net neutrality

10 reasons that explain why you should oppose Facebook's Free Basics campaign

Free Basics violates a fundamental principle of the Internet.

Facebook has been making a renewed push to convince India's telecom regulator that it should be allowed to run Free Basics, a subsidised internet platform that gives people Facebook and a few other services for free while violating the principles of net neutrality on which the internet was built. Here is a quick explanation of what net neutrality is and a primer on why Facebook's platform is dangerous.

The SaveTheInternet.in team has once again banded together to counter Facebook's marketing blitz, including "accidentally" encouraging users outside India to send a message to an Indian regulator and come up with a concise fact sheet that explains everything that is wrong with Free Basics:  
1) There are other successful models (this, this, this) for providing free Internet access to people, without giving a competitive advantage to Facebook. Free Basics is the worst of our options.

2)  Facebook doesn’t pay for Free Basics, telecom operators do. Where do they make money from? From users who pay. By encouraging people to choose Free Basics, Facebook reduces the propensity to bring down data costs for paid Internet access.

3) Free Basics isn’t about bringing people online. It’s about keeping Facebook and its partners free, while everything else remains paid. Users who pay for Internet access can still access Free Basics for free, giving Facebook and its partners an advantage. Free Basics is a violation of Net Neutrality

4) Internet access is growing rapidly in India. We’ve added 100 million users in 2015. Almost all the connections added in India in the last 1 year are NOT because of Free Basics.

5) Free Basics is not an open platform. Facebook defines the technical guidelines for Free Basics, and reserves the right to change them. They reserve the right to reject applicants, who are forced to comply with Facebook’s terms. In contrast they support ‘permissionless innovation’ in the US.

6) The only source of info on Facebook’s Free Basics is Facebook, and it misleads people. Facebook was criticised in Brazil for misleading advertising (source). Their communication in India is misleading. People find the “Free” part of Free Basics advertising from Facebook (or FreeNet free Internet) from Reliance misleading (source).

7) Facebook gets access to all the usage data and usage patterns of all the sites on Free Basics. No website which wants to compete with Facebook will partner with them because it will have to give them user data. Facebook gives data to the NSA (source) and this is a security issue for India.

8) Research has shown that people prefer to use the open web for a shorter duration over a limited set of sites for a longer duration. (source)

9) Facebook says that Free Basics doesn’t have ads, but does not say that it will never have ads on Free Basics.

10) Facebook has shown people as saying that they support Free Basics when they haven’t. They may claim 3.2 million in support, but how many of those mails are legitimate?

Click here to read the original post by the SaveTheInternet.in team, including suggestions about what you can do next.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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From pioneering businesses to conquering US television, four Indians show us that all is within reach

Young India is leading life its own way, changing the rules their parents lived by.

Living life your way is never easy. It takes a lot of self-belief and perseverance to carve your own path. In this age, when ‘being yourself’ is an over-used concept, it is easy to mistake it for superficial rebelliousness. But truly living your life your way goes beyond that to actually following your passion, pushing yourself even in the absence of role models or societal encouragement and letting your own fire fuel your potential. These individuals had a different vision for themselves, and chose to follow that:

Priyanka Chopra. Actress. Singer. International star. Priyanka Chopra doesn’t fit any single description. She has taken her career from beauty pageants to music videos, Bollywood movies and international television shows. Her most recent adventure has seen her turn producer of regional language films. Whether it’s taking up pathbreaking roles like an autistic girl in Barfi or recording a single with Pitbull or even starring in the hit American TV show, Quantico, Priyanka Chopra has broken the mould in every industry and she continues to delightfully surprise. She can dream and see her dreams through!

Priyanka Chopra
Priyanka Chopra

Juicepreneur—Anuj Rakyan. A former banker and jewellery entrepreneur, Anuj Rakyan’s love for health food saw him set up Raw Pressery, a Mumbai-based cold-pressed juices company. After returning from the US, Rakyan observed the lack of natural health drink options and decided to enter a market that was predominantly filled with processed juices. Even in the fresh juices space, few knew of and appreciated the concept of cold-pressed juices. It was a bold step, but Anuj remained convinced it would work. Today, Raw Pressery is proving successful with two rounds of investment from Sequioa Capital.

Anuj Rakyan
Anuj Rakyan

Zumba Queen—Sucheta Pal. Sucheta Pal in her own words was an unhappy 25-year-old living in Mumbai with a stressful 9-to-9 job. The only bright spot of her otherwise miserable day was the Bollywood dance classes she took. One day, she decided to give up her job and become a dancer full-time. She struggled with societal norms since dancing wasn’t even seen as a serious career option. In 2009, Pal discovered Zumba, the international dance fitness program, in the US and hasn’t looked back ever since. Pal is the lead Master Trainer for India and is certified as a Zumba Education Specialist by Zumba Fitness. She has trained over 3,000 trainers and is credited with popularizing Zumba in the country.

Sucheta Pal
Sucheta Pal

TV Tough Guy—Rannvijay Singh. Rannvijay Singh is known as the tough, no-nonsense host of MTV Roadies. Born in a family with six generations of male ancestors serving in the Indian army, Rannvijay took a very different path. He forged a unique identity as a tough guy on television and even made strides into the world of cinema. In a ruthless industry where most actors struggle to have careers beyond a few years, Rannvijay Singh is still going strong after 13 years.

Rannvijay Singh's Facebook page
Rannvijay Singh's Facebook page

Young Indians are finding new ways to display their talent and ability. They are also finding new tools of expression. LYF Smartphone+, the new smart phone brand from the Reliance Group, enables people to express themselves and their passions through its range of smartphones including the Earth 2 Smartphone+. It has a stylish 5-inch display with a pixel density of 445PPi. It is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and has a 13MP front and rear camera with flash and PDAF. It also has unique security features including retina unlock and a fast fingerprint sensor. To know more about LYF Smartphone+, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of LYF Smartphone+ and not by the Scroll editorial team.

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