UPSC PRELIMS & MAINS
(Network Neutrality) is the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should treat all data on the Internet equally.
Net Neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers should enable access to all content and applications without favoring or blocking particular websites.
The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003.
Companies like Airtel, BSNL, Reliance (Jio), Vodafone, Idea(VI), etc who provide Internet Service are called as Internet Service Provider(ISPs)
Ideally, ISPs should charge users based on the data consumed or on a subscription basis (monthly) plans.
But what if they charge you based on the websites you visit?
For example, if an ISP Company XYZ, provides Services like Skype, Bing, and Facebook for FREE, and charges you for using Google, this is a clear violation of Net-Neutrality. Here Skype, Bing, and Facebook get a competitive advantage, while Google will lose a lot of traffic and revenue. Also, it is also a case where ISPs interfere with the choice of consumers.
Internet.org and Free basics – A case of violation of Net Neutrality
- Internet.org is a partnership between Social Networking services company Facebook and six other companies that plan to bring affordable access to selected Internet services to less developed countries.
- “Free basics” is the name of the app that delivers these services.
- However, this was a violation of the concept of Net Neutrality.
- Regulators banned the Free Basics service in India based on the “Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations”.
Airtel Zero – A case of violation of Net Neutrality
- Airtel announced Airtel Zero, an initiative that would allow applications to purchase data from Airtel in exchange for the telecom company offering them to consumers free of cost.
- Airtel Zero was widely perceived as a violation of net neutrality.
- By paying to be on Airtel Zero, companies could make sure that their users get free access to their service, while smaller players are at a disadvantage.
- However, Airtel has said that zero-rating does not violate net neutrality as it lowers the cost of access and it is “non-discriminatory”.
- To prevent such things, it appears necessary to have a specific mandating a neutral internet.
Genetically Modified Seeds:
- Conventional plant breeding involves crossing species of the same genus to provide the offspring with the desired traits of both parents.
- Genus is a class of items such as a group of animals or plants with similar traits, qualities or features.
- Genetic modification aims to transcend the genus barrier by introducing an alien gene in the seeds to get the desired effects. The alien gene could be from a plant, an animal or even a soil bacterium.
- Bt cotton is the only Genetically Modified (GM) crop that is allowed in India. It has alien genes from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that allows the crop to develop a protein toxic to the common pest pink bollworm.
- Herbicide Tolerant Bt (Ht Bt) cotton, on the other hand is derived with the insertion of an additional gene, from another soil bacterium, which allows the plant to resist the common herbicide glyphosate.
- In Bt brinjal, a gene allows the plant to resist attacks of fruit and shoot borers.
- In DMH-11 mustard, genetic modification allows cross-pollination in a crop that self-pollinates in nature.