The End of Net Neutrality: Implications for National Security

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 on Thursday to dismantle their authorities to enforce net neutrality rules that prohibit internet service providers, such as Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast, from interfering in the traffic streams that take place over their infrastructure. The reversal of the FCC’s 2015 decision means the federal government will no longer be able to regulate ISPs as if they were a utility, allowing ISPs to privilege some traffic over others and perhaps even throttle or block content they independently decide to – such as controversial political opinions.  

While there are major consumer implications to the end of net neutrality, there are also potential ripple effects into the nation’s security. The Cipher Brief revisits its analysis on how the end of net neutrality could impact anything from terrorist content online, foreign disinformation campaigns in U.S. elections, and even how U.S. intelligence agencies, such as the National Security Agency, traverse the global web to collect information critical to the country’s national security.

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