For this chat, we’ll look at the current state of Net Neutrality, and how social workers may be impacted.
Since 2015, the Federal Communication Commission had regulations in place to keep the internet from being anything more than a utility. On June 11, the repeal of Net Neutrality takes effect. This chat will focus on where we are now, and how social workers and the people we serve may be affected.
Why is this an issue? One perspective: only a very small number of telecommunications companies operate broadband service in the United States. This affords these companies a lot of power to handle and manipulate data as it flows through the infrastructure they control. The ACLU lists a few examples of how these companies have manipulated and censored political content prior to the establishment of Net Neutrality. After the repeal of Net Neutrality, political content not in line with a telecom company’s interest could be limited. This is not at all far-fetched: look at how Sinclair Broadcast Group has impacted the content of local news broadcasts.
Per Wired.com, among the changes that occur starting June 11: telecom companies can slow down or block content, and require cable-service like packages to access the most popular areas of the web. These outcomes, should the come to fruition, may cause further inequality of access.
For this chat, we’ll consider the following questions:
- What was Net Neutrality?
- As social workers, how do we use the web? How often do we access the web every day?
- How could the possible changes after the repeal of Net Neutrality impact our professional engagement?
- How may the people we serve be impacted?
- What action can we take going forward?
#MacroSW is a collaboration of social workers, organizations, social work schools, and individuals working to promote macro social work practice. Macro social work practice focuses on changing larger systems, such as communities and organizations. It encompasses a broad spectrum of actions and ideas, ranging from community organizing and education to legislative advocacy and policy analysis. The chats are held weekly on Twitter every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST). Click here for a list of chat partners. For information about how to participate in the #MacroSW chat, view our FAQs. For chat schedule and chat archives check out: http://macrosw.com.
ACLU. What is Net Neutrality? https://www.aclu.org/issues/free-speech/internet-speech/what-net-neutrality
Collins, K. (2017, December 14), Why net neutrality was repealed and how it affects you. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/14/technology/net-neutrality-rules.html
Finley, K. (2017, November 17), Here’s how the end of Net Neutrality will change the internet. Wired. https://www.wired.com/story/heres-how-the-end-of-net-neutrality-will-change-the-internet/
Weaver, T. (2017, December 13), What young people could lose without Net Neutrality. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/under30network/2017/12/13/what-young-people-could-lose-without-net-neutrality/#792382f14770