Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Protests Grow Against Facebook's Internet.org


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Debates on Facebook’s `free mobile date’ – Internet.org

The reaction against Facebook’s `free mobile data’, Internet.org scheme has become known all over the world and recently around 65 advocacy organisations from 31 countries have signed an open letter to Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg objecting on Internet.org in an effort to bring about free internet service to the developing world, stating that the project `could disrupt the principles of net neutrality, threatening the freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, innovation, security and privacy’.

With Internet.org, Facebook has been partnering with several wireless carriers as well as other organisations in providing an app which tends to offer free access to some internet services, which include Facebook, in developing countries on mobile phones.

However, in spring, some publishers in India have withdrawn out of the program stating that it violated the principles of net neutrality, the concept that all internet providers should be treating all online services in an equal manner.Zucherberg who has defended the project states that it could co-exist with net neutrality and to give more people access to the internet, it could be useful to provide some free services which he had mentioned in his April 16 post to Facebook.

Leading to New Kind of Digital Divide

He further adds that `if someone is unable to afford paying for connectivity, it could be better to have some access than none at all’.

A spokesman informed BBC that, he is convinced that as more and more individuals tend to gain access to the internet; they will see the benefits and would want to use even more services.’ They are of strong belief that that they have worked with operators offering basic services to people at no cost and convinced that new users would want to move beyond the basic service and pay for more diverse and valuable services. Presently, open letter debates that the limited access provided by Internet.org could be leading to a new kind of digital divide.

Internet.org enables subscribes of partner mobile networks to utilise limited number of online services without the need to pay in making use of the data involved which could include Wikipedia, The Facts for Life health site which is run by the United Nations children’s Fund, BBC New, Facebook, Accuweather together with a variety of local news as well as sports results provider.

Nine Millions – Utilised the Scheme

In order to access the facility, users should use special Android apps, Internet.org’s website, Android app of Facebook or the Opera Mini browser and the web pages that are provided should be basic to minimise the data use and high resolution photos, videos and voice chat facilities are not allowed.

The project has been launched in Colombia, Guatemala, Ghana, Kenya, India, Indonesia, Malawi, the Philippines, Tanzania and Zambia. Network operators have made their contribution since they are of the belief that users will pay for broader internet access when they get a chance to attempt the free content that is offered.

According to Facebook, over nine million users have utilised the scheme as of date. However, the open letter from the digital rights groups that have been published on Facebook, conveys that the activist all over the world have intention of challenging its expansion.

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