Resource Library

Understanding Net Neutrality and Related Issues

The core principle of net neutrality is a simple one: that all traffic (data) traveling across the internet should be treated the same at each stage of the process.

--The Guardian, Net neutrality: what is it and why does it matter?

Image via The Next Web

In short: the FCC would allow network owners (your Verizons, Comcasts, etc.) to create Internet "fast lanes" for companies (Disney, The Atlantic) that pay them more. For Internet activists, this directly violated the principle of net neutrality, which has been a hot-button issue in Silicon Valley for a long time.

-- The Atlantic, Net Neutrality: A Guide to (and History of) a Contested Idea

Protecting net neutrality is a hard problem, with no easy solutions. It’s going to take a variety of actions and ongoing vigilance.

-- Electronic Frontier Foundation, Net Neutrality

Every web site (whether it's Google, Netflix, Amazon, or should all be treated the same when it comes to giving users the bandwidth to reach the internet-connected services they prefer. Your electric company has no say over how you use your electricity—they only get to charge you for providing the electricity. Net neutrality aims to do something similar with your internet pipes.

-- Lifehacker, An Introduction to Net Neutrality: What It Is, What It Means for You, and What You Can Do About It

Today, Mozilla formally filed a request with the FCC to take a new path forward. We are asking the FCC to modernize its understanding of Internet access services, and apply its statutory authority for Internet data delivery services in a consistent and complete way. With our proposal, the FCC would be able to shift its attention away from authority questions once and for all, and focus instead on adopting clear rules prohibiting blocking and discrimination online.

--Protecting Net Neutrality and the Open Internet

Internet Citizens: Defend Net Neutrality

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Net Neutrality (HBO)

Actions on the policies around Net Neutrality

In its comments on Monday, the Internet Association criticized the possibility of ISPs charging content providers "for enhanced or prioritized access" and called for equal Internet traffic rules for both wired and wireless networks.

-- Reuters, U.S. web companies press demands for net neutrality with FCC

The Commission must ensure that the Internet continues to be open and neutral.

-- Comments of the Internet Association submitted to the FCC

Rights of free speech, and the free flow of information, are central to our society and economy -- and the principle of net neutrality gives every American an equal and meaningful opportunity to participate in both.

-- Official White House response on Net Neutrality

Creativity, innovation and a free and open marketplace are all at stake in this fight.

-- Google's statement on Net Neutrality

Wikipedia Articles on Related Technologies and Policies

There has been extensive debate about whether net neutrality should be required by law, particularly in the United States. Debate over the issue of net neutrality predates the coining of the term. Advocates of net neutrality such as Lawrence Lessig have raised concerns about the ability of broadband providers to use their last mile infrastructure to block Internet applications and content (e.g. websites, services, and protocols), and even to block out competitors.

--Net Neutrality

On 23 April 2014, the FCC is reported to be considering a new rule that will permit Internet service providers to offer content providers a faster track to send content, thus reversing their earlier net neutrality position.

Federal Communitcations Commission

A common carrier in common law countries (corresponding to a public carrier in civil law systems,[1] usually called simply a carrier) is a person or company that transports goods or people for any person or company and that is responsible for any possible loss of the goods during transport.

--Common carrier

Data discrimination is the selective filtering of information by a service provider.

--Data discrimination

Deep Packet Inspection... is a form of computer network packet filtering that examines the data part (and possibly also the header) of a packet as it passes an inspection point, searching for protocol non-compliance, viruses, spam, intrusions, or defined criteria to decide whether the packet may pass or if it needs to be routed to a different destination, or, for the purpose of collecting statistical information.

--Deep packet inspection

With regard to a mobile network operator (MNO, or operator), the term dumb pipe, or dumb network, refers to an operator’s network being used simply to transfer bytes between the customer’s device and the Internet. The use of the term “dumb” refers to the inability of the operator to restrict services and applications to its own portal and primarily just provide simple bandwidth and network speed.

--Dumb pipe

The end-to-end principle states that application-specific functions ought to reside in the end hosts of a network rather than in intermediary nodes – provided they can be implemented "completely and correctly" in the end hosts.

--End-to-end principle

Internet censorship is the control or suppression of what can be accessed, published, or viewed on the Internet. It may be carried out by governments or by private organizations at the behest of government, regulators, or on their own initiative. Individuals and organizations may engage in self-censorship for moral, religious, or business reasons, to conform to societal norms, due to intimidation, or out of fear of legal or other consequences.

--Internet Censorship

Quality of service (QoS) is the overall performance of a telephony or computer network, particularly the performance seen by the users of the network.

--Quality of service

Traffic shaping (also known as "packet shaping") is a computer network traffic management technique which delays some or all datagrams to bring them into compliance with a desired traffic profile. Traffic shaping is a form of rate limiting.

--Traffic shaping

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