Donald Trump’s election as the 46th President of the United States was a shocker to many. Like the proverbial cat with 9 lives, Trump was able to navigate through a tough campaign, jumping from one controversy to the other and seemingly getting away with all! As president, he has gone ahead to implement some policies and promises he made during the campaign period. And although he’s been at the White House or less than 100 days, Trump seems ready to continue with his bold, even divisive policies. From canceling the NAFTA trade agreement, to the immigration ban, repealing Obamacare, to mention but a few. Another interesting front that is inevitable will be Trump’s attempt to confront the media, free press, all the while calling them ‘Fake news’. In this day and age, the free press is intertwined with the internet and there are chances Trump will attempt to limit these.
Top on the watch list is internet neutrality, and the almost radical way of governance from the Trump administration appears to be a threat. The neutrality of the internet allows for all users to exercise their free speech, and internet providers to provide open networks without any discrimination.
With internet neutrality in its second anniversary, doubts arise if it will survive the Donald Trump. Here are ways how Donald Trump might kill the internet;
- FCC Appointment;
One of the achievements of the Obama administration was to ensure that the US keeps pace with internet neutrality. After the new administration came in, Donald Trump appointed to the single most powerful internet regulatory board in the world, FCC, Ajit Pai as its chairman. Mr. Ajit was publicly and vocally opposed to former President Obama’s internet policies, or of the US being part of internet neutrality.
The Obama presidency took six years to implement internet neutrality effectively, and it is on the verge of being stagnated. Tom Wheeler, former chairman of the USA’s FCC, was championing the access to the open internet. Immediately after his appointment, Mr. Ajit closed the inquiry tasked with the implementation of the net neutrality policy in the US, which inevitably affects the entire world.
- Private Interests
By taking control of the FCC, Mr. Trump has the upper hand in forcing in the Republican favored policies, most of which that will benefit major phone and cable companies in the USA. Sadly, this could be at the expense of the consumers in marginalized communities, not just in America but the entire world as well.
According to Malkia Cyril, the 2016 recipient of the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award, the Trump administration’s telecommunications policies that carry the task of closing the internet in particular areas could pose severe and savage consequences for people and communities when it comes to internet freedom.
- Sponsored Data Plans
The partial enforcement of the net neutrality policies will lead to some multinational telecommunications controlling what information is available on the internet. Sponsored data plans enable companies to sponsor content on the internet. These sponsored data plans gravely undermine the core tenets of the neutrality of the internet.
With remarks made by Trump on closing the internet, companies offering sponsored data plans are on the rise and this will leave too much power in the hands of few people who will control how services connect to the internet.
- Unfair Competition
A few telecommunications corporations control a big percentage of the content available on the internet, with a majority of them based in the USA. Statements from Donald Trump direct to the ability of these corporations to erect pay walls on the internet for their content yet giving their users access to related content.
They would disadvantage smaller companies that lack the financial muscle to negotiate for inclusion in the sponsored data circles, despite providing quality content. With control of the internet, these corporations charge less for their content but to gain access to content from viral companies; the user will have to pay hefty prices.
The unfair competition leads to reduced desire to pay for expensive content, thus, killing off smaller companies paving the way for the monopolization of the internet. This will affect all the startups that have revolutionary ideas from getting a platform to showcase the future.
- Cap Innovation
The internet is the testing ground for new apps, systems, programs and software. With the end of net neutrality, startups will have to seek permission to access the internet to run their products and services. This will curtail the growth of new companies and slow down the frequency of innovation.
Developing countries where there is an increase in technology incorporation are square on the target for locations that Donald Trump wants to close the internet, especially Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.
This will force the affected countries to wallow back into the dark ages. As noble as the idea of fighting ISIS and other terrorist groups who recruit via the internet could be, it will cause more harm than good. This is also a way to curtail development and in this way, enforce tyrannical control on the affected regions.