Net neutrality has been a hot topic in the United States in recent weeks. The frenzy occurred during California’s wildfires when firefighters from across the country, and in some cases from other countries, went to California to try and get the blaze under control.
Verizon, the wireless service provider for California firefighters, decided that it was time to throttle the wireless connection of firefighters.
The move, illegal during natural disasters, was made worse when firefighters contacted Verizon’s customer service and were told they would need to upgrade their plan. Verizon claims that the department went over the allotted data cap, but Verizon states that net neutrality had nothing to do with the company’s decision to throttle the firefighters’ wireless connection.
Customer service refused to restore speeds, which were so slow that they made key communication impossible, until the fire department purchased a high-speed plan.
Multiple states have decided to bring a lawsuit with the FCC to remove the FCC’s decision to end net neutrality.
The fire chief for the county of Santa Clara claims that the throttling impeded the department’s ability to provide emergency services and crisis-response during the fires.
California officials decided to fight back, passing a net neutrality bill that overrides the FCC’s net neutrality laws. Lawmakers successfully passed a bill that guarantees equal and full access to the Internet, becoming the fourth state to do so since the FCC rolled back Obama’s FCC rules.
Israel’s net neutrality laws were passed in 2011, and while vague, they do provide net neutrality in mobile broadband. The laws do not allow web hosting to be throttled.
Wireline providers have to meet the same standards following a 2014 amendment to the bill.
Data caps, paid prioritization, peering and tiered pricing have all vague definitions under the bill, so there is room for issues in the future.
But the main difference between Israel and the United States’ stance is that Israel’s lawmakers want to do the right thing.
MKs nearly passed into law internet censorship rules that would have given the state the power to block website content. This power is a very dangerous turn for any country because the government will have full control over what you see and can access online.
Knesset members were set to vote the measure into law, and it would have allowed the state to block portions or entire websites at will. Reports indicate that members didn’t realize how far-reaching the bill would be if allowed to pass into law.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to take it upon himself to remove the bill from Knesset’s agenda. Times of Israel helped push this decision in an effort to protect freedom of speech.
The United States’ Trump Administration may not do the same. Trump has repeatedly questioned freedom of speech on his Twitter account, and he has said that the United States should control the Internet. He has continually used terrorism as a tool to help push censorship and control of the Internet, something that Netanyahu has gotten right so far.