Will the end of net neutrality be a security nightmare?

  • CSO | by: Terena Bell |
  • 01/26/2018
The end of net neutrality might mean third-party browser tracking, the deprivatization of online transactions, spyware on your phone, and more. At least that’s what Dr. Kenneth Williams claims.

Williams is director of the American Public University System (APUS) Center for Cyber Defense. When asked how net neutrality’s end could cause all this doom and gloom, the explanation requires a few steps: “When net neutrality ends, [antimalware software] providers are now at a higher cost to service providers,” he begins. This, in turn, could raise the cost of internet access for users who want to maintain the data safeguards their internet service provider (ISP) used before.

“The cost is going to go up if you choose those, but if you’re a user that [doesn’t] care to pay the fee,” Williams continues. “Either you pay or you just go without. When you go without, there’s a risk not only to you but anyone who connects to you and sends an email to you because the virus [would be] going around all over.”

In other words, the security Armageddon hinges on a lot of what-ifs. Even Williams admits his prediction is a little far-flung: “If someone says it’s very much a stretch, then there’s a plausible argument to that because I can’t prove that at this moment.”

"The regulatory environment is really confused"

In fact, there’s little the security industry can prove right now regarding the threat implications of net neutrality’s demise. Ask Henry Sienkiewicz, chief innovation and revenue officer at Secure Channels, what will happen, and he says, “Nobody knows. The regulatory environment is still really confused.”

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