Fewer Americans trust ISPs to look out for their best interests

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As net neutrality could potentially be restored in the US under the Biden administration, Mozilla (opens in new tab) has released the results of a new survey revealing that many Americans no longer trust internet service providers (ISPs (opens in new tab)) to look out for their best interests online.

Back in March of this year, the Firefox (opens in new tab) maker along with the market research and data analytics firm YouGov (opens in new tab) surveyed 1,305 US adults over the age of 18 to learn more about their thoughts regarding ISPs and net neutrality. 

According to the results of the survey, 63 percent of respondents do not trust ISPs to look out for their best interests while 72 percent want control of what they see online without any meddling or interference by their ISP. 

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The FCC first repealed net neutrality rules (opens in new tab) in the US back in 2018 and without them, ISPs have much more control over what consumers see and do online. However, now that Ajit Pai is no longer the chairman of the FCC (opens in new tab), there is a possibility that net neutrality could be reinstated.

Reinstating net neutrality

In order to provide consumers with more information on the subject of net neutrality, Mozilla has also released a new guide titled “A history of net neutrality in the US (opens in new tab)” which covers the principle's origin all the way up to its repeal in 2018.

For those unfamiliar, net neutrality is the principle that ISPs cannot speed up online connections to some websites while slowing down access to others. For instance, your ISP can't throttle your connection to Netflix while speeding up your connection to a favored streaming service (opens in new tab) instead, ISPs must instead remain neutral and allow the same bandwidth for all online services.

In a new blog post (opens in new tab), VP of advocacy and engagement at Mozilla, Ashley Boyd explained why now is the perfect time to reinstate federal net neutrality rules especially with more people working from home (opens in new tab) and spending more time online during the pandemic, saying:

“This opportunity to reinstate federal net neutrality rules comes during a global pandemic when Americans are relying heavily on an open internet, one with equal access and no fast lanes for the content ISPs want to prioritize for profit. By guaranteeing a level playing field online, net neutrality rules foster innovation and free expression while also protecting consumers from predatory business practices.”

While we'll have to wait and see whether President Biden's acting FFC chair Jessica Rosenworcel does decide to try and reinstate net neutrality, until then you can prevent your ISP from meddling or interfering with your internet connection by using a VPN (opens in new tab) service while browsing the web.

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.