net neutrality

ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

[popular articles]

White, Nathan. “Without Net Neutrality, the Internet Will Be Sold to the Highest Bidder.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 15 Dec. 2017, www.independent.co.uk/voices/net-neatrality-vote-us-fcc-internet-rights-freedom-protection-a8112791.html.

This article is the main opinion piece for this podcast. It creates an ideal foundational platform in the argument for net neutrality. It defines net neutrality and briefly discusses the global impact it has had (with large democracies like the EU and India following American footsteps to enact rules that protect the open internet). It uses this as leverage to show that repealing such rules would be an injustice; using and emphasizing the impact of a global outcry as support (ex. Saying that a poll shows that more than 80% of Americans support net neutrality). It highlights the negative impact a repeal would have with mentions of pay-to-play scenarios, the increase in use of VPNs (a tool that allows internet users to connect from a different location as to bypass community restrictions) etc. 

 

Solon, Olivia. “Why the Net Neutrality Protest Matters.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 11 July 2017, www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jul/11/what-is-net-neutrality-threat-trump-administration.

This article provides information on everything from what net neutrality is, to how it affects people, to what people can do about it. With an overview of the legal parameters surrounding the 2015 legislation, this article sees net neutrality in a positive light (as do many, many, many other articles). It explains the access it grants people to equally explore the internet and its endless avenues. Briefly discussing the implications its repeal would cause, it mentions several initiatives that groups have started to battle it.

 

Sen. Gillibrand, Kristen, and Jessica Rosenworcel. “We Don’t Need New Gatekeepers: How Repealing Net Neutrality Hurts Women.” Refinery29, 12 Dec. 2017, www.refinery29.com/2017/12/184799/kirsten-gillibrand-net-neutrality-womens-issue-jessica-rosenworcel-personal-opinion.

This article explores the net neutrality repeal in a unique light. Of course everyone is concerned with the effects it will have on people, but it turns out women are in particular danger. This is one of the vignettes I plan on using for my podcast episode. Why are women in particular effected? How are they effected? Are there other marginalized groups that will also be singled out? In what ways will this change the 'democratic' dynamic of the US? This article provides a gateway to exploring these questions. It paints the net neutrality repeal as yet another barrier keeping citizens from living in an equal society; a barrier put up for the sake of increasing corporate capital revenue.

 

Collins, Keith. “Why Net Neutrality Was Repealed and How It Affects You.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 14 Dec. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/12/14/technology/net-neutrality-rules.html.

This article was written fairly recently (December 2017), thus providing updated and accurate information on net neutrality. The article clearly outlines which open internet rules were recently repealed: blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization – each also defined. This gives readers insight into how they will be affected. For exampled, pay-to-play deals. This means that those who can afford to, will receive faster service as there will no long be rules prohibiting paid prioritization. This, and a few other consequences mentioned, is not the only concern for the repeal. Individuals and small online business alike will suffer, according to this article.

 

Masunaga, Samantha, and Jim Puzzanghera. “Here's Who'll Benefit - and Who Might Not - If Net Neutrality Is Repealed as Expected.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 13 Dec. 2017, www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-net-neutrality-20171213-htmlstory.html.

This article clearly outlines who the winners are in a net neutrality repeal and how. This is integral to our understanding of the way net neutrality works. The article additionally provides information on how start-ups receive the short end of the stick in this deal and leaves an open ended inquisitive discussion on consumer impact. With paid-prioritization the focal point of discussion in this piece, it shines a light on the double-edge sword of net neutrality rules being repealed: potentially driving innovation (through the development of new technologies that guarantee internet connection) and simultaneously quashing it (making it extremely difficult for start-ups to get off the ground and make a potentially fundamental contribution to the online world). 

 

Bhatti, Saleem. “Net Neutrality May Be Dead in the US, but Europe Is Still Strongly Committed to Open Internet Access.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 11 Jan. 2018, www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/net-neutrality-internet-internet-access-ofcom-a8147971.html.

Beyond 300+ million US citizens, a net neutrality repeal would have global impact. Increasing relevancy, this topic is influential in ways that aren’t typically noticeable. This article highlights the way a repeal in the US could influence rules surrounding content blocking and slowing-down in the UK. This imposes clear access restrictions and discriminates against lower-income consumers. Beyond the interconnectedness of Western political influence, the global impact of net neutrality is recognized by the UN; open and equitable internet access is fundamental to global empowerment and development. This is a crucial component to understanding the effect of net neutrality on consumers, particularly through a human rights lens as this podcast attempts to apply.

 

“The Effects of Ending Net Neutrality.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 15 Dec. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/12/15/opinion/fcc-net-neutrality.html.

This source is less of a traditional article and more of a discussion. It has listed three letters to the editor, one is from a professor of political science at Marquette University. Each letter individually explains their thoughts on the repeal. One strongly feels that the net neutrality repeal represents corporate self-interest that deprives the American people of their freedom in favour of further monopolizing an already drastically homogenous market. This source will allow listeners to explore different avenues and sentiments on the subject; adding perspective from (supposedly) accredited writers so that listeners can get a better understanding of the political dynamic at play here.

 

Crawford, Susan. “The FCC Is Leading Us Toward Catastrophe.” Wired, Conde Nast, 15 Dec. 2017, www.wired.com/2017/04/the-fcc-is-leading-us-toward-catastrophe/.

This article firmly believes that the net neutrality repeal is a bad idea. It emphasizes the social divide that would be created under the repeal due to a paid-prioritizing standing. This view on the democratic and social implications for net neutrality rules provides an understanding for the social injustices that would be involved with the repeal. This is an integral component of this podcast (intended to be its own vignette) and as such, prime examples of exactly how social injustice would be implicit is required. This article provides a simplistic one, saying that being environmentally conscious would even become more difficult under a repeal. Working from home so people stay out of planes and cars would be a lot harder as access to high-quality internet would be limited to those who can afford it. This, and other concerning examples are part of what make such a large percentage of the public outraged at the net neutrality repeal.


[scholarly journals]

Greenstein, Shane, et al. "Net Neutrality: A Fast Lane to Understanding the Trade-Offs†." Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 30, no. 2, Spring 2016, pp. 127-150. EBSCOhost, http://ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=115160734&site=ehost-live

This source perfectly provides a simplistic summary of arguments (both for and against) net neutrality. It prioritizes Internet traffic patterns and the way they function in tandem with net neutrality policy changes. More importantly, this journal discusses the long-term economic trade-offs of net neutrality. This allows the audience to see what net neutrality could mean for the future rather than just the present through an unbiased and research based lens.

 

Kamal, Sara. "If it isn't broken, you're not looking hard enough: net neutrality and its impact on minority communities." Federal Communications Law Journal, July 2016, p. 329+. LegalTrac, http://link.galegroup.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/apps/doc/A493323879/LT?u=yorku_law&sid=LT&xid=80fbc4f7.

This source looks at the development of net neutrality from a legal policy perspective; tracking its origin and changes until the implementation of the Open Internet Order in 2015. It takes a pro-net neutrality stance as it explains under several lenses the relationship minority groups have with the Internet (in respect to broadband access and limitation). This academic journal is crucial to my podcast episode as its examination of the impact net neutrality has on minority groups is a designated vignette. It explores what minority groups themselves have to say about it in addition to providing a researched stance on why net neutrality benefits them.

 

Liu, Xingyi. "Fear of Discrimination: Net Neutrality and Product Differentiation on the Internet" Review of Network Economics, 15.4 (2017): 211-247. De Gruyter, https://doi-org.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/10.1515/rne-2017-0010.

