Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality is the principal that internet service providers and the government need to treat all traffic and data on the internet equally, without discriminating or charging differently.

Currently, the debate on Net Neutrality is very controversial as it is interpreted differently by many different organizations. Back in 2015, the FCC implemented the strongest net neutrality rules in history. This all happened due to the millions of supporters who called in and also wrote to the White House. They embraced the Title II authority and created clear rules for blocking and other discrimination.

It is now 2017 however, and the Chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, is attempting to destroy net neutrality once again. This change would let internet service providers control access to certain services and set their own prices to be able to access them. Pai is a one of the five board members who is voting to keep or abolish net neutrality. He is a Republican, and two other members are Republicans, giving them an advantage in the vote. Previously, he was a lawyer at Verizon, one of the companies who is in favor of getting rid of net neutrality

With net neutrality in place, everyone gets equal opportunities online, and in a world without it, people will not be able to see content without paying for packages or be throttled by bigger competition. You may be forced to use Bing over Google as your primary search engine if they bribe the internet service providers.

In order to stop this change from happening, we need to take action and sign a pledge to call Congress and bombard them with messages to prevent this. If it goes through, the internet’s free and open structure will change forever. The vote is taking place on December 14th and Congress may be able to stop the FCC if it gets enough support.


What is CyberPatriot?

CyberPatriot is a national cybersecurity competition hosted by the Air Force Association in order to educate students in computer defense, networking, and security. It is made for both middle/high school students and has various divisions.

The main three are the Open, All-Service, and Middle School divisions. The Open division encompasses all public, private, parochial, magnet, charter, home schools, and certain other special organizations like Boy/Girl Scouts. All-Service is open to JROTC Services, Civil Air Patrol squadrons, and US Naval Sea Cadet Corps units. The Middle School division is open to any middle schoolers that fall into the same type of organizations as the open division.

The competition is centered around multiple rounds, most of which are done online from home or other facility, except for the national finals which is in Baltimore, MD. There are two qualification rounds, and the scores from them are totaled to determine what group the team is place into. 30 percent of them go to the Platinum tier, 40 percent to the Gold tier, and 30 go to the Bronze tier. Each level has their own state and regional competitions, while the platinum tier has the National Finals in Maryland.

Open Division Advancement

The rounds consist of many different challenges, and include things like fixing vulnerable Windows and Ubuntu images, answering quiz questions about various topics, and created mock network designs using Cisco Packet Tracer. Each round lasts up to 6 hours.

This years competition is called CyberPatriot X and will have over 5000 competing teams, with only 26 going to the National Finals from all divisions. If you are a middle or high schooler who has an interest in technology, hacking, and networking, I highly suggest you look into forming a team to compete next year.