Network neutrality is the principle that states that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must treat all internet communications equally, and not discriminate or charge differently based on user, content, website, platform, application, type of equipment, source address, destination address, or method of communication. With net neutrality, ISPs may not intentionally block, slow down, or charge money for specific online content. Without net neutrality, ISPs may prioritise certain types of traffic, meter others, or potentially block traffic from specific services, while charging consumers for various tiers of service. Twitter, Facebook and other major websites too were against the idea of scrapping the net neutrality reforms sanctioned under former the United States’ president Barack Obama in 2015.
Broadband providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T are prohibited under the rules laid by the American Civil Liberties Union from halting, slowing, or otherwise tampering with the transfer of any data, except for legitimate network management purposes such as easing congestion or blocking spam. A novel Android app for detecting traffic differentiation in mobile networks was released in 2015 by the assistant professor in the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University, David Choffnes. He elucidated the ins and outs of net neutrality and opined on the impacts of its loss on consumers and internet companies alike.
He explained how the data is transferred via bit-size units of data called packets and backers of net neutrality tells that ISPs have no business deciding how packets should be treated.It is least concerned with their content, unless they are laboring to block the spread of spam, say, or malware. David quoted, “Many of the potential harms could be fixed in the free market if consumers voted with their wallets and abandoned the providers that give us a gated internet.”He feels that it is pivotal to ensure that internet works well for all participants, from consumers to ISPs to content providers.