We lost. We lost the fight to save net neutrality. It was brutal watching that 2 hour long live stream and seeing the vote come so close and losing to a 3-2 vote. Yesterday, the FCC approved a measure to remove the net neutrality rules it put in place during the Obama administration around two years ago. Those rules prevented internet providers from blocking and throttling traffic and offering paid fast lanes. The net neutrality rules also classified internet providers as Title II common carriers in order to provide the measure strong legal backing.
Yesterday's vote undoes all of that. It removes Title II, preventing the FCC from putting tough net neutrality rules in place even if it wanted to. These new rules largely don’t prevent internet providers from anything. They can block, throttle, and prioritize content if they wish to. The only real rule is that internet providers have to publicly state that they’re going to do it.
Opponents of net neutrality argue that the rules were never needed in the first place, because the internet was doing just fine. The FCC chairman Ajit Pai voiced his thoughts on that matter today, stating:
“The internet wasn't broken in 2015. We were not living in some digital dystopia. The main problem consumers have with the internet is not and has never been that their internet provider is blocking access to content. It's been that they don't have access at all.”
While he makes a valid point, he doesnt understand the full extent of the consequences that will be unleashed now that his take our right to internet freedom. The internet providers now have free reign. Even with the previous policy in place, we saw malicious activity from these providers. Some companies blocked their customers from accessing apps, and some implemented policies that clearly gave an advantage towards certain internet services and their own websites. Without any rules in place, they’ll have the freedom to do that as much as they want without any backlash.
This vote was rushed through even though they received suspicious activity in their comment board. After the FCC opened the proposal up to room for feedback, the commission received a record-breaking 22 million comments. Strangely enough though 7.5 million of these comments were spam or had "fake identities". After the commission acknowledged this illegal activity going out in the public comments, the FCC has refused to help investigations into what happened.
One young lady, Mackenzie Astin, resorted to the best form of international communication she knows: social media, to voice her experience.
Because of this ignorant oversight, the FCC will probably be expecting many lawsuits within the next days/weekss. I can guarantee that there will be net neutrality supporters that are outraged and will be wanting to sue the commission in an attempt to invalidate this proceeding. Many states in the USA have already taken action against the FCC. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he would lead a lawsuit with many other states against the agency to preserve the regulations. It's not clear which states will join the suit yet, but 18 state attorney generals signed a letter encouraging the commission to delay the vote.
If you live in the USA and care about your use of the freedom of the internet, call your representative and help save the future of our internet privileges. Exercise your right to the first amendment and voice your opinion on social media if your state representative hasn't!
GET INFORMED AND LETS SAVE OUR INTERNET!!