Protest against move to get rid of net neutrality law

Audrey Hill
July 14, 2017

Your personal blog, for example, should be given the same access to the internet as a major worldwide news website. Internet behemoths such as Google, Amazon (which owns Twitch) and Reddit as well as smaller sites such as Ifixit and Plays.TV are participating in today's day of action against internet service providers' push for, among other things, the right to slow down access to or block competing websites.

You probably saw that viral John Oliver video at the time. Ajit Pai, the new FCC chairman hand-picked by Trump, put forth a plan to end Net Neutrality and the FCC voted this plan forward on May 18. In 2007, one content provider secretly violated an earlier version of the Net Neutrality law when it slowed and blocked the file-sharing application, Bit Torrent.

The FCC is now attempting to put laws in place that would abolish net neutrality, and that could very easily open the door for ISPs to reach a place of power allowing them to manipulate where people do and do not go on the internet.

Pretty much everyone outside of the large cable companies supports the FCC's net neutrality rules. The move, which critics charge will fundamentally undermine consumer privacy in the U.S., overturned rules drawn up by the FCC that would have given people more control over their personal data.

"Internet service providers could create special fast lanes for content providers willing to pay more", said Corey Price, vice president of PornHub. "And it should stay that way".

Google's protest against the rollback of net neutrality laws comes in the form of a, which reads in part the company hopes "you'll make your voice heard".

"Net Neutrality is foundational to competitive, free enterprise, entrepreneurial market entry - and reaching global customers".

It also noted that you now "don't have to be a big shot to compete" - a reality that could change for smaller companies if net neutrality laws are rolled back. "Anyone with a great idea, a unique perspective to share, and a compelling vision can get in the game", Twitter said.

Man holds laptop with both hands

Online forum Reddit displayed a pop-up message that slowly loaded the text, "The internet's less fun when your favourite sites load slowly, isn't it?"

Sites like Netflix are displaying messages urging users to send their comments in support of net neutrality to the FCC and Congress.

Professor of Intellectual Property and innovation at the Queensland University of Technology, Dr Matthew Rimmer, told Radio National the issue was discussed when the NBN was being set up.

"Without these Title II protections, there's absolutely nothing to stop internet service providers from censoring sites that they don't like, from slowing down or throttling content from sites unless they pay up, or from charging users extra fees or requiring them to upgrade their internet packages if they are going to access the content that they're used to being able to access for free", said Evan Greer, the activist leading the charge against the FCC's plans.

A more curious position came from mobile carrier AT&T which said it was supporting the protest - despite in the past being a vocal opponent of net neutrality.

Right now, the future of net neutrality is still up in the air.

"Given that it may boost start-ups, innovators, investors and entrepreneurs in Australia", he said. By applying these rules to ISPs, the FCC was given the authority to regulate the behavior of ISPs similar to utilities, subjecting them to more government oversight.

According to Fight for the Future, one of the primary organisers of the online protest, over 1.6 million comments have been sent out to the FCC and over three million emails and phone calls were made to the Congress.

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Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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