Why the repeal of net neutrality is a good thing

I do not care about net neutrality. I hope it gets overturned, and here’s why: How many hours do you think US citizens alone have given social media companies for free? Billions upon unperceivable billions.

We capitulated to their amorphous terms of service and conditions a long time ago, freely giving them all of our data for free: our location, our buying habits, the things that bring us joy, the things we fear. They already have us locked into their business model, and we willingly submitted through our unconscious habits and normalization of overindulgence.

Why are we pretending that the Internet was ever free or open? It has always been wielded by businesses as a tool to sell a product. Just because it is “free” to visit YouTube and watch 7 hours of Vine compilations doesn’t mean that our time is not worth something; someone is always making money, and we are spending our time.

You see, the invisible cost of this “free” Internet is that we have willingly given our greatest asset, our time, something that you can’t put a price on, something that companies highly covet, to anybody and everybody with a good enough sales pitch, without a second thought. Can you think of anything else that we devote so much time toward without compensation?

So when I saw the sudden alarm toward net neutrality, I was astonished. There is such a larger problem here than what people are perceiving as a slight inconvenience in their endless consumption of content and products on the Internet.

The real problem here is that we have given Google, Amazon, Apple, etc., complete access to all of our lives, complete access to our time, and we are impossibly stuck in contract to their services. Those companies (and many, many more) have impregnated our very existence, and their presence is practically unconscious, and it is getting harder and harder to perceive every year that we continue this madness.

Even now, I have joined Facebook, a company that I have submitted much of my personal information to, which has subsequently been sold to other companies that selectively target me with their ads 24/7. Their ad algorithms are sophisticated enough to target you with ads of products that you merely discussed with your friends or family, or simply posted in passing on any other social media site. Samsung has a section in their smart TV manuals that explicitly states “avoid saying anything around this TV that you don’t want third parties to hear.”

Americans lost their head (rightfully so) over the Patriot Act, but we willingly let smart TVs, Amazon’s Alexa, and any manner of other voice-recognizing gadget listen to our every word and absolutely invade our privacy.

Net neutrality hasn’t stopped this process of invasion. Perhaps once it is overturned, it will get the majority of public attention from step 0 to step 1 in the process of understanding that the Internet was never free, and raise awareness about how easily we all gave away our information and time (which equals money) to these companies, without so much as a single outcry.

The virtue signaling might finally cease until, of course, the next easy moral target presents itself.

It is far more productive to realize the inevitability of our loss of freedom at this time and to focus on how we can persevere and commit to real, patient change.

We could use this time to reflect and realize how dangerous it is to have integrated ourselves wholeheartedly into the enterprises of consumerism via the Internet, how harmful social media validation has been to common discourse, or how we have truly already lost the keep that many still cling to: Internet freedom.

Unfortunately, it is far too popular instead to quaintly (and not so cleverly, I might add) try to convince our peers how much we really care about something without ever lifting a finger to stop it, and more insidious, never applying critical thinking to the philosophies we laud so highly.

We can’t be stopped in our relentless pursuit of spending 30 hours a week perusing Reddit or spending far too much on this year’s newest phone, even though we have a phone that works just fine, that we also still owe hundreds on, but we can get a new one for just $99/m for 12 months. .

We can’t be stopped from buying everything through Amazon. I don’t know what I would do without two day shipping, but they really should make it same day because two days is far too long of a wait for my next consumer fix. Prime is so worth it; I save so much money by spending it.

And best yet, we give Google our GPS locations every second of every minute of every day, along with our browsing history, our buying history, our personal documents, our passwords to our electronic currency (because who uses cash anymore), all for the super low price of FREE. They tailor ads for the kinds of products we have been habitualized to buy, making the choice so easy for us. Even better, they give all of this data to other companies (not for free of course) so that they can help us not make the hard choices too!

Isn’t the integration of technology into our everyday lives great? We’re so free to do and act as we please, except when YouTube decides otherwise, or Twitter doesn’t like what we believe, or Facebook sees that we’re conservative. The freedom is palpable, and it was we, the wonderful, thoughtful citizens of the United States, and the world at large, that agreed to all of this in their terms of service.

You thought I was going to blame the government, or ISPs, or Amazon/Google/etc.?

No, we’re definitely the ones at fault here. We gave them our business, signed their waivers, bought every new phone, integrated every new Echo and smart TV into our lives, all by our own will. We gave them our freedoms for free.