A government report on net neutrality is now seeking your feedback. You can send comments starting today to August 15. The report is meant to help shape the government's policy on net neutrality, the principle that all content on the internet must be treated equally. This means Internet service providers and others should not be gatekeepers, whether by blocking some content or offering at slower speed than others.
Here are 5 points in today's report, prepared by the Department of Telecom, that appear causes of concern for a document that says it supports net neutrality.
1. You might have to pay for Skype and WhatsApp calls in India
While the report says it supports net neutrality, it also says that voice calls - such as Skype or WhatsApp calls - over the Internet should be regulated. The DoT recommends being "liberal" with International calls, but says domestic calls need to be regulated; these regulations could include introducing minimum tariffs
2. Chatting on WhatsApp and other apps is still protected by Net Neutrality
According to the DoT report, there will be no regulation for international calls, or for text messaging applications like WhatsApp. There will also be no regulations required for regular apps, so your social networks like Facebook and Twitter will also be unaffected.
3. Zero rating (free Internet) is allowed but Facebook's Internet.org is not
Zero rating is a system where the networks make access to websites free for consumers. The data could be paid for by the sites being used, or a third party like Facebook. The report however says that content and application providers can't be gatekeepers. Facebook's Internet.org was offering free access to select websites, but the report says that while this could be allowed if done by a network provider like Airtel, an application like Facebook isn't allowed to do this.
4. Your business network won't be affected
The report also noted that managed services are a necessary requirement for businesses and enterprises, and exceptions may be made for the treatment of such services in the context of net neutrality. This means that enterprise networks won't be affected, and all your business tools will continue working.
5. National security trumps all.
Security is paramount, the report states, and therefore the government should be able to intercept all traffic.