id You Know? The term 'net neutrality' was coined by Tim Wu, a professor at the Columbia Law School, and first used in his paper 'Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination' in 2003.

Net neutrality, also referred to as 'Internet neutrality' or 'network neutrality', is a regulatory concept which eliminates any type of discrimination in transmission and access of content on the Internet. It is based on the principle that websites which provide content and users who access this content are equal, and nobody should be given preferential treatment at the cost of others. The advocates of net neutrality believe that the Internet should remain an open marketplace, for which it is important that the Internet service providers stay neutral.

Net neutrality -- based on the open marketplace principle -- already exists, and that's why everybody gets equal access to the Internet. In its current form, however, it is nothing more than a set of professional ethics - with no concrete legislation, and therefore no compulsion of implementation. It may not seem a problem today, but what if someone decides to do away with the ethical part tomorrow. Say, for instance, what if the broadband carriers get to decide what you get to access on the Internet? What if your service provider decides that you will be charged more if you want access to Facebook and YouTube? It would definitely be unfair, and that's where a proper net neutrality legislation would come to your rescue.

The proponents of net neutrality argue that a strong legislation would ensure that the Internet service providers do not restrict or filter the traffic to suit their vested interests. But then, it is also worth noting that such a legislation will have some issues of its own. There have been instances wherein rules and regulations have not worked the way they were supposed to. We also have quite a few examples of such rules being misused. So how are we to believe that things would be different this time around?...

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