This article explains the way (under a net neutrality repeal) ISPs can discriminate between content providers. Quality discrimination is a large possibility without net neutrality rules in place. Keeping in mind that if CPs keep their content broad (ex. A site that streams all sorts of videos vs. a site that streams only sports videos), they have a greater chance at appealing to a larger audience. This means that more 'general' or 'generic' content is more likely to have constant consumer traffic, making it the safer bet.  As such, without net neutrality, ISPs are more than likely to provide broad CPs with higher connection quality. This would lead to CPs trying to make their content more and more generalized to a broad product for the consumer audience to improve their chances of traffic and connectivity. Why this is so important to us is that it robs us of the beauty of the internet: content becomes more homogenized without niche-specific diversity from CPs.

 

Broos, Sébastien and Axel Gautier. "The Exclusion of Competing One-Way Essential Complements: Implications for Net Neutrality." International Journal of Industrial Organization, vol. 52, May 2017, pp. 358-392. EBSCO host, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167718717301972?via%3Dihub.

This journal discusses the several reasons behind ISPs wanting to break net neutrality rules. It brings forth the notion that net neutrality functions under "the principle that all data packets on an information network are treated equally" (2). This creates the implication of two main rules: the non-discrimination rule and the zero-prize rule. This latter rule prevents ISPs and CPs from making financial transactions with one another; for example, a TV service provider cannot sign a contract with Netflix that would include Netflix's services as a part of theirs – therefore providing their subscribers/consumers with exclusive access to Netflix. This is obviously beneficial to the ISP as they incentivizing consumers to use their service by offering special access to popular media. Additionally, this journal article provides a unique perspective to the subject as it argues that this rule does not improve welfare. This alternative view provides an understanding for the reader as to how strong net neutrality rules may in fact decease competition – as many consumers will choose a free (low quality) product over an expensive (high quality) product, the competition equilibrium is thrown off balance due to a concentration in one firm (this is often why popular apps are free too use; so many people use them that it pays for itself). 

 

Hylton, K.N. Rev Ind Organ. "Law, Social Welfare, and Net Neutrality." Review of Industrial Organization, 50.4, June 2017 pp. 417-429. Springer Link, https://doi-org.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/10.1007/s11151-016-9552-x.

This journal article explores the negative impact of strict net neutrality rules. Using something called "The Bridge Analogy" it explains how banning ISPs from using differential pricing between CPs has a negative impact on general consumer welfare. For instance, a broadband-intensive CP such as Netflix may cause congestion costs that would "result in an internal subsidy from consumers of other internet services" so that everyone is able to equally access internet content at the same quality and rate. These subsidy costs are, however, unfair to consumers not using Netflix; herein lies the downfall of the non-discrimination rule. This article is meant to help us understand that net neutrality is an imperfect concept that does indeed have several other hidden aspects to it that aren't always positive. Using a simple analogy to make readers understand an alternative view to the subject, this article is crucial to the understanding of this podcast's listeners.


[government documents]

United States. Cong. House. Federal Communications Commission. Report and Order on Remand, Declaratory Ruling, and Order. Washington. Web. 12 March 2015. https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-15-24A1.pdf

This report by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides a thorough outline for Bill H.R. 1409 (The Open Internet Act of 2015), including an Executive Summary that provides an understanding for the importance of the open internet as well as the rules that would be implemented to ensure its preservation (and, briefly, how this would be done).
This Bill this report is focused on functions under the notion that "threats to Internet openness remain today" (4); using the 2014 Verizon v. FCC case as support for this claim. Furthermore, the 2010 FCC's conduct rules are currently preventing ISPs like Verizon from utilizing tools that will "deceive consumers, degrade content, or disfavor the content that they don't like" (4) as they have stated in court, if it weren't for the 2010 rules, "it would be exploring agreements to charge certain content providers for priority service" (4).
With several references to this same court case, the documentation of this report helps to provide an idea of what ISPs, like Verizon, would like to do and how an Open Internet order is keeping them from doing so. 

