Net Neutrality and your privacy — Our view

Heather Parry

By Heather Parry

11 July 2017

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, or if you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll be aware that we’ve been talking a lot about Net Neutrality over the last few months.

Since Ajit Pai, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), brought down the FCC’s own proposed Net Neutrality rules earlier this year, the internet has been buzzing with often conflicting information about what this means for you.

So we thought this would be a good time to clarify our view on Net Neutrality and why we’re standing up for it.

What is Net Neutrality?

In basic terms, Net Neutrality is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs) should allow access to all types of content equally, without throttling or blocking some types and promoting or favouring others. It is the principle that the internet should remain open, equal and free.

Under President Obama, former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed regulations to protect Net Neutrality, and to ensure that ISPs cannot promote content by companies or individuals that pay to have their content more easily accessible to internet users. However, new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai abandoned these rules before they came into effect, placing Net Neutrality under threat again.

How does this affect your privacy?

The data security rule was a piece of legislation also proposed by Tom Wheeler, and it required ISPs and phone companies to take “reasonable” steps to protect the information of their users from data breaches. This includes such information as Social Security numbers, financial, health and personal data, and browsing and download history.

This rule was also struck down by Pai, who wishes to place ISPs under the remit of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rather than the FCC. This would greatly impact your privacy, as the FTC can only intervene if an ISP breaks a privacy promise (the type that they’re unlikely to ever make in the first place) and even then, they can only take action if the ISP doesn’t also offer a telephone service. If an ISP offers a phone service too, the FTC can’t touch it. This makes it incredibly difficult to protect consumer privacy in any real way—meaning that your ISP can do anything they want to with your data, as well as censoring content as they see fit and watching what you do online.

SurfEasy’s view

Here at SurfEasy, we strongly support the concept of a free and open internet, and we’re hugely passionate about protecting consumer privacy. We believe that you have every right to decide what happens to your information, and we believe in protecting your privacy every single time you connect to the net. For these reasons, we’re also passionate about protecting Net Neutrality and ensuring that users have control over their privacy. A repeal of Net Neutrality risks changing the very internet as we know it—and if the internet changes, so does the world we live in.

So what can we do?

Today, July 12th, is the Battle for the Net. Today, Fight for the Future are leading a global protest so that internet users across the world can lend their voices to the fight for Net Neutrality. This is something that affects every single one of us, no matter what country we live in or what we like to do online.

If you’re a small company or even a large one, you can spread the word amongst your users and show them what your website or app might look like without net neutrality. If you’re an individual web user, you can user your social media platforms to let everyone know why you support net neutrality and why a free and open internet is important to you—and why it should be important to everyone.

Here at SurfEasy, we’re proud to be part of the Battle for the Net—and we’ll continue to fight for Net Neutrality until online freedom and user privacy are ensured for all.

Click here to join the protest, to stand up for Net Neutrality and to protect the internet as we know it.

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