Net Neutrality: The Cry For Freedom

Must Read

India’s International ‘Retrospective Taxation’ Regime Vis-a-Vis PCA Rulings in Vodafone and Cairn in 2020

The imposition of retrospective taxation of foreign companies doing business in India has been at the helm of controversy...

What is the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016?

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (“RERA”) is an Act of the Parliament. It seeks to protect...

Should the Exorbitant Amounts Charged for RT-PCR Tests be Refunded?

Introduction A plea has been filed in the Honourable Supreme Court of India seeking a refund of exorbitant amounts charged...

Should CCTV’s be Installed in the Police Station?

Introduction In a recent judgment, the bench led by Justice Nariman issued directions to both the state and Union Territory...

A Legal Analysis of the West Bengal Political Crisis on IPS Deputation

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has recently summoned three IPS officers of West Bengal (WB). The decision was...

Explained: Postal Ballot for NRIs

At the end of November 2020, Election Commission sent a proposal to the law ministry to amend the Representation...

Follow us

Is internet really important in our life? I know it is a very stupid question to ask but for a moment, just think about all the things you obtain through internet or all the everyday problems which internet solves. The list goes long. In the 21st century, internet has become a utility or a platform which has provided us with numerous applications to ease our life. But soon this utility might transform itself into a luxury for the rich. You read it right; internet might become a “luxury”.

The internet which you use right now gives you immense freedom. All that you have to do is to subscribe to a data plan and all the websites which exists on the internet can be accessed by you freely, without any difficulty. But did you hear about something called “net neutrality”? For those who heard of it and sent an e-mail to the TRAI, I appreciate your efforts. But for those who didn’t hear about it or heard about it but didn’t do the simple task of e-mailing or those who just ignored or just scrolled down through their newsfeed I shall tell you what it is all about.

Internet neutrality or net equality means that all the content, data, information etc. which exists on the internet must be accessible to everyone without any discrimination and when I talk about discrimination I mean the instances where your telecom company might slow down the access to a website A because they have a deal with website B so that you would be stuck with the latter. For example- Under Airtel’s scheme called “Airtel Zero“, the app firm signs a contract and Airtel provides the apps for free to its customers. The reports of Flipkart  joining the “Airtel Zero” scheme drew some negative responses and thus Flipkart pulled out of it. Similarly, a tie-up between Facebook and Reliance Communication called Internet.org provides access to certain selected internet services to Reliance Telecom’s subscribers only and has been criticized.

Recently, various debates and discussions are being generated and efforts are being made so that internet neutrality prevails in the country. Notably, these days one of the most observable sites among the social media sites is of “Save the Internet”. The non-existence of internet neutrality may have serious implications which will hinder our everyday lives as undoubtedly internet has become a crucial or indispensable part of it.

Earlier I used the term “luxury” as no net neutrality would mean that you will have to pay extra bucks to access the internet. This is how it works- if you want to have the privilege of accessing the internet, first pay for the data plan and then if you want to access a certain website, buy its plan and if you want high speed then further pay for it as well. This means that if you want to access Instagram you will have to buy its pack or if you want to access Facebook Messenger, buy another pack for it. This way your pocket will be just left with dimes.

Competition too will get affected in a serious manner, especially for the new entrepreneurs as internet provides them with a platform to spread a word about their work and in this reign of no net neutrality the dominance of the already established companies would remain intact.  Although some people say that net neutrality is not a reality, that the giants of internet dominate the market and that the small startups don’t have much of a chance, but straightforwardly accepting such sayings would be wrong. Not having a chance is another thing and not even being provided with one is another thing.

Non-existence of net neutrality would mean closed internet where the established persons and the government will have control over the content. A 2014 film named “Killswitch” argues that internet belongs to an alliance of people and not to the government or business interests; a threat to net neutrality is a threat to the democracy as this goes against the notion of freedom of speech and expression.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has put a paper on its website called “Consultation Paper for Regulatory Framework for Over the Top (OTT) Services” which states that the telecom operators are working towards such a scheme because they don’t get enough return as compared to the amount which they invest in providing infrastructure to the these apps. The TRAI had also asked for people’s opinion regarding this through Q&A method and it got one million e-mails in reply, which is by and far considered to be the biggest ever response that has been generated in the country.

Talking about the legal aspects of net neutrality, India doesn’t have any law which supports it. TRAI guidelines for the Unified Access Service license promote net neutrality but don’t enforce it. Further, the Information Technology Act, 2000 does not prohibit companies from throttling their services in accordance with their business interests. The countries which have laws regarding net neutrality are Chile, Netherlands, United States of America, and Brazil. A lot can be learnt from the laws of these countries and India should approach towards this issue seriously, otherwise to a country which has recently removed Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000, and has celebrated it, the addition of the plans against net neutrality would mean an utter defeat.

Latest News

Doctrine of Proportionality Must Adhere to Reasonableness Principal Test: Madras High Court

Young Men's Christian Association built a commercial complex and leased it without having due permission. The District Collector & Tahsildar issued a show-cause notice...

Delhi High Court Refuses To Stay Release of ‘The White Tiger’ on the OTT Platform Netflix

A plea requesting a stay on the release of the film ‘The White Tiger’ by the American producer, John Hart Jr. alleging copyright violation was rejected by the Delhi High Court on Thursday.

“Anganwadi Centers to Be Reopened Outside the Containment Zones, Which Is to Be Decided by the State”: Supreme Court

This case concerns the reopening of the Anganwadi Centers after they had been closed due to the lockdown being imposed.  Brief facts of the case This...

“Credit Facilities Being Granted by the Primary Agricultural Credit Society to the Non-Members Is No Longer Illegal”: Supreme Court

This Case concerns the dispute relating to the grant of tax exemption under Section 80P of the Income Tax Act, 1961.  Brief facts of the...

Back Wages of Labourers is a Question of Facts Depending Upon Various Factors: Gujarat High Court

The petition has been filed by workmen and employer against an award dated 23.04.2009 passed by the Labour Court, Bhuj in the case of...

WhatsApp Messages Would Have No Evidentiary Value Until They Are Certified According to Section 65b of the Indian Evidence Act: Punjab & Haryana High...

Brief facts of the case Paramjit Kaur, the proprietor of Brioshine Pharma, a licensed chemist, booked two consignments. The first consignment, on 10.06.2020 and the,...

Delhi High Court Seeks Response From Centre, RBI in PIL to Regulate Online Lending Platforms

A notice had been issued by the Delhi HC in a PIL that sought regulation of online lending platforms (Dharanidhar Karimojji vs UOI). Brief Facts: The...

“Consensual Affair” Cannot Be Defence Against the Charge of Kidnapping of the Minor, Sentence Reduced in View of Age Difference: Supreme Court

This Case concerns the appeal against the conviction under the charges of kidnapping and discussed whether the punishment was to be enhanced or not.   Brief...

Delhi HC to Municipal Corp: Paucity of Funds Not an Excuse for Non-Payment of Salaries and Pensions

The Delhi High Court ruled that the paucity of funds cannot be an excuse and pulled up municipal corporations for not paying salaries and pensions to their employees as the right to receive payment is a fundamental right guaranteed in our constitution.

US Supreme Court Reinstates Restriction on Abortion Pills

The Supreme Court of the United States granted the Trump administration’s request to reinstate federal rules requiring women to make in-person visits to hospitals...

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -