Net Neutrality Under Trump

Some have held out hope that Trump end up being more friendly to net neutrality once in office, despite a tweet in 2014 claiming that net neutrality would somehow be used to target conservative media (a claim that makes no sense), based largely on the Trump’s opposition to the AT&T and Time-Warner merger during his campaign. But there’s little reason to think net neutrality will survive under Trump. His transition team is just as united against net rality as their predecessors were for it. Congressional Republicans have been working to kill the FCC’s net neutrality rules since before the FCC voted on them. The two Republican FCC commissioners have already vowed to overturn the FCC’s current net neutrality rules and other regulations. So you don’t need to read tea leaves to predict that the FCC’s net neutrality rules are not long for this world.

You might remember the term “net neutrality” from around two years ago when it was a hot button issue. It basically pertains to the treatment of the internet as a utility, in that internet providers (ISP’s) can’t give certain websites and internet services prioritization over other ones in terms of what users have access to. Without net neutrality, ISP’s could artificially throttle connections to websites and services and use that as an opportunity for profit. For example, an ISP could profit from Twitter by slowing down user access to their services and having Twitter pay them to restore or maintain that access.

This doesn’t just concern me because I cover tech on The Solitary Hideout. The end of net neutrality has its effects beyond technology – beyond the US, even. It can possibly affect the way everyone uses the internet as we know it.

There could be precedent for ISP’s in other countries to neuter their respective governments’ internet regulations as well. As far as I know, most ISP’s and telcos are extremely predatory and user-hostile because they tend to be monopolies or duopolies in the countries they operate in – my country, the Philippines, is no exception. I’d imagine they’d leap at any opportunity to turn a profit from this.

Even with consideration for its wide-ranging effects, it’s scary to think that this isn’t even among the worst of the issues people are facing (and will continue to face) during the Trump administration.