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Wednesday, June 19, 2019: The internet doesn’t need saving, Unfriending Facebook, Increase foreign aid

The internet doesn’t need saving

As is the case with many bills and agencies in Washington, House Democrats’ “Save the Internet Act” is merely more government wrapped up in a feel-good title. This bill would not save the internet; it would stifle the greatest catalyst for innovation in human history under the ironically named goal of “net neutrality.”

“Net neutrality” is not merely — as its supporters claim — ensuring large internet service providers treat all data as equal and forgo “fast lanes” for internet access. It means regulating the internet as a public utility. Before 2015, and since the Federal Communications Commission repealed the Obama-era rules in 2017, the internet was and is treated as an “information service.” In this environment, internet companies are much more likely to innovate and invest in their services.

If you love the internet, this is a good thing. The more we can do to empower industry to solve its own issues, the quicker we can bring vital connectivity to people in underserved areas. We can bolster start-ups and small businesses, bring medical access to remote areas, and enable better cross-continent communication.

As long as someone owns a connected device — and 95% of Americans do – they can access the entirety of human knowledge and connect with like-minded individuals across the globe. The internet is, at its core, an opportunity engine.

We do not know what the next generation of tech-savvy problem-solvers will create to make Americans’ lives better. What we do know is that government’s heavy hand can stifle the most intrepid entrepreneurs from their pursuits. When that happens, we don’t see it, but we all lose because of it.

Nick Murray

Auburn

Unfriending Facebook

Facebook has become a problem in politics, the way people connect and target a person’s natural need for affection. In the past, there have been concerns about the news feed algorithm and what it shows people during election campaigns. This is a problem because most people tend to believe what they hear or read for the first time if it comes from a seemingly credible source.

It also keeps us in social handcuffs. What I mean by this is that we are so focused on what’s going on in our phones when we’re in a social setting, making the natural connections that used to be made by having casual conversations are gone. We now instinctively avoid conversation by using our phones as a distraction.

Another way Facebook is a problem is its acquisition of Instagram. This has become a toxic app where there’s so much envy and longing for what other people are showing from their life. It can make a person think that their life has less worth, when in reality, a person’s profile, especially people with more followers, are just showing you what you want to see.

This is something that needs government attention, and most likely regulation.

Chris Bourret

Rumford

Increase foreign aid

In at least one survey, Americans on average believed that 25 percent of the federal budget goes towards foreign aid. In reality, less than 1 percent of the federal budget goes to foreign aid.

Through the right use of resources and funding in examples such as decreasing preventative diseases, foreign aid can help the US economy. If foreign aid is spent to help decrease poverty existing in poorer countries, then prevention of war can occur. Struggling countries will be able to afford products from other countries, including the United States. In addition, the education gap between children from low- and high-income families has increased immensely, making it difficult for children of less financially stable households to close the income gap between themselves and children from wealthier families. The stronger the educational background, the more children could become entrepreneurs and workers, who can guide and help improve the economy through their expanded knowledge base.

As a result, it is in the best interest of developed countries like the United States to increase their foreign aid budgets.

Dalia Baban

Westbrook

 



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