Net Neutrality in the US dies today (June 11, 2018): What does this mean for you? Should you even be concerned if you don’t live in the US?
Politics on Wololo? What has this website come to… Don’t worry, this is a one-off article because I think its subject is likely to interest all homebrew/console hacking lovers around the world. Let’s face it, who likes having their totally legitimate ROM downloads (of games they already own, of course) throttled? 😉
What is Net Neutrality? Why care about it?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, it is certain that you at least heard the term Net Neutrality at least once. In a nutshell, Net Neutrality was a form of protection guaranteed in the US by the FCC that disallowed ISPs (the company that provides your Internet connection) to selectively throttle your internet connection or force you to pay extra to use certain websites/online services.
Last December, under a Republican party (Trump’s party) dominated FCC, this protection was killed off by the ‘Restoring Internet Freedom Order’ and that order is officially in force today!
Leaving the technicalities behind, let’s see how this could eventually affect the common American internet user and more specifically the homebrew lover, gamer and console hacker:
- Your ISP could decide to throttle certain websites and services so its or its allies services load faster.
- Prices for your normal internet usage may eventually rise since ISPs can now make you pay to use certain websites. You might end up having to opt in various bundles, such as one that allows social media sites or online gaming to work, which could increase your monthly internet costs and complicate your internet agreement.
- As websites that you find your favourite game ROMs and homebrew on are unlikely to be friends with big ISPs, console hacking and retro-gaming could become an affair that involves much slower download speeds!
- Some websites that console makers, such as Sony and Nintendo, determine undesirable (such as hacking websites like Wololo, GBATemp and Hackinformer) could eventually become inaccessible without paying extra if the console makers have enough influence with your ISP
Please do note that this affects US residents ONLY as this order has no legal power outside the US’ borders! Obviously, the above won’t happen immediately but it could take months or even years to happen.
Should I care if I don’t live in the US? What can I do to get Net Neutrality back?
As it is right now, those living outside the USA don’t have to worry too much just yet BUT if the dismantling of Net Neutrality is successful in the US, other countries may opt to follow suit. Before thinking that meddling with our precious internet is a US-only thing, remember that ACTA had support by some lawmakers in the EU, Japan and many other countries!
If you’re a US citizen/resident and wish get your internet freedom back, you can do the following:
- Send an e-mail to your local representatives and show them that you’re concerned about what the FCC has done
- Vote for legislators that are against the repeal of net neutrality in upcoming elections
- Sign local petitions about the matter to tell your state government that you want state legislation to bring Net Neutrality back.
Hopefully, this article helped you understand what the internet has been babbling about for the last few months and how concerned you should be! For more in-depth information, check the link below.
Note: This article was written by a European (i.e myself) who is not directly impacted by the subject at hand!