February 11th, 2014 is The Day We Fight Back, a day where many web-based companies come together to protest the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance of the world’s internet traffic. The Stephouse Networks team is in full support of this movement to protect the people’s right to a free, open internet experience and toward protecting the data and rights of our customers and community.
Over the past year, our internet usage and rights has been called into question repeatedly. The NSA continues to challenge and/or compromise our rights to unbridled access to a discrimination-free internet as well as your internet privacy.
Our team encourages that our communities and readers at least understand what’s going on at a basic level and suggest sharing this information with their friends and family as well as voicing their opinions on the matter with their local government.
What’s going on?
The infamous leak of NSA internet surveillance documentation by Edward Snowden creates the argument that the NSA secretly spies on the internet traffic of the entire world. This monitoring includes any and all internet traffic, including email, downloads, uploads, and even chat logs.
The Stephouse Networks team wants to make our stance on any form of internet surveillance or filtering clear: we are against it. We won’t support the NSA breaching the privacy or freedom of speech of fellow Americans.
Does this surveillance have to do with the recent FCC rulings?
The alleged NSA actions have much more to do with the unconstitutional acquisition of information via the internet, likely to preserve the security of the American people.
The recent changes to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rulings have to do with how large telecommunications carriers attempt to alter the operational aspects of internet networks towards a configuration that allows them to maximize profits.
Both of these internet-related matters attempt to hinder or infringe upon the rights and privacy of the people.
How this can affect you:
The alleged NSA actions might be in the best interests of our government, but they do not take the concerns of privacy for freedom of speech of the American people into consideration. If these reports are true, every byte of data you send to the internet is at risk of surveillance.
The government has our safety in mind, but the methodology of protecting it is unconstitutional in the eyes of many Americans, especially those in support of The Day We Fight Back.
Separately, the recent FCC Net Neutrality ruling creates a few questions in the minds of citizens about how America’s ISPs will treat the internet traffic of their customers. People are already unhappy with the oligopoly-like subscription methods that similar companies employ in the cable and satellite television markets. The strike-down of the two rules that prevent traffic discrimination opens up new methods for carriers to complicate the internet experience of its customers for the sake of profits.
What you can do:
The NSA’s surveillance allegations and the general fight to protect “Net Neutrality” are issues that could easily slip underneath America’s radar if we don’t take a moment to continue to inform our communities about them.
We encourage everyone to voice your opinions on these matters as both of these events affect the way we use the internet. Some of us might only use the internet to communicate and entertain ourselves, but many also conduct business and put food on the table with the data we create.
Through education and awareness, we can protect the open, free, and secure way in which we access the internet.
Some resources for our community
References about the NSA surveillance allegations:
- The BBC has a report on the Snowden revelations and the government’s reaction to them.
- A look by USA Today on the international community’s reaction to the NSA allegations.
Resources for a better understanding of network neutrality and the Circuit Court’s ruling:
- GigaOm’s reporting on the 2014 strike down of the FCC’s net neutrality rulings, including the full text.
- University of Southampton School of Electronics & Computer Science unbiased presentation about Network Neutrality.
- A comprehensive collection of articles about network neutrality by the man who began the discussion years ago, Professor Tim Wu of Columbia Law School.
- Wired’s focus and perspective on the actual threats of the FCC ruling outside of media hyperbole.
Also, if you want to speak out about or against this ruling with your local government representatives, please use the following links:
As always, we are here to answer any questions that we can about our internet network and how we conduct our services for our customers.