Net Neutrality and You: Reclaiming Your Corporately-Produced Technology

Net Neutrality And You Reclaiming Your Corporately Produced Technology
Post Menu and Details.

Words: 1002

Reading time: ~4 minutes

The internet is no longer as it once was.

When the world wide web was in the fledgling stages, creators found it a virtual sandbox that they could make things in and share them with others for the fun of it. The freedom that they found in those digital spaces helped some of them get experimental, creating things that went viral and propelled those creators into the forefront of the public consciousness.

The progress of the Internet of Things technologies over the last five years has been made achievable by open Internet connectivity. The Internet of Things, sometimes known as IoT, is a system of Internet-connected items and gadgets that gather and transmit data over a wireless network.

The concept of net neutrality has a long and convoluted political history. Within the United States, communication techniques such as radio and telephone have traditionally been extensively watched and regulated by independent government agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. However, as the internet and its providers grew in popularity, these restrictions became more convoluted and difficult to control.

Reclaiming Your Corporately-Produced Technology

Nowadays, the internet is a very different place. Corporations have taken hold of it, seeing any unoccupied digital space they come across as a would-be virtual billboard, and many of the creators mentioned before have turned into self-marketers, looking to go viral enough to get into a company’s good graces, being used as a puppet for any marketing department willing to slip them a little money.

With the recent demise of the net neutrality act, moreover, internet service providers (ISPs) have regained the ability (on a technicality) to throttle our connections if we try to access a service that hasn’t paid their premium, making it possible for corporations to have a hold on our internet access. In short, capitalistic influence on the internet has expanded into every corner of the world wide web, leaving nothing unchecked from the pages we visit covered in advertisements to restricting our access to certain services depending on the devices we use.

Yes, even the devices we use to access the internet are corporately produced and built to limit our access, preventing us from accessing sites and services that compete with said device’s parent company. iPhones and Androids, Set-top systems that people use instead of cable, and other corporately produced tech products are limited by the manufacturer’s design: and this is especially frustrating for consumers, given how much these devices cost.

One such device that many of us have in our homes is the Amazon Firestick.

Amazon’s Least Useful Product: Unless?

Amazon’s Least Useful Product Unless

If you own a Firestick, the chances are that you made the decision to purchase it based on Amazon’s stellar, revolutionary customer service reputation. While the company has (rightly) drawn a lot of criticism for how it treats its workers, Amazon’s Prime service changed the face of the retail industry, making it possible with one annual subscription for customers to get their products quickly and at a much lower price. It’s no wonder that, when a customer sees the Firestick on supermarket shelves next to its contemporaries, that same customer decides to purchase it over its competition: they already have a positive experience with the brand and have come to expect an unparalleled level of convenience from brand-associated products.

However, people who have tried to use the Firestick for any period of time can confirm: as is, it’s a functionally useless product, providing nothing special over its contemporaries and actually limiting your abilities to access apps that provide free entertainment. This is because the Firestick was built to screen out apps that would compete with Amazon’s services: while it will allow you, out of necessity, to access paid streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu, it won’t allow you to access the large majority of free streaming services. After all, why allow your customers to access something for free when you offer it, on your site, for a low price?

The existence of the Firestick is just another example of corporations trying to gain a fiercer chokehold on our internet usage: how we use it and why, these corporations think, should be bent to benefit them.

Little do they know, there’s a way to reclaim their tech for our purposes. It’s called jailbreaking, and with the Firestick, it’s an extremely easy process.

Jailbroken: Freeing Up Your Tech

Jailbreaking is defined as changing your device’s programming, removing manufacturer restrictions that prevent your device from working with third-party software that wasn’t pre-approved by said manufacturer. In essence, it converts your Firestick from an extremely limited piece of tech that barely provides anything of service into a customizable universal remote, one whose possibilities are quite literally only limited by your imagination. It varies by device, but in practice, you download a jailbreaking software package and then follow the directions to install the code on your gadget.

It’s worth noting that this fluctuates with each new version of your device’s operating system. Jailbreaking is a time-honored and legally protected method of reclaiming useless tech, and it’s been in use ever since the first iPhone didn’t allow users to download Android-only apps. The smartphone boom has put incredible computational capability in our hands. However, the iPhone you’re carrying about will only do what Apple and your carrier allow. You follow their guidelines. Also, you can download whatever apps you want from the App Store, but third-party apps that Apple hasn’t approved aren’t available. You may fiddle with the settings menu all you want, but you can’t modify Apple’s operating system’s regulations.

The key is finding a guide to show you how to jailbreak your tech efficiently. If you’re interested in learning how to jailbreak your Firestick, you can find one such guide here.

When we start learning how little control we have over our access to the internet, how many forces are constantly trying to limit our options for their commercial gain, it’s only natural that we would look for safe ways to take our control back. Jailbreaking is one such method that is safe and effective. Give it a shot, and see what jailbroken tech can do for you.

Thank you for reading!