Protecting the plurality and diversity of information is fundamental to securing the right to freedom of expression for all. Unfortunately, they are under threat by moves to end “net neutrality” – the principle that those controlling the internet infrastructure should not interfere or discriminate between the types of data that travel along it.
The principle of net neutrality protects consumers’ rights to access the content, applications, services and hardware of their choice. Without this neutrality, the plurality and diversity of voices on the internet could be stifled, as internet service providers (ISPs) would be allowed to use their control of internet infrastructure to block content, or prioritise or slow down access to certain applications or services, based on their own interests.
Ending net neutrality brings other threats to the right to freedom of expression too. The technology that would be used by ISPs to differentiate between different types of data could easily be used to look at the content of that data, invading the privacy of internet users and creating a chilling effect online.
#TeachTheWeb are organising “Maker parties” around the world to help people understand the threats posed by ending net neutrality. Click here to find out more or join a party.
ARTICLE 19 is an active member of Web We Want, a movement that aims to strengthen public discussion and public ownership of the internet in order to safeguard its position as an essential platform for freedom of expression.