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In 2007, Comcast throttled traffic to Bit Torrent, a popular peer-to-peer service used (both legally and illegally) to distribute entertainment content in competition with Comcast’s cable business.The FCC ruled the practice illegal in 2008, but its complaint against Comcast was ultimately dismissed due to a lack of regulatory authority to intervene in such cases.To prevent such blocking, throttling, and pay for play in internet content delivery, the FCC published the Open Internet Report and Order in 2015, declaring internet service providers common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act.It is these protections that Ajit Pai—who previously worked for Verizon, a company that could benefit from the change—hopes to withdraw.
But if the policy takes effect, broadband and wireless providers could resume blocking or throttling content, and they could establish “fast lanes” for content providers who pay fees for special access to online consumers.
Or consider two cases that came to light just yesterday, the same day Pai announced the FCC’s plans to gut net neutrality: Android devices apparently have been sending their users’ locations back to Google, even with location services disabled; and Uber reportedly paid hackers 0,000 to cover up a personal-data breach of 57 million of its customers.
A public darling during the Obama years, when net neutrality won out, the tech industry has effectively become Big Tech, an aggressor industry along the lines of pharmaceuticals, oil, or tobacco.* * *It’s true that one set of giant internet companies, like Comcast and Verizon, can’t currently mess with what people read, watch, and explore online.
Companies like Google and Facebook enjoyed widespread public trust and support.
They often appeared to share the same “free and open” values that net-neutrality proponents celebrate.