On Net Neutrality. No really, keep reading.

On Net Neutrality. No really, keep reading.

Do you know what net neutrality is? Do you know why you should care? It's a vague term that I found confusing in a way that made me ignore stories about it. But once you start looking at it, it's alarming what the end of net neutrality could mean. Sarah Kendzior wrote yesterday:

For nearly a year, America has stood at the crossroads of a damaged democracy and a burgeoning autocracy. If net neutrality is destroyed, we will cross firmly into the latter, and our return is unlikely.

It sounds hyperbolic. It sounds impossible. It's not.

So what is net neutrality? According to Public Knowledge:

Net neutrality is the principle that individuals should be free to access all content and applications equally, regardless of the source, without Internet Service Providers discriminating against specific online services or websites. In other words, it is the principle that the company that connects you to the internet does not get to control what you do on the internet.

Let's say you run a liberal website or a liberal podcast. Without net neutrality rules in place, an internet provider who disagreed with your positions could potentially charge more to access that content, or could prohibit access to that content altogether.

This isn't an idle threat. According to Ars Technica, Comcast is already threatening to prioritize internet speeds for content providers that pay for that prioritization.

"Without these rules, Internet service providers will be able to favor certain websites and e-businesses... over others by putting the ones that can pay in fast lanes and slowing down or even blocking others," over 200 business and trade organizations wrote in a letter to [Republican FCC Chairman Ajit] Pai Monday. "Businesses may have to pay a toll just to reach customers. This would put small and medium-sized businesses at a disadvantage and prevent innovative new ones from even getting off the ground."

What can you do about it?

File a statement in support of Net Neutrality with the FCC:

  1. Click on http://GoFCCYourself.com (created by John Oliver, it forwards to the official FCC site)
  2. Then Click EXPRESS (at right side of page)
  3. Enter your name (Must hit enter for it to register) & required info
  4. Write: "I strongly support net neutrality backed by Title 2 oversight of ISPs." Plus any other message you want to add--this stuff's important. Such as: "I strongly support net neutrality backed by Title 2 oversight of ISPs. Net Neutrality is a protection for consumers. It protects the right of people to have an open internet, where all traffic is treated equally. With how much is shared over the internet, and have access to many great sites that foster learning and growth. If you now have to pay extra, to use Wiki for example, for those who can't afford the price increase, all of a sudden, we have people who have limited access to educational materials that allow them to learn. Please keep the Internet open and accessible to all Americans."

Fight back today. The future of the Resistance may be at stake. Don't take my word for it. Take the word of FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel:

Wiping out net neutrality would have big consequences. Without it, your broadband provider could carve internet access into fast and slow lanes, favoring the traffic of online platforms that have made special payments and consigning all others to a bumpy road. Your provider would have the power to choose which voices online to amplify and which to censor. The move could affect everything online, including the connections we make and the communities we create.

Photo by Rick Barry of Broken Shade Photo, taken on February 25, 2015.

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