Concerned about losing net neutrality? You have every reason to be.
Ajit Pai, chairman of the President Trump’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has, for the past few months, been trying to reverse net neutrality regulations put into place in 2015 by the Open Internet Order.
For those who aren’t familiar with what “net neutrality” means, it’s the regulations that keep internet service providers (ISPs), and the regulators overseeing them, from treating internet users unequally. All users have equal access to websites and applications because of net neutrality.
“Net neutrality is essential to education, economic opportunity, social movements, and dissent,” says Free Press.
Net neutrality is considered the first amendment of the internet because no one should be cut off the internet just to please companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon. The ISPs want billions of dollars more. The FCC wants to allow these big corporations to make fortunes off OUR internet. And without the regulations of net neutrality they are able to “throttle or block content and charge content creators for speedier access,” writes Amy Kroin for Common Cause.
Whatever site decides to pay ISP premium have a direct advantage over other content provider that don’t pay that premium. “Some activists worry that ISPs could also block legal content that an ISP finds objectionable for whatever reason,” writes Bill Moyers.
Net neutrality has long been popular with all Americans on both sides of the aisle, until just recently when it has become partisan. Since then it was targeted for the auction block.
“For most Americans, they have no choice for all the information, data, entertainment coming through their house, other than their local cable monopoly. And here, we have a situation where that monopoly potentially can pick and choose winners and losers, decide what you see, how interesting and interactive it is, how quickly it reaches you — and then charge whatever it wants,” explained Susan Crawford, a telecommunications policy analyst, to Bill Moyers.
“I remain convinced that the last presidential election we had was of, by, and for, big media. It made billions of dollars for these big media companies. We’re entering into a period where there likely will be more mergers than we’ve ever had before. The political and marketplace atmosphere that we have in this country right now favors them,” says former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps.
This is the FCC’s second attack on existing internet protections. In case it slipped past you, Congress voted in March to allow ISPs to sell your browsing habits to advertisers. Did you agree to have your consumer habit privacy taken away? Congress didn’t represent me, either.
Here’s how we can fight to keep our net neutrality in place:
CALL Senator Maria Cantwell at (202) 224-3441 and Senator Patty Murray at (202) 224-2621 and (Dist.1) Congressman Derek Kilmer at (202) 225-5916 to say you oppose the destruction of net neutrality and Title II. Yes, they’re Democrat leaders, but go ahead and let their staff know your issues. Numbers speak for themselves.
WRITE your Senators and House Representatives online before the July 17 deadline for comments addressing key issues. Try https://dearfcc.org/ and include what choices you have for broadband-internet access. Or go directly to the FCC website and/or Google net neutrality for petitions to sign to help protect net neutrality.
JULY 12th is the Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality. Great websites like Amazon and groups like the American Library Association and Fight for the Future will be joining in to protest this administration’s blatant indifference to public opinion by trying to kill off net neutrality. Join at https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12/ and you’ll receive instructions for that day which are being kept secret for now, for obvious reasons.
“The Internet has given more people a voice than ever before, and we’re not going to let the FCC take that power away from us,” said Evan Greer, Fight for the Future’s executive director. “Massive online mobilization got us the strong net neutrality protections that we have now, and we intend to fight tooth and nail to defend them [again].
How can free speech be important if you aren’t able to have the internet to make it heard? We must have the protection of Title II and net neutrality. Help however you can to keep the internet available for free speech – for all of us. And don’t forget good old grass-roots protesting to spread the word about what’s happening.
For those readers who are astounded by the direction of this article, please remember that this administration has not represented the American people. Sadly, it represents only their own greed for themselves and their political backers.
— Marylin Olds is an opinion columnist who resides in North Kitsap. Contact her with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.