It’s been about two months since I last wrote, urging people to pay attention to the Congress’ Restoring Internet Freedom Act, whose effects could be much more permanent than the FCC’s proposition to overturn previous net neutrality protections.
It seems I was mistaken on Congress’ original intentions on passing the Restoring Internet Freedom Act. Republicans are most likely planning a two-pronged assault on internet rights, first using the current FCC to remove Title II protections and then using the bill to prevent a future FCC from adding back those protections.
On May 18th, the FCC held a hearing to discuss moving forward with rolling back Title II protections, ultimately voting to do so 2–1. As a result, we as citizens need to stand up for our internet rights. The loss of net neutrality protections would cause a severe ripple effect across the internet. With the World Wide Web’s prominence as one of the sole entities that connects people around the world, removing Title II protections could send the United States to effectively being a third-world country. Scientists, developers, and thinkers would be at the mercy of profit-driven ISPs, who would have a major incentive to split the internet into tiers of packages, just like they have done for cable TV.
In turn, several people and groups have been planning to act in the coming days and weeks to protest before the FCC’s final ruling on August 19th.
Fight for the Future’s “Battle for the Net” campaign is planning a Day of Action today, July 12th, partnering with large companies such as Google, Facebook, and Netflix, to raise awareness of the issues surrounding internet rights. In 2014, a similar protest was held, and it resulted in the Obama-era FCC passing the 2015 Open Internet Order that is currently on the chopping block.
The companies will display messages indicating that their websites have been “blocked” by ISPs and urge users to submit comments to the FCC’s comment filing system.
Join me in making your voices heard and go to Battle for the Net’s dedicated webpage for the Day of Action, and change your social media avatars to loading icons and spread the word using banners. Submit a comment to the FCC, and using Battle for the Net’s form makes that quick and easy.
In addition, March for Net Neutrality, a grassroots movement, is organizing a physical march in the streets for August 12th, a week before the FCC’s final decision on removing Title II protections. The official marches are to take place in cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, and Seattle, with satellite marches in Boston, New York, Denver, Austin, and a whole host of other cities.
The marches are free to attend, and locations are listed on their website. I’m certainly going.
While the situation might seem hopeless, harsher regulations have been changed through citizen action. Regardless of the outcome, add your voices today to amplify our message to the administration.