As we near the final hours before the long-awaited repeal of net neutrality, the opposition is breaking through the surface from every direction. As demonstrated in a National Tracking poll, and despite the overwhelming amount of Americans against this proposal, introduced by leading supporter and chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Ajit Pai, the pathway to an open internet is fading fast. Interestingly and not surprisingly enough, Pai’s efforts to sustain his argument that a more restricted internet is good for business and consumers seems to be unraveling from the inside and out.
Last minute internet protests have been taking place with companies such as Kickstarter and Reddit who have used their websites as ways to inform and advocate for the continual use of a free internet. Kickstarter wiped its entire homepage and replaced it with a white screen reading “Defend Net Neutrality” in large style font. Reddit, on the other hand, created additional popup features that explained how its site would be affected by the FCC’s plan. However tech titans such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft have been relatively quiet on this issue and even Netflix, who was one of the most outspoken opponents initially, has recently said the open net was no longer their “primary battle.” New York Times implicated that the bigger companies are not speaking up because they have less to lose. Still, Apple and Amazon both have expressed their opinions rejecting the FCC’s proposal. Amazon executives have been meeting with the FCC in person since November and company attorney, Gerard Waldron, said that:
During the meetings, we stated that Amazon has long supported net neutrality protections to ensure our customers can enjoy an open internet, and we emphasized that the company remains committed to that position.
Just today, New York State Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, reported that 2 million comments in support of repealing net neutrality were fake. The poll conducted on the FCC’s website received input from millions of stolen usernames and inactive profiles. A combined total of 400,000 false comments were posted in the states of New York, Florida, California and Texas. More than 5,000 people have confirmed that their identities were stolen and comments advocating for the end of an open net were not made by them. Comments were also submitted by users that have previously passed away and are the verified deceased. Even worse, the FCC has not responded to these obvious attempts of covering up America’s distaste towards the repeal.
Millions of fake comments have corrupted the FCC public process, including 2 million that stole the identities of real people, a crime under New York law. Yet the FCC is moving full steam ahead with a vote based on this corrupted process, while refusing to cooperate with an investigation. -NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
On Tuesday, Senator John Thune shook up the Senate floor by urging his colleagues to discuss a compromise of preserving net neutrality. He has been a long-time supporter of the cause consistently voting in favor of the open net. Since then, a handful of legislators have expressed their disapproval towards this notion including Rep. Mike Coffman who in an open letter to Pai argued that the FCC should postpone its vote until a later date. This follows last week’s proposed “Save Net Neutrality Act” introduced by Sean Patrick Maloney that would keep rules surrounding an open internet the same as its been.
Here’s what Thune had to say about his stance on net neutrality.
There is obviously immense passion that follows the issue of net neutrality. Americans care deeply about preserving a free and open internet, as do and I and so many of my colleagues here in the United States Senate on both sides of the aisle.
Thx to everyone who has contacted me in regards to #NetNeutrality. Below is the letter I sent to Chairman @AjitPaiFCC today to ensure the continuation of a free and open #internet. pic.twitter.com/oKqh7lxaLI
— Rep. Mike Coffman (@RepMikeCoffman) December 12, 2017
If you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the FCC is even pissing off librarians. All jokes aside, leading CEOs and presidents of New York State public libraries wrote an open letter sharing their concerns for a future with modified internet access. Saying that past provisions preserve the flow of information for all,
The recent proposal by the Federal Communications Commission to abandon current net neutrality rules stands in direct opposition to this vital work. The proposal essentially gives broadband providers financial incentive to govern the openness of the internet, paving the way for models in which consumers pay for priority access, and those who can’t pay are limited to a ‘slow lane.’
The real question remains who is excited about the motive to repeal an open internet? Broadband providers are on the cusp of this threat who for decades have fought to keep regulations light and profits heavy. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is displeased that the responsibilities of monitoring the activity of broadband providers have been forcibly seized under the implication that they were poorly regulated. On top of this, a recent poll taken this week showed that over 80% of Americans are not for the end of net neutrality.
With just one day before FCC’s scheduled vote, everyone seems to be up in arms about the net’s future well-being. Still, it’s important to remember that it is up to legislators, not the FCC, on whether or not this initiative moves forward. However, being that this issue isn’t the only priority on their hands, who knows when they will make the final say. We will have to see how this turns out so stay tuned for tomorrow’s big announcement!
How do you think this will impact the internet and will it be as bad as doomsayers make it out to be? Are you in support or against ending the open net? Let us know what you think by dropping a note.
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