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Net Neutrality

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What is Net Neutrality?:

Net Neutrality means that there are no restrictions of any kind on access to content on the Web, no restrictions on downloads or uploads, and no restrictions on communication methods (email, chat, IM, etc.) It also means that access will not be blocked, slowed down, or sped up depending on where that access is based or who owns the access point(s).

What does Net Neutrality mean for the average Web user?:

When we get on the Web, we are able to access the entire Web: that means any website, any video, any download, any email. We use the Web to communicate with others, go to school, do our jobs, and connect with people all over the world. Because of the freedom that governs the Web, this access is granted without any restrictions whatsoever.

Why is Net Neutrality important?:

Growth: Net neutrality is the reason that the Web has grown at such a phenomenal rate from the time it was created in 1991 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee (see also History of the World Wide Web).

Creativity: Creativity, innovation, and unbridled inventiveness have given us Wikipedia, YouTube, Google, I Can Has Cheezburger, torrents, Hulu, The Internet Movie Database, and many, MANY, more.

Communication: Net neutrality has given us the ability to communicate with people on a personal basis: government leaders, business owners, celebrities, work colleagues, medical personnel, family, etc., without restrictions.

Is Net Neutrality available worldwide?:

No. There are countries whose governments restrict their citizens’ access to the Web for political reasons (see Google's China ultimatum: no more censorship, or we are out of here, How to unblock blocked sites, and How The World Wide Web Has Changed Society - Web Accessibility).

Is Net Neutrality in danger?:

Possibly. There are many companies that have a vested interest in making sure that access to the Web is not freely available. These companies are already in charge of most of the Web’s infrastructure, and they see potential profit in making the Web “pay for play”. This could result in restrictions on what Web users are able to search for, download, or read.

What would happen if Net Neutrality were to be restricted or abolished?:

Net neutrality is the foundation of the freedom that we enjoy on the Web. Losing that freedom could result in consequences such as restricted access to websites and diminished download rights, as well as controlled creativity and corporate-governed services.

How can I support net neutrality efforts?:

Sign a petition at Save the Internet, contact your representative at We Are The Web, and see if your connection is being blocked or restricted at Measurement Lab.

Net Neutrality - How Does It Affect You?:

If you're on the Web for anything - surfing, email, research - then Net Neutrality is an issue that affects you.

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