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Net neutrality a key battleground in growing fight over encryption, activists say

PCWorld - Plans to favor some Internet packets over others threaten consumers’ hard-won right to use encryption, a digital privacy advocate says.

Activists and tech companies fended off efforts in the U.S. in the 1990s to ban Internet encryption or give the government ways around it, but an even bigger battle over cryptography is brewing now, according to Sascha Meinrath, director of X-Lab, a digital civil-rights think tank launched earlier this year. One of the most contested issues in that battle will be net neutrality, Meinrath said.

The new fight will be even more fierce than the last one, because Internet service providers now see dollars and cents in the details of packets traversing their networks. They want to charge content providers for priority delivery of their packets across the network, something that a controversial Federal Communications Commission proposal could allow under certain conditions. Friday is the filing deadline for the first round of public comments on that plan.