Why Privacy will trump Net Neutrality
With the recent FCC ruling on elements of Net Neutrality, the dog days of summer are witnesses to yet another chapter unfolding in this ongoing debate. Proponents of both sides will end up dissecting the FCC’s final decision line by line, deciding whether this applies to the debate writ large, or is limited to this specific instance. But out on the horizon, storm clouds are forming around a topic that will undoubtedly overshadow the current NN debate. The topic – privacy. It’s risky making these types of predictions in such a public way -it’s always there for comparison – but in this case, a straightforward reason exists in forecast this upcoming squall. Simplicity. People get it, politicians of all stripes understand it, and the mainstream media can wrap their heads around it. Whereas the debate on NN is focused on technology and its different permeations necessary to actively manage rapidly expanding networks, the technology side of privacy is quickly negated when viewed through the lens of falsification or theft of one’s own personal information.It’s far from being a new debate but with a spat of recent high-profile data breaches, the general public has rightful expressed concern. Of course with increased concern, legislators could be compelled into refreshing or creating new privacy measures to allay fears over a perceived lack of protection. What needs to be done? Principally, we need to avoid overreaction. Too often, in our haste to plug holes we rush in and unleash a whole host of unintended consequences. Secondly, we need to continually press business to recognize the importance of privacy and the necessity of implementing measures to protect it. And finally, persist with the ongoing education of consumers and how they can manage and protect their privacy. Naturally, some privacy advocates will claim that the measures above glaze over the whole issue of collecting information based on individual’s internet habits. While it is incumbent upon business and government to provide consumers with meaningful and easy accessible information on what’s being collected, unless it’s being used for duplicitous reasons, there are legitimate reasons for doing so. Records are a necessity for doing business; create an ability to provide increased customer satisfaction levels, and even create worlds of experiences and opportunities that might otherwise remain unexposed or uncreated. It will be healthy to have this debate over the possibilities and potential concerns of privacy, albeit without fear mongering. Openness to what the possibilities can entail, will continue to aid the net’s evolution. On the bright side -and at risk of being flamed for saying so – with legislative and regulatory officials turning their focus towards privacy, the whole NN debate might finally be recognized for what it truly is. A non-issue which will eventually be recognized as a mere snap shot in time of the net’s evolution.