What should one expect when the internet in the United States is robbed of its nuetrality? What happens when SBC and Verizon and Comcast and other similar companies are allowed to gateway the internet to their fun and profit? I can imagine a few things:
- A tiered Internet.
There will be two ways to access the internet; one for people paying a small amount, the other for those willing to pay "more." Those who pay more will find a wider internet and quicker access, those who pay less will find slower access and limited options.
- Harder to get porn, Not necessarily harder to get kiddie porn.
Those chasing after kiddie porn know damn well how to hide; they'll hide just a little better and everyone will adjust to it. Adult porn will find things harder as those who want it will pay more and find barriers still placed (thanks to those who think everyone's business is fair game).
- Death to P2P.
The RIAA will cause the internet companies to put sniffers on the routers to figure out which programs the users are using. If you're using a P2P program, the server can then disconnect, slow down the connection so that everything gets downloaded at a creep, or act in ways that mess with the software or hardware, even with firewall and anti-virus software. The server may just erase the P2P programs, leaving the Browsers and other definitely legal (read: not widely used for "intellectual property theft") programs.
- Timed Internet Access.
Since it's obvious that many in the entertainment and communications areas already believe that our basic needs can be covered by a slower connection, the next step will be limited access time. An extra charge will be done for those who want more time per day.
- Say Goodbye to Innocent Before Proven Guilty
Since there's going to be a major need for entertainment and communications to make sure their intellectual property rights aren't trampled by the little internet user, internet spying will not so much become legal but mandatory. And with it: the idea that something not directly allowed becomes illegal (the reverse of what we have now)
- Much more restrictive file formats forced on us.
Instead of .m4a formats which allow a limited amount of copies, you'll get something that won't allow you to copy. Worse yet, don't be surprised it you're forced to pay for every listen (or every 10 listens) or every X days of ownership.
So goes all revolutions. First comes the moment of freedom, then the restrictions come in worse than before.