Freedom on the Internet – Aryaman Trivedi

The Internet is a vast and amazing place. We can do everything, from researching on centipede species to actually buying them on the internet. The internet has made learning easy, free and accessible for all with the multitude of webpages it has. Artistic tools available online help us express our artistic freedom at no cost at all. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow us to share our opinions and express our views with others on the internet. There are tons upon tons of great things we can do on the internet. However, it isn’t just rainbows and unicorns – Trolls, intolerance and general Toxicity infest every vestige of the internet. Everywhere we look, people use their freedom for both good and bad, but the sheer number of good things one can do absolutely dwarf the bad. Good things like memes.

Expression on the Internet

The new internet culture which has been cultivating in India in the past few years has brought around some new creative ways to express ourselves – Memes and GIFs. These can be used in the open discussions we often have on the internet – be it in Twitter’s comments section or on one of Reddit thread, often with comedic effect. After all, who doesn’t love dank memes?

Echo Chambers

Of course, there are some others who use the internet merely as an echo chamber. They surround themselves with people with similar views and completely block others of different opinions out. They and their entire communities are generally extremely intolerant of others, and in India in particular, where less then 30% of the people have decent access to the internet, the groups tend to get away with it easily. These are generally the people in big cities like Delhi and Mumbai, and are also the very same people who participate in the online social justice movements like #notinmyname and #aintnocinderella, and soon, #yesnetneutrality too.

Net Neutrality

Lately, a new threat to freedom on the internet has arisen. Net Neutrality is under attack, and it is already falling in USA. Net Neutrality is the concept that ‘Internet service providers (like Airtel and Hathaway) should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites’. This gives an equal opportunity to all websites to grow with no extra costs. Without net neutrality, we would quickly lose access to websites that our ISP doesn’t get paid to display. This would quickly limit the vast internet to a limited, controlled landscape. Fortunately, TRAI is with us on this matter, but this policy is rocky, and may change in the future. This calls for all netizens to unite and support the cause of net neutrality. After all, it is for the best for all of us.

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credit : Aryaman Trivedi

 

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