What’s Going On?
Net neutrality, the concept that all Internet traffic has to be treated equally, is in big trouble. At a closed-door meeting last week, Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai revealed his plan to reverse the historic 2015 Open Internet Order that guaranteed that the Internet would remain open. After millions fought to ensure a level playing field, Pai would allow monopoly Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon to pick winners and losers online.
As John Nichols points out for The Nation, there’s no indication that the net-neutrality rules “stifle competition,” as Pai and others have claimed. But the dangers posed to democracy from losing net neutrality are very real. Nichols sums them up: “The United States will end up with an ‘information superhighway’ for messages favored by corporate elites who can pay the tolls and a dirt road for messages from citizens who hold to the quaint American faith that human beings should have rights and corporations should have regulations.”
This is an “all-hands-on-deck” moment, as Nichols put it. Without net neutrality, grassroots organizing would be harder. Independent media outlets like The Nation would struggle to compete with big corporations that can afford to pay tolls. And anyone without the cash to pay for a fast lane, and historically marginalized groups in particular, would struggle that much more to get their voices heard.
What Can I Do?
We’ve joined with organizations across the country to fight for net neutrality. Our tactic is twofold: 1) To collect 1 million signatures defending net neutrality before the FCC’s next open meeting on May 18. 2) To overwhelm the FCC with public comments. Click here to both sign our petition and send a comment to the FCC.
“Trump’s FCC Has Begun Its Attack on Net Neutrality” by John Nichols
“How to Fight for Your Rights and Privacy Online” by Evan Malmgren
“The Trump Administration’s Other War on the Media” by Katrina vanden Heuvel