Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. For instance, under these principles, internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content. The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003, as an extension of the longstanding concept of a common carrier, which was used to describe the role of telephone systems. A widely cited example of a violation of net neutrality principles was the Internet service provider Comcast's secret slowing ("throttling") of uploads from peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P) applications by using forged packets. Comcast did not stop blocking these protocols, like BitTorrent, until the FCC ordered them to stop. In another minor example, The Madison River Communications company was fined US$15,000 by the FCC, in 2004, for restricting their customers' access to Vonage, which was rivaling their own services. AT&T was also caught limiting access to FaceTime, so only those users who paid for AT&T's new shared data plans could access the application. In July 2017, Verizon Wireless was accused of throttling after users noticed that videos played on Netflix and Youtube were slower than usual, though Verizon commented that it was conducting "network testing" and that net neutrality rules permit "reasonable network management practices". Research suggests that a combination of policy instruments will help realize the range of valued political and economic objectives central to the network neutrality debate. Combined with a strong public opinion, this has led some governments to regulate broadband Internet services as a public utility, similar to the way electricity, gas, and the water supply are regulated, along with limiting providers and regulating the options those providers can offer. What would a closed and policed Internet look like to a US citizen? Well for one your activity would be tracked by your ISP, forcing those who value their privacy to utilize VPN services and possibly make their way onto TOR to surf anonymously. Your ISP would have full access to your usage and be able to resell the data to anyone they want without your permission. Sites that you would normally visit would be either throttled to the point to where they were not able to connect or at a very slow pace while other services and sites would get top traffic priority. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) will vote on December 14th as to whether or not to eliminate the rules put in place by the Obama administration to provide a safer and more privacy-friendly Internet. While this vote to dismantle the rules looks to be inevitable there is still time to make your voice heard. So what can you do now? You can sign many of the petitions floating around the Internet to stop the Net Neutrality vote, or even one better write, email, or call your Congressman/Senator immediately protesting the dismantling of the Net Neutrality rules. FlyData being a US-based company stands firmly against the dismantling of the Net Neutrality rules. We believe in an open, free, and privacy-friendly Internet and so should you. Please join us in the battle to maintain our freedoms on the open Internet. You have a voice, now it's time to let it be heard! It's up to you to take action, join us!
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