#MuckedUp chat Tuesday: Let's talk net neutrality
That buzz phrase "net neutrality" is back in the headlines again this week, as the Senate Intelligence Committee prepares to vote on a bill today that would allow companies to share information about web threats but simultaneously might also put net neutrality at risk. So what exactly makes net neutrality so pertinent to today's headlines -- and their audiences? Well, if you're reading this post right now, net neutrality means everything in the world to you ... and if you're a journalist, it means even more than that, and perhaps (probably?) you're already aware of the potential concerns posed by these changes. For the uninitiated, however, net neutrality -- the belief that service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally -- has been called the next frontier for the first amendment. Or as Al Franken infamously put it a few years ago, "Net Neutrality is the First Amendment issue of our time."
The validity of that claim has only grown clearer in recent months, with nearly half of all Americans reporting their reliance on the web as a source of news and information, a number that jumps to 71% for younger generations. Consequently, imagine the significance if network providers even in first-world democracies had the power to determine where subscribers could go for news, or what information could be blocked. For instance, "Verizon could strike a deal with CNN and hamper their users’ ability to access alternative news sources. Comcast could slow access to Al Jazeera, because it wants to promote its NBC news offerings," one post on FreePress.net postulated.
Still others argue that the end of net neutrality would not only "deepen the digital divide," but also undermine ingenuity by deterring non-mainstream media ventures, especially those created by or serving diverse communities. Could increased regulation further harm underrepresented views? Or is this all being blown out of proportion?
These are just a handful of questions we'd like to approach at tonight's #MuckedUp tweetchat tonight. Until then, please email or tweet me any other potential questions you'd like to tackle as a group -- then join us at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST this evening!