Now that the FCC has rolled back regulations ensuring Network Neutrality in the United States, we all need to understand the implications and what we can do to protect ourselves.
At a high level, Network Neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and the internet backbone should provide data like a utility provides water, gas or electricity. You can use it for anything you want, and the provider can’t charge more for certain brands of appliances or for uses they don’t like. We believe that the internet should treat all internet traffic of the same type in the same way, that there should not be any pricing advantage given to certain companies or sources, and that internet communications should be free from corporate snooping or alteration.
The recently reversed Network Neutrality regulations had classified broadband providers as “telecommunication services” or “common carriers” which are not allowed to discriminate based on the source or destination of the traffic. That did nothing to prevent snooping or modification of your traffic. In fact, ISPs have a long history of doing just that.
VPNs like Anonymizer can protect against all these kinds of ISP abuse. The encrypted link between you and Anonymizer prevents your ISP from seeing what sites or services you are visiting, so they can’t degrade performance on that basis. At the same time, the encryption ensures that your ISP can’t access or modify your web traffic.
Effectively, using a VPN allows you to enforce your own personal Network Neutrality no matter what decisions your government or ISP may make.