This pan­el is mod­er­at­ed by Maris­sa Valeri who is Com­mon Cause’s dig­i­tal strate­gies man­ag­er. Pan­elists include Kim Lehmkuhl, Lau­ren Wil­son, and Andi Zeisler.

From the pan­el description:

Ear­li­er this year, a court over­turned the Fed­er­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Commission’s (FCC) com­mon sense net neu­tral­i­ty rules, which guar­an­teed the right of users to con­nect to the web­sites, blogs, and social plat­forms of their choice. Now, cor­po­rate Inter­net Ser­vice Providers (ISPs) are free to block any­thing online, for prac­ti­cal­ly any rea­son at all. So there’s noth­ing stop­ping your ISPs from cen­sor­ing your access to the blogs and orga­niz­ing tools you rely on every day. Each orga­ni­za­tion rep­re­sent­ed on the pan­el orga­nized to restore net neu­tral­i­ty, cul­mi­nat­ing in the deliv­ery of 1.1 mil­lion sig­na­tures to the Fed­er­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion in January.

The bat­tle for Net Neu­tral­i­ty faces many obsta­cles. Once issue is get­ting the pub­lic to under­stand what Net Neu­tral­i­ty means. Essen­tial­ly it means equal access to con­tent, which pro­hibits providers for giv­ing some sites the fast lane and oth­er sites the slow lane accord­ing to who pays to be on the fast lane.

Big tele­com com­pa­nies always find it cheap­er to hire lob­by­ists that work to improve the bot­tom line at the expense of Net Neu­tral­i­ty. To help fight this issue one should blog about it, write edi­to­ri­als, sup­port can­di­dates that sup­port Net Neu­tral­i­ty, and push to get the right peo­ple on the FCC who are knowl­edge­able and sup­port­ive of Net Neutrality.

One mem­ber of the audi­ence brought up the issue of poten­tial con­tent fil­ter­ing using deep pack­et inspec­tion. It seemed that the pan­elists did­n’t under­stand what he was refer­ring to. Deep pack­et inspec­tion is the process of open­ing the chunks of data that are trav­el­ing over the inter­net and inspect­ing the data con­tents. This is a tech­nol­o­gy that is used for legit­i­mate pur­pos­es such as load bal­anc­ing. How­ev­er, it could poten­tial­ly be used by ISPs to slow down or block con­tent, which would cer­tain­ly be a Net Neu­tral­i­ty issue.

Anoth­er from the audi­ence brought up an issue relat­ed to deep pack­et fil­ter­ing and how it would affect pri­vate net­works, par­tic­u­lar­ly VPNs. VPN traf­fic is encrypt­ed which would pre­vent deep pack­et inspec­tion, so does this mean VPN traf­fic would always be put in the slow lane? Cer­tain­ly a valid ques­tion if Net Neu­tral­i­ty is lost.

Anoth­er audi­ence mem­ber asked the pan­elists about how the pro­posed trade agree­ments would impact Net Neu­tral­i­ty and what their posi­tion is on it. The pan­elists respond­ed that they do not have a posi­tion on that yet and elud­ed to a bat­tle that they are hav­ing inter­nal­ly regard­ing that issue.

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