OPINION | Open Internet is a Utopian Myth
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OPINION | Open Internet is a Utopian Myth

OPINION | Open Internet is a Utopian Myth

Image Attribute: Aram Bartholl - arambartholl.com

By Rahul Guhathakurta

The Internet is one heck of a kind weapon in the age of digital renaissance and by keeping it open, is like a series of delay-action bombs which can incept ideas and change the way the governments have ruled the various geopolitical landscape since World War II. In fact, the change is happening as we happen to speak and the bomb is ticking towards the countdown zero.

First of all, the internet was not meant to be an open ecosystem at the first place. It always required a user to be connected through a terminal access system and explore the content within the dominion of information which has been provided under webmaster's protocol. Just like any biological evolution, the internet too got into similar kind of evolution but the only difference is the whole process is going through a time warp which resulting into various kind of iteration and mutation, completely based on user's experiences. Various technological advances have given Internet Service Providers (ISPs) more power than earlier to assess the information going through their systems and to deal with the related activities in new ways, including accelerating data movements from a few websites or applications and easing off others.

The Fight is between Content Publishers and Content Aggregators: 

There are serious issues pertaining towards Google, Facebook and others regarding utilization of news publisher's online contents. Numerous content distributors are seeking to redesign the principles of ownership as a feature of a normal framework of copyright arrangement.On the off chance, if these European tenets are affirmed, Google might inevitably need to pay news publishers and magazines for using their contents at whatever point connections to their substance are indicated on Google's European search engines. Similar kind of copyright protection at origin have been passed by few European nations, however, it has backfired against the news publishers and distributors. In Germany, Google expelled numerous local news links from its dedicated news aggregated pages, which prompted a fall in the online readership of various newspapers. Eventually, the publishers got buckled and waived up any potential charges.

The Fight between Telecom/Internet Service Providers and Internet Oriented Service Providers: 

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigation revealed a startling fact about Comcast, intentionally slowing down its clients data transfer speed for various legal document sharing services including VoIP services and favors its own particular gushing feature administration over contenders like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime; Similarly, AT&T restricted Skype over the iPhone for a considerable length of time and disabled Apple's FaceTime calling feature in light of the fact that they contended with AT&T's own product portfolio; and the predominant internet service providers over wireless networks obstructed Google's versatile payment terminal to boost their own particular exclusive mobile-based payment services. As to paid prioritization, Verizon has stated in government court that without open Internet rules it would seek after paid prioritization of services based upon bargains.These arrangements as of now exist universally and there is an unmistakable financial impetus for the high data transporters to import the revenue to the shores of United States.

The Fight is between Laws of Usage and Rights of Usage: 

Ensuring the survival of Open Internet is a top priority for many countries in terms of economy as the organizations of all shapes and sizes mostly cooperate with their clients on the web. But, the very survival will over depend on Laws based upon Intellectual Properties, Copyrights, Patent, Content Authentication, Terms of Usages etc. which will eventually gobble up the of various 'Rights of Usage' on the grounds of national security and people's safety  - a thriving example is China which has deployed various types of extreme censorship measures for its people with respect to the internet infrastructure being used in the mainland and the complete opposite example is the propagation of Arab Spring through social media which eventually brought down multiple governments across the Middle East and Maghreb regions. Both the scenarios have provided us with the extreme platform of having an Open Internet and Not having an Open Internet through an authoritative point of view. By studying both the cases, authorities need to draw a thin red line which should provide a valid framework to differentiate the tolerance levels of the system by clearly defining the acceptable deviation factors.

Current Objective: 

Winning the fight for having an Open Internet which would merely ensure that all traffic should be treated equally – a feature of the Internet since its inception – stands to be perennial in nature. These rules are key for protecting market access for all end users,  including various intermediaries (like Google, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Amazon, Flipkart etc.) who rely on the Internet to serve consumers, and for preventing ISPs from controlling the speech and content which their customers post and access online. At one point, Intermediaries will be provided with an option by ISPs to join their Free Data Program like it happened in the case of Flipkart's onboarding with India's Airtel Zero, however, Flipkart pulled out of Airtel deal amid the backlash. But, Intermediary companies should think twice before mortgaging their consumer's freedom of choice to a third-party objective.

The Future: 

As we proceed into the future, the net accessibility will become easier but its content will get highly regulated by governments, news publishers, content aggregators, ISPs and all those who consider themselves to be part of the system. That is eventually, the last bastion of free speech and the mother of all other free things will die a silent death in a very predictable format and evolve into a 'Loch Ness' monster which will monitor your every digital movement irrespective of your geographical location. These very data will be crunched round the clock and an actionable intelligence report will be generated. This will further produce actionable defensive and offensive plans which will be deployed to manage and provide necessary safeguards to the interests of the government and multinational companies. And, Tend not to forget - 'Loch Ness' is still a Utopian Myth, so is the 'Open Internet'., tread wisely.

About The Author:

Rahul Guhathakurta is the Founder & Curator of IndraStra Global and can be reached at his Linkedin Profile, ResearcherID: K-4094-2015