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Net Neutrality is a basic right

Net Neutrality can create new ripple in IT industry. There are many IT professionals who are protesting against the move to filter access to the web. The protesters alleged that some telecom providers were trying to divide Internet by blocking some applications and websites with the objective of extracting more money from the users. This is a violation of net neutrality and internet would become unaffordable for a large number of people. Net Neutrality is the basic of the present Internet. It accorded equal treatment for all Internet traffic enabling growth of Start-ups and new services. However, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) proposed decision to regulate services will slow down the development of the Internet. TRAI’s controversial move that endangered the privacy of over a million Internet users in India was met with extensive scrutiny. The general argument was that publicly disclosing the email IDs had made it easy for spammers to gain access to a huge database of email IDs in one go. It is the principle that all traffic on the Internet must be treated equally by Internet service providers. Those advocating Net neutrality believe all bits of data are equal, and, therefore, should not be discriminated on the basis of content, site or user. This has largely been the default mode since Internet started.

The thrill became really big after TRAI put out a 118-page consultation paper asking the public for its opinion on 20 questions, most of them about how the Internet can be regulated. Views were also sought on net neutrality. Telecom operators investing in internet service infrastructure should charge internet users to cover the costs related to that line of business. Making a hue over VoIP services offered through internet is illogical (except their personal economics). It is same like Indian postal services are trying to block courier services? Technology changes, innovative offerings create new business establishments. Trying to block net neutrality just because few business establishments are not getting the share of profits is unprofessional conduct, absurd and childish.

Bharti Airtel was the first Telecom Company to decide to charge subscribers extra for use of apps such as Skype and Viber, towards the end of last year. These apps compete with the voice and messaging services of telecom providers, and are even cheaper. There was uproar, after which Airtel stayed its decision, saying it would wait for regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) Consultation Paper on Regulatory Framework for Over-the-top (OTT) services.

People had realized the mess created by these companies in 2G scam. Now, everybody bid a very atypical rates and paradigm shift in communication due to technology like skype etc. The companies already stopped or creating hurdle for cell network from one service provider to another. Now, these companies entrench the net and maximizing the exploitation. Let us cease these efforts of unfortunate, unprofessional and corrupt regulators. According to the trade practices of the Internet service providers particularly in the segment of OTT services, it is not a mistake to charge for the app usages by the customers. However, it adversely affects the e-commerce business as browsing charges must be borne by the customer.

The strict monitoring and regulation by the Cyber arm of TRAI can be maintained while prescribing the nominal fee structure for the app usages by which there can be a no room for disputes. TRAI should draft such rules and regulations long before and maintain the status quo.

Meanwhile, over 4.2 lakh mails had been sent in support of net neutrality through the Web site. Political parties such as the Congress, political leaders such as Arvind Kejriwal and celebrities such as Shah Rukh Khan joined the bandwagon, as has the comedy group All India Bakchod through a video. All of them argue why the Internet should not be touched. TRAI was open to take comments till April 24, and counter comments by May 8.

Recently, hacker group Anonymous India has brought down TRAI’s official website after the Indian telecom regulator publicly released the list of email IDs from which it received responses on Net Neutrality. Anonymous India has posted a series of tweets claiming responsibility for bringing down website via some supposed DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attack. Moreover, the hacker group has also warned that it would soon hack the website if problem does not persist.

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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