniffing software. Some will say this is an invasion of privacy, but considering I worked in the IT department for a web based company, this is your first line of defense. The company I worked for even used Comcast. I would get regular calls from Comcast when our Engineers would download larges bits of information that was not in our normal habits or normal bandwidth usage. While I was there we also received a DoS or Denial of Service attack trying to shut down our website, if Comcast wasn't monitoring our traffic we could have gone down for minutes or hours and had a virus or two. Everyone knows with software it will eventually stop or slow down some forms of traffic, but not by intention, so it's a small price to pay to make sure that we're able to have ease of access on the internet. If you were to take away these safety measures from companies like Comcast you would open the door the DoS and viral attacks all over the internet, I think you would be less safe even.
If that was the only thing trying to be pushed through with net neutrality I would be OK with that, but get ready for a new buzz word “digital literacy”. The Aspen Institute recently held a town hall meeting discussing their outline for not only digital literacy, but even all aspects of information we receive over the internet. The Aspen Institute is influencing members of the FCC which will ultimately control the internet.
According to the Aspen Institute's argument for digital literacy is that people aren't just informed enough. I would normally go on a rant talking about how I have the right to think for myself, but this is bigger than that. They state that there are so many contributors to the internet that people aren't able to discern what's true and what's opinion. They think that, starting in the elementary schools, people need to be educated how to use search key words, use critical thinking, learn how to keep up on current events, and discern the credibility of messages. The Aspen Institute does not think that this will be done Federally, or if it is it will be a long time, so digital literacy needs to be handled locally. The NGA along with other educational institutions up to colleges.
Recently Senator Rockefeller recently called for the reinstatement of the “fairness doctrine” during his speech in front of the Cable & Broadcast TV Carriage Negotiations committee. Granted this would be for cable TV for now, but this could and would expand quickly. The cable companies would be the first regulated and the domains they sale would more than likely be a part of that, but we need to be fair and regulate all domain providers like Yahoo, Go daddy, and others because it would be an unfair advantage. Don't forget Comcast is looking at buying MSNBC. This would be a slippery slope which would take away the right to choose for consumers because it would require a pop up or link to an alternative point of view. An example would be a Huffington Post pop up when you go to Fox News' website. This is probably not likely with the Federal Government especially since the Republicans just won the House, but like the Aspen Institute just said, they would use local organizations which would include the FCC.
I think this is all bad news. Some people have warned that certain organizations would side step Congress and use other means to complete their goals. I think that the Aspen Institute may be a dangerous organization to those who like to get alternative news that gives alternative, non mainstream, ideas. This will be a slow process hopefully, but my 16 month old son will be being educated in school about digital literacy, how to discern truth, and how to use search terms. Considering I don't agree with the views of most educated professionals because of the indoctrination that happens in college, I'm going to have to work even harder to keep my son's mind open to all ideas. The scary part of this is it will be a generational indoctrination that may never be broken. As we saw in the 60's and 70's, those hippies or long hairs are today's leaders and educators.