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How Facebook, Google will kill small websites under the blanket of Net neutrality

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By Harshmeet Singh

Of the few remaining things in the world that do not discriminate among people, Internet occupies the top spot. Net neutrality lies at the very framework of the Internet. In raw terms, net neutrality simply means that all your websites or data would be treated equally by the ISP, without giving any special preference to a particular website or service.

What’s the harm in taking away net neutrality?

Imagine a scenario where your internet data pack is only applicable to a few websites, and you are required to shell out an extra amount for the data consumed on YouTube and Skype. As absurd as it may seem, this is what some major companies are vouching for.

Forms of net neutrality in developed nations  

In most of the developed nations, where internet speeds are considerably higher and consistent, net neutrality is about all the websites and apps being equally accessible, without any special treatment being given to anyone. The opposition to net neutrality is backed up by a number billion dollar companies who can afford to pay the ISPs to ‘fast-track’ their websites in comparison to their competitors. For instance, only those shopping websites would be given the ‘fast lane’ by the ISP which have paid an extra fee. While all the other competitors would be pushed towards ‘slow lane’. This could lead to market monopoly and shrinking of options for the customers.

Net neutrality in India

In countries like India, where internet speeds are comparatively slower, there are no ‘fast lanes’ as such. Here, net neutrality takes the form of extra charges for select services. For instance, in December last year, Airtel floated a plan to charge extra for Viber and Skype calls, refusing to accommodate the data usage from these apps into the usual data packs. After facing strong reactions from the consumers as well as the Government authorities, Airtel decided to defer its plans. Surprisingly, TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) is yet to frame any laws against violation of net neutrality.

Who’s supporting it anyway?

It isn’t difficult to decipher who would be the biggest gainer if net neutrality is taken away. The major ISPs, such as AT & T are pulling together all their resources to trash net neutrality. Why? Because they stand a chance to earn a fortune after the demise of net neutrality! The big ISPs would be treated with millions of dollars from the companies to fast-track their apps and websites.

The major online companies, who have the capacity of shelling out money to kill the competition from newer competitors, also favour the campaign against net neutrality. It would give them a set platform to make good use of their money power and gain monopoly in the market.

Whose idea is it though?

The Chairman of Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Tom Wheeler, first came out with an idea of trashing net neutrality and giving internet into the hands of major ISPs such as Verizon and AT & T. After strong nation-wide protest across the US, the FCC, in February 2015, upheld net neutrality, with Wheeler saying “This is no more a plan to regulate the Internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech. They both stand for the same concept.”

 

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Google Honours Raja Ram Mohan Roy With a Doodle

Roy took a keen interest in European politics and followed the course of the French Revolution

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Google Honours Raja Ram Mohan Roy With a Doodle.
Google Honours Raja Ram Mohan Roy With a Doodle. Pixabay

Google on Tuesday celebrated the 246th birth anniversary of renowned social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy recognised as the “Father of the Indian Renaissance”, who paved the way for a modern India.

Roy was a non-conformist to many a tradition he was born into on this day in 1772, in Radhanagar village in Murshidabad district of West Bengal.

Although born into a Hindu Brahmin family, where his father Ramkanto Roy, was a Vaishnavite, Roy at a young age left home, shunned orthodox rituals and idol worship and became a staunch supporter of monotheism.

Following his differences with his father, Roy went on a journey that took him far from his roots. He travelled extensively including in Tibet and the Himalayas.

He studied Persian and Arabic along with Sanskrit, which influenced his thinking about God. He read Upanishads, Vedas and the Quran and translated a lot of the scriptures into English.

When he returned home, his parents married him off in a bid to change his outlook. But Roy continued to explore the depths of Hinduism only to highlight its hypocrisy.

After his father’s death in 1803 he moved to Murshidabad, where he published his first book Tuhfat-ul-Muwahhidin (A Gift to Monotheism).

Representational image.
Representational image. IANS

Roy took a keen interest in European politics and followed the course of the French Revolution.

In 1814, he settled in Calcutta, and the following year he founded the Atmiya Sabha. In 1828, he established the Brahmo Samaj, which is considered to be one of India’s first socio-religious reform movements.

However, his most significant contribution as a social engineer was towards women’s rights. Nearly 200 years ago, when evils like — Sati — plagued the society, Roy played a critical role to bring about a change.

He opposed the regressive practice that forced a widow to immolate herself on husband’s pyre.

The doodle on Roy, created by Beena Mistry, a designer based out of Toronto, shows Roy speaking at a public meeting with his detractors in the background. There is also the presence of a woman among the audience, this is at a time when the purdah system was rigidly followed.

He campaigned for equal rights for women, including the right to remarry and the right to hold property.

In 1830, he travelled to the UK as the Mughal Empire’s envoy to ensure that Lord William Bentinck’s law banning the practice of Sati was not overturned.

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Roy was also one of the pioneers of Indian journalism. He published several journals in Bengali, Persian, Hindi and English to propagate social reforms.

Bengali weekly Samvad Kaumudi was the most important journal that he published. The Atmiya Sabha published an English weekly called the Bengal Gazette and a Persian newspaper called Miratul-Akbar.

Roy died in a village near Bristol in England on September 26, 1833 of meningitis, and was buried there. (IANS)