A fight for our internet rights

Ever wondered what is the reason behind the immense popularity of Internet? How websites like Facebook, Flipkart managed to become big names on World Wide Web? The reason has been an unbiased internet, that allows users to interact with them at their will. If it weren’t for this neutrality of Internet, perhaps such start-ups would never have been able to see the light of the day, owing to the presence of bigger online companies.

“Innovations happen when let free”. When users have freedom to visit whichever site they want, it gives developers the freedom to develop more innovative applications. Infact, the whole success of the Internet industry is based on the fact that internet service providers give them an equal access to all websites, without any kind of partiality. But what if this sense of equality gets hampered? The world would be different from what it is now.

While this growing demand of internet usage gave telecom companies a great power, innovations like WhatsApp Calling Feature posed a threat to them, as they feared it would affect their business. Such reasons were enough for telcos to believe that they should be allowed to charge extra for certain services. Also, they saw it as an opportunity to benefit from it, by sharing profits of popular applications and websites. Airtel started charging over internet packs for voice calling over Skype. Airtel launched ‘Airtel Zero’, a platform through which it granted free access of apps from developers who had signed up with the company. Other ISPs also favoured giving special access to certain websites and blocking others. It could be used by big companies to generate traffic to their websites. The big companies who could afford to pay could get benefits like a faster access, while start-ups could have users wait for a long time before their website opened slowly. TRAI had even considered allowing them to do so, but the idea met with a major protest by consumers all over the country, as it would bring doom to the world of Internet. Then TRAI launched a consultation paper with twenty questions, which were to be answered and emailed to them by 24th April, 2015 by netizens.

The whole country fought to remind TRAI that their job was to protect consumer rights, not the profit margins of telecom companies. Right to choose what you want to access, Right to an affordable Internet, and Right to equality among all websites are a few rights that could not be denied to users. By 24th April, TRAI received over 1.1 million e-mails urging it to prevent the country from a dictatorship. All the e-mails were made public after that.

The final decisions have not been declared yet, but a special report is to be given out soon. Well, we’re all hoping of being granted our basic rights as Internet Users. Till then, we have to keep emphasizing what we want, and we need to fight for it. #AapkaTimes had launched a campaign last month to support net neutrality, where students participated in a great number, and we will continue to strive for our rights.

[author image=”http://www.aapkatimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Varsha-Srivastava.jpg” ]Hi! I am Varsha Srivastava, At 19, I’m a mass communication student, and I believe that my pen is my weapon. Penning down thoughts came as an instinctive trait to me. I developed a profound interest in reading as a child. The rapidly growing scope of e-media has given wings to my childhood aspirations of becoming a writer. I aim to fly higher in the field to the point where I don’t need to give a bio, and beyond. [/author]