Current Events Case Analysis Blog Assignment

Summary of the article or current event from a neutral standpoint

 

The situation is this. Currently in the United States there is debate about this thing called “net neutrality”. What is net neutrality you might ask? Essentially, it implies that since the advent of the internet in the 70’s, the open and free flow of information to the consumer (via the internet) has remained “neutral” from government control. This means that the government can’t remove any safeguards protecting the internet from say, internet providers such as (but not limited to) Comcast and Time Warner (or Spectrum), that is until now. The fear of the general public is that if the government hands over more control of the internet to service providers they will use that power to “legally” charge a special fee to access specific popular websites with “no lag” (as opposed to other smaller business websites not in the “fast lane”).

 

This article goes over the situation, with Steve Wozniak (Apple co-founder), along with other renowned tech heads, leading the march to protect net neutrality. Wozniak believes in the importance of keeping information via the internet open-source. This means keeping access to the internet free to the user so they can explore freely what they want, rather than what they can afford (they = us). Wozniak and his fellow tech heads want to keep an official vote about the situation from happening in the next few days, because they think the FCC chairman Pai may have rushed a “technically incorrect plan”; in my opinion, maybe even as a result of ethical egoism (most favorable good for oneself) where he stands to benefit in some way the sooner the vote goes through. In fact, by the end of the article there was concern over why the FCC had failed to engage with the public about the matter, via say a public meeting of some kind.

 

Statement of the ethical principles represented on both sides of the issue

 

I think a good ethical principle to talk about is the idea behind moral judgement, that is, what is right as a result of personal feelings rather than what the law says is right. As of now, most people would probably argue they don’t want the internet laws in the US to “eventually” shape into China’s, but that is the fear. For example, China doesn’t have twitter because it probably believes that the free flow of information could be harmful to the government (perhaps in the form of say, an uprising); keep people less informed by lack of information flow. This shows us two sides of a moral judgment, where government lawmakers in China could defend its moral stance based on the abolishment of net neutrality being for the greater good (utilitarianism). However the general public might not agree, arguing that it is more moral to keep the internets flow of information free and open to allow lower class people more opportunities at innovating rather than just being a sheep; who knows perhaps the sheep is China’s goal.

 

Additionally there may also exist the case, similar to the current situation in the US, where the people with political power are only concerned with how much money they receive by global corporations who indirectly use them to shape laws selfishly. For example, Time Warner and Comcast own CNN and MSMBS, which one might conclude benefits the very own ISP, because they themselves could essentially alter mass population opinion (about say, net neutrality) in their favor via its news channels. Is this moral? Or is it simple a prime example of ethical egoism.

 

Analysis of strengths and weaknesses of the reasoning on both sides of the issue

 

I think generally, people the centuries old system who may not have had as many opportunities with employment as others will want to fight to protect net neutrality, because it promotes innovation and the creation of startups as a result of, say, access to real time (direct or indirect) “how to” information guides. On the other end, the more startups there are the more competition big businesses will have, which would further reduce profits at the end of the year for the already well established business. Again, a strength for the argument to diminish net neutrality could be that it is for the greater good, but its weakness lies in potentially reducing innovation. On the other hand, the strength in the reasoning defending net neutrality lies in that if it were to be abolished, it basically just benefits those few ISP conglomerates (who can shape laws and public opinion directly or indirectly as they see fit). It’s no secret that some members of congress have received money to vote against net neutrality. A weakness to this reasoning however could be that in order for technology to help the many the gatekeepers need to help themselves first and promote innovations within their umbrella (as opposed to society).

 

Statement of which side is most persuasive to you and why.

 

I stand 100% to protect net neutrality, because I never had a guide in life to tell me how things are (father, older brother). I was raised by a single mother and sister, who knew nothing about what it was to be a man, let alone in a new country (I’m Colombian). Later on when it came to applying to colleges, the whole process was a nightmare only to be forced to trust my school counselor with the process completely, of whom which made many mistakes. These stories are mine and they are just 2 of many others can probably relate too. Essentially, keeping the internet free to explore as we wish allows us to learn about the things we want to learn about, or simply the things that make us curious. It’s not to say learning certain things via an encyclopedia were never around, but the idea of the open-sourceness of the internet is to receive information in real time without search delays. This means that a nobody can now in a few weeks learn how to start a business from the ground up, by using google’s search engine rather than having to spend months or even years going back and forth between the local library.

 

Analysis should use at least two reputable sources. If these are internet sources, then the blog post should include links to the sources.

 

https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/11/16754040/steve-wozniak-vint-cerf-internet-pioneer-net-neutrality-letter-senate

 

https://www.wired.com/story/expect-fewer-great-startups-if-the-fcc-kills-net-neutrality/

 

https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/11/16746230/net-neutrality-fcc-isp-congress-campaign-contribution

 

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