> "Open Internet Act of 2015" Bill:
United States. Cong. House. Committee of Energy and Commerce. H.R.1409 - Open Internet Act of 2015. 114th Cong. 1st sess. Washington. Web. 17 Mar. 2015. Congress.gov, www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1409/text?r=1.


[statistics]

“Net Neutrality Statistics Dashboard.” Nutt Labs, Open Rights Group, 2017, https://nutt.io/insights/net-neutrality-statistics/.

This source uses accredited references (including the FCC itself) to clearly compile a list of statistics relating to the chatter surrounding net neutrality. Using clear and comprehensive graphs, the drastic increase in public interest regarding net neutrality between 2014 and 2017 is demonstrated, first and foremost; clearly implying that this is a subject of concern amonag Americas. Supporters and opponents of net neutrality are then divided; their political influence in 2016 being outlined by a measure of their lobbying activity and campaign contributions. These two graphs highlight a simple but important fact: ISPs oppose net neutrality while CPs support it. This statistical data helps to support the notion that a net neutrality repeal would indeed damage the openness of the internet by giving CP's powers to ISPs. Furthermore, 60% of American supporters were found to support net neutrality; a detail crucial to understanding the effect a repeal would have.

Episode Pitch Transcript

There’s that one episode of Friends where Monica and Chandler go to a fancy restaurant, this is after they’ve started dating of course. The host tells them they have to wait 45 minutes for a table despite having reservations. Well it doesn’t take long for them to realize that what the host needs to cut that wait short is a little money. Monica says it best, “everybody wants a payoff.” And as it would happen, public administration and media conglomerates are no exception.

This should be no surprise to anyone. Corporations are always looking to make a few extra bucks (and by a few bucks I mean millions of US dollars). Under the Trump administration, this could become a whole lot easier. FCC chairman Ajit Pai is seeking to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order, which could mean the death of net neutrality.

What is net neutrality? Well, imagine the Internet as a little league soccer game. The ball being thrown around would be you, or rather the way you hop from site to site (the players) and of course there is a referee. His (or her) job is to make sure everyone has a fair shot at getting the ball. All players should stay open so that the ball can be passed across the field (somewhat) freely. Repealing net neutrality means no ref. No ref means the bigger kids will dominate the ball because they have the power to and the little guys get left out.

That’s the power ISPs (aka Internet Service Providers) will have if the FCC repeals the 2015 legislation. The Internet will become a place where “content providers can pay to have their site connect to users at higher speeds than their competitors” (Independent.co). For us, this means that all the lowkey online shops, cool underrated blogs and whatever else you’ve found on the World Wide Web will be a lot harder to access. With a net neutrality repeal, the chances of finding and being able to effectively use any non-mainstream media sites are slim to none. To top that off, online entrepreneurs and non-corporate websites, or literally any webpages that don’t have conglomerate hosts to back them up, are essentially screwed. Without net neutrality “we would all still be using MySpace, because Mark Zuckerberg couldn’t afford to pay the fees to speed up access to his dorm-room startup”–journalist Nathan White’s words not mine (Independent.co).

So if repealing net neutrality screws the people, and small online businesses, and even huge corporations like Netlifx and Google who are already paying for connectivity (which is like 99% of people involved–please don’t quote me on that number), who the heck does it benefit? Well, as I mentioned before, everyone is looking for a payoff. So what it comes down to is that if users want to access majority of the Internet, they’re going to have to pay for it–more specifically, pay their ISPs for it. While large corporate websites could still gain from the repeal (as they’d be the only ones actually able to negotiate a deal with companies like Comcast and Verizon), service providers are the major (and only real) winners in this scenario. As if Internet bundles don’t already cost enough, you want to watch your favourite show? Well Netflix, which you now have to pay extra on your Internet bill for, is your only option because chances are, any streaming sites will be blocked.

So the next time you walk into a restaurant, have a bill in hand: ready to tipoff.