The FCC finally sealed the fate of Net Neutrality when they voted (3-2) to eliminate it. The vote rolled back provisions made by President Obama in 2015 to classify internet service providers (ISP) like public utilities. This change in designation means that the ISP's will now be free to control access to the internet in any way they please.

Much has been said about the potential negative effects that this will have on consumers and businesses. What hasn't been discussed much is those who use the internet for things other than business. The people who like to check their Facebook, post a selfie on Instagram, and/or send a Snapchat; How will their experience online change?

Does it matter?

To put it succinctly, yes it absolutely matters.

Freedom is at stake

It is often taken for granted just how free and open the internet has been until now. A place where you can start a business from scratch, create and share ideas and connect with people all over the world is something the world had never seen before. But what if the internet was no longer so free?

Those who control the internet, the ISP's, will now have the ability to block sites and funnel users to preferred content. At face value, this is a devious idea and one the public would be wholly against. But what if the move was subtle? Comcast, theoretically, could slow down their consumers access to using a site like Hulu, forcing people to go to their rival Netflix.

Comcast owns Netflix, so you see where the potential for corruption is rife.

Is this the USA or China?

This is where things start to get scary for the future. It is long been known how restrictive China's internet access is for its civilians. They live on the internet behind "The Great Firewall" that controls what is and isn't appropriate content.

Speaking out against the government is unheard of. The amount of political bashing on both sides that is seen on Facebook in the U.S. would not fly with the Communist Ruling Party

It used to be obvious when a user tried to access or post restrictive content. The content would mysteriously be deleted, or a web page would have a message saying that they have been shut down by the government.

These days, technology has made it far easier to censor without the end users knowledge.

A simple tactic is when a restricted page loads so slowly that the user gives up and goes somewhere else. It only takes a few seconds of a loading screen to completely lose a reader's interest. Manipulating sites in this manner has been a favored tool of the government.

Exporting censorship

Another sobering reality of the new internet is how international companies adapt to the new landscape. Many U.S. corporations have long been stymied by the Chinese government when trying to break into the market. China often has strict limitations and concessions that must be met before certain companies are allowed to do business within the country.

Facebook comes to mind, as they have not entered the market yet due to China's request to allow Censorship of content. While originally against it, Facebook is warming to the idea if it gets them access to China's one billion residents. Technically, China does have the right to dictate how foreign companies conduct business on their soil.

If ISP's in the U.S. were to say to Facebook that they must censor content that is critical of their company, or a certain politician or political party, Facebook might again have no choice but to play ball. This gets extremely dangerous as it is an effective method at quelling dissent.

There are even software programs with tools and updates aimed at censoring the internet without the user's knowledge.

China has been at the forefront of this technology and the U.S. might be their new biggest customer.

It will be an interesting next couple of years as the internet rapidly evolves into something the U.S. has never seen before.