FCCs Ajit Pai wants to end Net Neutrality– The End of Critical Scholarship?
Posted on 2017-11-24
Something that has been bugging me, both with the whole GOP Tax Plan and the FCC wanting to get rid of Net Neutrality– which is largely opposed by the American people— is how both of these things put limitations on higher education and education in general.
What would an internet run by corporations look like? What does it mean for scholarship that is critical of corporations? Particularly those of media corporations, is especially mind boggling.
It seems that this administration is purposefully wanting to censor, guide, and direct the types of information– including misinformation– that is allowed into the American public. This of course, has ramifications for the types of scholarships that are heard and allowed into societal discussions. It is quite absurd that Ajit Pai can be brought onto the Fox News Business network, and lie about “positive returns” of ending Net Neutrality– when actual scholarship** says otherwise. It should be noted that Americans who identify as Republicans also largely oppose ending New Neutrality.
What real discourses can be had, when only a handful of people buy into specific internet packages, will also obviously be limited ones. I think a broader discussion about anti-intellectualism in the U.S. and attack on higher education in the U.S. needs to be had.
According to Ellen Hazelkorn, “there is an implicit social contract that balances public support, through taxation and public policy, in return for institutional autonomy.” How can higher education claim to have any autonomy in today’s climate of censored, guided, and directed information– is beyond me. The end of Net Neutrality will only make this worse.
I highly recommend everyone to watch and listen to the video below, because there’s a false narrative being spread that we’re going back pre-2015, which is simply not true and misleading: “In the very early days of the internet, when you got your internet access over phone lines, those phone lines were subject to non-discrimination rules under the same legal framework that is implicated in the 2015 open internet order. And so, that was why you were able to use your phone to call up a dial up ISP. There were thousands of ISPs, you didn’t just have to get your internet from ATT. And they weren’t able to stop you from putting a modem on your phone line.” –Kit Walsh
[Walsh is “a staff attorney at Electronic Frontier Foundation, working on free speech, net neutrality, copyright, coders’ rights, and other issues that relate to freedom of expression and access to knowledge.”]
**For more scholarly understanding on Net Neutrality I urge you to read the following:
1: It does not violate corporations free speech (if you want to make this argument)
Kruthika N.S. “ADDRESSING NET NEUTRALITY THROUGH THE LENS OF COMPELLED SPEECH.” National Law School of India Review 28, no. 1 (2016): 36-43. http://www.jstor.org/stable/44283663.
2: A nuanced discussion of Net Neutrality with examples:
Greenstein, Shane, Martin Peitz, and Tommaso Valletti. “Net Neutrality: A Fast Lane to Understanding the Trade-offs.” The Journal of Economic Perspectives 30, no. 2 (2016): 127-49. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43783710.