Loss of Knowledge
This is the type of thing some people fear with ISPs being able to control which sites they allow people to access and which they will not. A company that supports one political party over another might refuse to allow websites that criticize politicians. ISPs that have members who do not support equal rights for all might refuse to allow websites that discuss women’s rights or LGBTQ events. By trying to restrict what people see, hear, or understand, ISPs could increase hate, fear, and the loss of rights.
Like the other books in the “Get Informed – Stay Informed” series, Net Neutrality is written at the right level, with relevant, up-to-date information on an issue that needs to be discussed by today’s students to prepare them to be tomorrow’s citizens and leaders.
Although Canada currently has net neutrality regulations, this topic is a global issue that may affect Canada as a result of decisions made elsewhere. National net neutrality regulations were removed in the United States in 2018, an action which allowed each state to decide whether it will reintroduce net neutrality or not. Much of the information in Net Neutrality provides background information about the current issue in the U.S., but there is also information about the different positions taken around the world, including Canada, Brazil, the EU, India, Australia and others.
The Canadian Government Steps In
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is in charge of Internet regulations. The CRTC supports strict net neutrality. It stepped in when some ISPs were not providing equal services to all websites. One company allowed customers to view its mobile television for free while charging for other websites or apps. The CRTC made them stop. It has also created rules around pricing. This way, everyone has choice and the chance to exchange ideas freely. But even with net neutrality rules, the CRTC has to closely watch ISP companies.
The value of the books in this series is two-fold. First, there is an overview of the importance of the issue with some background and context clearly presented. Second, the books explain the importance of becoming astute gatherers and users of information and then go on to teach students some important information literacy skills.
There are search tools for finding an expert on a certain topic. Type the subject into the search bar. This will help you find experts doing up-to-date research.
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.ca
Microsoft Academic Search: https://academic.microsoft.com
Expertise Finder: http://expertisefinder.com
Each book in the series stresses the need to stay informed as issues continue to develop and encourages and empowers students to make their own decisions and ask their own questions. In addition to the websites, books, and documentaries listed in the “Find Out More” section at the back of the book, there are reminder points to help students critically evaluate the information that they find on the Internet.
To summarize, it is important for Canadian students to understand the different perspectives on the issue. Net neutrality regulations will need to be protected, enhanced, or changed, and today’s students need to be prepared to make those decisions with a full understanding of the implications.
Suzanne Pierson, a former teacher-librarian, is currently instructing Library courses at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.