July 12 is Net Neutrality Day of Protest!
More than 180 companies including Amazon, Twitter, Github, Netflix, Reddit, Etsy, Dropbox, OkCupid, and Vimeo, along with advocacy groups such as the ACLU, Change.org, and Greenpeace, are protesting today and urging their users and followers to do the same.
Under the Open Internet Order enacted by the FCC in 2015, internet service providers cannot block access to content, interfere with loading speeds, or provide favoritism to anyone who pay extra. Unfortunately, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, is advocating a completely open internet, where ISPs can control access to content by charging extra fees for the privilege.
Imagine having to pay more money to your ISP just to access the Steemit website, and if you don’t pay up your download speeds will be slowed down. I am not exaggerating - if this act passes it will be legal for your ISP to charge you extra for accessing Steemit if they want to. This is not only a great threat to Steemit but to every person that uses the internet.
FCC Intends to Abolish Net Neutrality!
They’re doing it with the deceitfully named Restoring Internet Freedom Act. Unsurprisingly, to a lot of Steemians, you will probably realize that the act will do the exact opposite of what it claims.
This post is designed to give you a quick overview of what net neutrality is and what you can do to stop it passing. I hope that you will share this information with your friends, family, and colleagues and that it will help more people to be aware of how serious this act is and what its ramifications are.
At the bottom of this article you will find some links and I will tell you what you can to stop this act from passing - but first let me give you the background story.
What is Net Neutrality?
Net neutrality is the concept that all internet traffic should be treated equally. At the moment, the concept of net neutrality is protected under the Title II designation, meaning, that it is classified as a utility. That means your access to the internet is similar to other utilities like water and electricity. You can only charge for the resources that you use.
For example, you can’t charge extra for what it is used for. You can’t charge a premium if you decide to pour water into a glass and drink it, versus using it to water the lawn. That would obviously be ridiculous, yet abolition of net neutrality would allow for just that.
The only people that the abolition of net neutrality benefits are the ISPs – large corporations that stand to gain financially and, of course, constrict and strangle their competition in the process.
Large internet service providers such as Spectrum (formerly Time Warner), also own video streaming services which compete directly with Netflix, Hulu, Vimeo and You Tube. If net neutrality was abolished, these firms would be able to slow down the internet speeds of their competitors to the point of making them unusable, forcing their customers to instead use the Spectrum-owned service, or pay a premium for accessing their preferred streaming service.
This is not only anti-competitive, it is monopolistic, and it is contrary to the principles of a free market and a free and open internet.
It is universally bad for you. There is absolutely no upside in this whatsoever.
If net neutrality provisions are repealed in the United States, internet service providers would have the ability to charge you extra to access your favorite websites and apps. If you chose not to pay extra, they could slow them down to a crawl. If that wasn’t reason enough to support net neutrality, think about the wider implications.
Slowing down and crippling access to websites can be used as a tool to suppress free speech and dissenting voices. It can therefore be used as a tool to further manipulate public perception. It can be used as a tool to make it more difficult to criticize corporate interests. The abolition of net neutrality can quite literally be used as a tool to undermine democracy as we know it.
Where Will the Protest Take Place?
Sites that support net neutrality will try to draw your attention to the protest that is taking place today by simulating what users may experience if this act passes. Examples may include a simulated spinning wheel, blocked notifications and pop-up messages that request you to upgrade to a paid plan to view the content.
Organizers are also asking people to post protest selfies on social media platforms with the tag #SaveTheNet.
This is not a partisan issue - this is an issue that effects everyone, not only Americans. Whether you lean left or right, up or down, it doesn’t matter. The abolition of net neutrality is a net negative for every consumer. The only people to benefit from this are internet service providers and the Government who may want to make it more difficult, or expensive for you to access content that it would you prefer you didn’t see.
There is credible evidence to suggest that the abolition of net neutrality in any country, can and will most likely result in that country falling behind in terms of its competitiveness on the world stage - whether that be economic growth, unemployment and technological innovation. These are just a few of the by-products that we will see with the abolition of net neutrality.
Regardless of your political orientation, unless you happen to be the CEO of a large ISP or the head of the NSA, you will suffer if net neutrality is abolished. Over the last few months, the large corporations that oppose net neutrality have been ramping up the propaganda, astroturfing, and shilling efforts. During the FCC’s public consultation period, the website was flooded with identical comments accompanied by obviously fake names. The FCC received over 128,000 identical anti-net-neutrality comments.
While it is entirely possible that some people have been misled into believing that the Restoring Internet Freedom Act will restore their freedom, the vast majority of these 128,000 comments were posted by bots. Comcast attempted to aggressively shut down the site ComcastAstroturf.com with a cease and desist order.
Make no mistake about it. These large corporations are actively fighting to take away your rights, to take away your freedom, to inconvenience you, and to charge you more money for the same service that you are currently receiving today.
Again, this is not a partisan issue. This is an issue of consumers versus malicious and predatory corporate interests.
Today, July 12 is the Net Neutrality Day of Action and, yes, there are things that you can do to help. I’ve included links below with methods to easily contact US Congress members and the FCC and tell them that you oppose the Restoring Internet Freedom Act.
Make no mistake about it. This is a battle for the future of the internet and I think that it’s very important that Steemians stand up and protest today.
Even if you don’t live in the United States, this is going to be an issue for you one way or the other. It’s important to raise awareness. It’s important to educate, and it is important that the astroturfing efforts and dishonest behaviour of major corporate ISPs are opposed.
Please share this with everyone that you know and considering resteeming.
I view the Restoring Internet Freedom Act as a direct threat to Steemit. If ISP's start charging more money to access to Steemit less people are going to join Steemit and that effects all of us.
We are under attack - today is the day that we need to stand up and defend our right to an open internet!
Join the Protest
Thank you very much for reading.
Till next time...
Source - PC World