Net neutrality: Keeping the Internet safe and accessible for all

Lo, everyone! Back on October 29, 1969, that two-letter greeting was the first message sent over ARPANET, the predecessor to the World Wide Web. Today, on July 12, 2017, people from around the globe are coming together for a day of action to fight for net neutrality. The principle of net neutrality states that all Internet traffic should be treated equally, but those who control the transmission of that data have been fighting for the right to place their preferred data in the fast lane and leave data they don’t like in a traffic jam. We here at AgileBits care quite a lot about data, and while we’re glad your sensitive data is safely locked away, we think the data we want to share on the Internet should remain accessible to everyone.

We all use 1Password a little differently, but one thing we all have in common is we want to keep the data we store safe and private. We don’t know what data you have stored in 1Password and we don’t want to know. If you want to store your logins to every Justin Bieber fansite on the Internet, you’re free to do so and we’ll be none the wiser (plus, we would never judge you anyway – that wouldn’t be very Canadian). We should expect no less of our internet service providers (ISPs).

The Internet was built on the principle of free access to information. If net neutrality ends, ISPs would become the gatekeepers of the Internet. They could track where your data is coming from and where it’s going and could throttle your connection based upon what they find. You shouldn’t be sent back to the 1990s just because you’re browsing one of their competitors’ websites or because you or the website owner didn’t pay for special treatment. If the developer of your very favorite Belieber website can’t afford to pay the gatekeeper, you should still be able to check out the latest fanfiction at the speeds you pay for and free of any snooping or judgment.

Unlike your ISP, we don’t want to know what sites you visit and we purposefully designed 1Password and features like Watchtower to keep us in the dark. 1Password accounts also use two-secret key derivation to protect your encrypted data from sneaky spies. These Secrets are never shared with us or anyone else – it’s your data, after all! ISPs should respect your privacy, too, and provide the Internet service you pay for at the speeds you pay for, no matter where your online adventures take you.

If you’d like to learn more about what you can do to help protect net neutrality and ensure an open Internet for all, check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s action center or join Fight for the Future’s Battle for the Net. Together, we can let governments and ISPs around the world know that the Internet should be safe and accessible for everyone.

2 replies
  1. WP Knabe
    WP Knabe says:

    “all Internet traffic should be treated equally,” has never been the case and I hope never will be the case. There should be priorities. I don’t want my Netflix videos suffering because all traffic is treated equally. It simply doesn’t make sense.

    Plus, the real issue isn’t equal treatment, but the regulation of the Internet. Since it’s inception the internet was classified as a data service, but proponents of net neutrality want it regulated under Title II, which was designed for regulating railroads.

    I think you are well intentioned, and I love 1Password, but part ways with you on this.

    Reply
    • Kate Sebald
      Kate Sebald says:

      Hey there WP! I don’t want my Netflix videos suffering (or, worse yet, my HBO – it’s Game of Thrones Day, after all!), but that’s one thing net neutrality is designed to protect. ISPs see data-hungry services like HBO and Netflix as potential cash cows. These services depend on ISPs to deliver their content to consumers and we’re not going to pay $9.99/month for Netflix at 56k speeds. I know 56k is likely an exaggeration (or at least I hope it is), but if ISPs get to slow down Netflix’s content just because they’re a data-heavy service or because the ISP has a competing service, that hurts us all. I know there are priorities as a matter of practicality, but it shouldn’t be up to the ISPs to set those priorities based on the content itself or its source.

      Since it’s inception the internet was classified as a data service, but proponents of net neutrality want it regulated under Title II

      You’re absolutely right that the 2015 Open Internet Order often cited by proponents of net neutrality sought to reclassify broadband as a public utility, which does, indeed, include railroads. Of course, telephone companies, power companies, water companies, and some others are also considered public utilities. Telephone companies, in particular, are not terribly unlike broadband providers. It may not be the silver bullet some claim it is and the U.S.’s unfortunate tendency to re-purpose old laws rather than writing clearer and more tailored new ones is not something I’m personally fond of, but that’s a debate better had over a cup of coffee than in a blog comment thread. 😉

      For our part, since we spend so much of our time on the Internet and rely on it to help make our customers more secure, our hope is that governments around the world will listen to consumers and make sure that ISPs don’t harm consumers by increasing the cost of providing the online services we use every day with Internet toll roads. After all, that cost is likely to be passed onto us, and I’d bet I’m not alone in thinking we all fatten the pockets of ISPs quite enough each month already.🙂

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