Net Neutrality Rules (Source Analysis)

Since the creation of the internet, the flow of information and content, has been struggled over by large companies, ISP providers, and the government. Thus due to this conflict, many have taken to the principle of net neutrality, a principle focusing around treating all content, sites, platforms, and information on the internet equally. The one fear most have who support net neutrality, is that if the internet is not open and free, it would be artificially skewed by telecom companies who would limit competition in the internet by imposing a tiered system. The tiered system would consist of those who would pay for priority, creating an artificial scarcity of competition between competitors, therefore limiting the amount of content that flows from the net, to the users. In other words, ISP’s would have the ability to limit content that usually flows freely to users, and would start to cherry pick certain websites or content, while also being able to limit the speeds at which this limited content is able to flow from the competitors to the users, based upon the paid priority and discrimination. The other point that net neutrality is opposing, is discrimination based on protocol, IP address, and favoring private networks over public ones. The FCC has debated and been in court over net neutrality, and attempted the FCC’s 2010 Order which was intended to prevent broadband Internet service providers from blocking or interfering with traffic on the Web. The Open Internet Order was generally designed to ensure the Internet remained a level playing field for all, although since the FCC’s rules prohibited wired ISPs from blocking and discriminating against content, while allowing wireless ISPs to discriminate against but not block websites. In its January 2014 ruling, the court said that the FCC used a questionable legal framework to craft the Open Internet Order and lacked the authority to implement and enforce those rules. Although another ruling by the FCC will be taking place at february 26, 2015, and most supporters of net neutrality are hopeful that the internet they are trying to protect will come about from this ruling.

So because net neutrality is such a huge debating topic of this year and the previous, many articles and papers have been written over this subject attempting to to explain or persuade people to pay attention or just be informed about what is going on. The article that has been linked is a opinion page article written by Joe Nocera from the New York times, presenting his viewpoints and claims about net neutrality. The journalist Joe Nocera, presents the subject of net neutrality in a opinionated manner, by his question “Is there anybody out there who opposes net neutrality?”. This statement clearly initiates a standpoint that Joe is stating the audience who is reading this article are either, already clearly on the side on net neutrality and are merely reading this to further enforce their stand on the subject at hand, or arbitrarily stating the minute opposing side to the argument that is pre-evaluated to where he is stating his own obvious standpoint on the subject. Of course being that the article in based on the New York times Opinion pages, and the articles are meant to be written in a biased manner, depending on the journalist who is working on the article and the article subject at hand. We can still point out that this source does have a major bias when it comes to presenting the subject of net neutrality. Although even with a bias, Jose Nocera provides his article in an ethical manner, where he presents his points on why he believes if anyone opposes net neutrality, while allowing the evidence backing up his claims be linked to videos and different articles that support his claim. The evidence from the links, amount to a video of President Barack Obama, publicly announcing his support for net neutrality, a article from Comcast that openly agreed with previously said video, and a Wall Street Journal, discussing about a compromise by Chairman Wheeler over net neutrality, and the overall power that is to be given to large companies, and ISP providers. Joe article consists of him dissecting each source, starting with Barack Obama’s video of his support and the stance that needs to be taken towards ISP providers like Comcast and AT&T, where paid prioritization is an issue, along with reclassifying ISP providers to being public utilities, allowing for more regulations. He finishes off the article with his last source, of the compromise made by Chairman Wheeler, and how many supporters of Net neutrality did not think it went far enough with regulations, and the ISP’s thinking it did went too far, before ending the aritcle with his own comments on why net neutrailty would be beneficial to us all. Thats good and all that this article knows whats it talking about, and has others sources and evidence to back it up, but does the article have any legitimacy? Coming that the article is published by the New York times, a slightly liberal biased news organization, so some bias has to taken into account when one is reading one of their articles. Yet, at the same time, this is the new york times we are talking about, a renowned news organization that has been here in the United States since 1851, and won over 114 Pulitzer Prizes over its lifespan. There is no arguing that the organization backing this article is probably the one of the best, when it comes to obtaining information from a news outlet, the New York times are and have been quite a responsible party that has provided enough to be a reputable source. Although as previously stated, because this article is part of the opinion pages, more bias is emphasized as opinion pages pretty much allow the journalist to express their personal thoughts on the specific subject, yet still have to be at least be justified opinions, where one has to back up ones claims with at least a bit of evidence. The problem with this type of article though is that being an opinionated article, it has most of the information and evidence backing the claims made by an opinionated person’s claims, being found elsewhere, when Joe is stating his viewpoints on net neutrality and giving supporting evidence to his claim to people who support net neutrality. This makes it so that even though his claims are backed up by sufficient evidence from credible sources, Joe’s article’s is only filled with general information that is only a brief over the subject. The information is too general and does not go into very much depth, yet contains some factors that a newer audience member would have to do research on like title II or FCC’s order 2010, and the telecommunications act, since there is no clear explanation in the article of what those are. It is quite certain this article was intended for people who already know or are very up to date on net neutrality and are reading it to simply prove or confirm their opinions on the subject.

So can this article be of use as a credible source when needed? For research purposes, yes the article can be a credible source even though it is an opinionated article, the information on net neutrailty is overall true, although it should be noted that the linked videos and articles from the original article would serve much better sources as the core information that the article is trying to convey is contained within them. This is because Joe’s opinion article is more of a gateway source, where even though it’s claims and statements can be backed up, one would rather use the articles and videos provided by Joe like the video from Obama, or the Comcast article as a solid source or introductory source to net neutrality. All in all if one simply needs a supporting source with many other sources connected with it, Joe’s article would be a great choice. It also has been updated steadily due to the approaching voting date for the FCC on February 26, 2015, so go check them out if your interested.

Jason Quach

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