Tag Archives: net neutrality

Killing the Goose #NetNeutrality

Well, they did it. The FCC voted 3-2 on party lines to scrap Net Neutrality even though 83% of voters across the board want to keep it, even though scrapping it doesn’t help anyone except the giant cable & phone companies and those they decide to bless with their approval, even though it’s the only thing other than trust preventing those cable & phone companies from placing restrictions on how you use the internet and where you go…and you can surely use your imagination as to how that can be abused.

But you trust your cable company, right?

The fight moves to Congress now. They can still nullify the action through the Congressional Review Act – ironically, the same method they used earlier this year to wipe out privacy rules that the FCC put in place under the last administration.

Write Congress. Call your Senators. Call your Representative. Battle for the Net.

The Internet Needs Your Help

On Thursday, the FCC is planning to vote to allow your cable company to decide which news sites you get to access, which streaming sites you get to use, intercept your search queries, charge you extra for accessing specific sites (even if you already pay a subscription to the site in question), etc.

Oh, they’re not framing it that way of course. They’re framing it as removing an “unnecessary and burdensome” regulation.

But Title II Net Neutrality is the only legal framework in place that’s preventing, say, AT&T from blocking Skype, or Verizon from blocking tethering apps, or Comcast from slowing down Netflix until Netflix paid them extra — all things that happened in the decade leading up to the rule being adopted.

It’s also keeping ISPs from doing what they do in countries that don’t have net neutrality, like offering different internet packages based on which sites you use. Yeah, they look like cable TV packages. It would suck to be a startup company that’s not included in one of those packages, wouldn’t it? Tricky to make any headway against the entrenched giants.

And just think what might happen if a cable company decided to downgrade (or even paywall) access to news sites or organizations or discussion forums or activist groups that they don’t like, while making it easier to connect to those that they do approve of.

“Please, the Internet was fine before it, so why do we need it?” The Internet was built on the principle. It only became an official, legal requirement after ISPs started violating it, and even then it took several tries to build a requirement that held up in court. And phone companies are still trying to push the envelope with bundling and zero rating.

“But competition will solve it!” Really? How much competition is there when you only have two choices for your ISP, the local cable company or the local phone company, both of which are giant conglomerates — and both of which have violated net neutrality in the past?

“The FTC can regulate it!” Nope, we tried that. Verizon sued for the right to arbitrarily block websites and won, which is why the FCC reclassified internet providers under Title II a few years later.

“This is a matter for the states. Let them handle it.” Verizon and Comcast are lobbying for the FCC’s decision to ban states from creating their own net neutrality rules.

Net Neutrality solves a real problem, and while we may be able to find better solutions, that’s no reason to throw out the solution we have today. Congress can stop the FCC from voting tomorrow, but only if they hear from you today! Go to Battle For the Net and call your Representative and Senators before the FCC votes to sell us all out in favor of your cable company.

Groot, Guardian of the Internet

Groot reminds us that Net Neutrality is critical to internet freedom, and we should call Congress TODAY, before Thursday’s FCC vote to eliminate the only thing preventing your cable or phone company from blocking competition, burying news they don’t like, and shaking down startups.

Unless you trust your cable company to have your best interests at heart, head over to Battle for the Net and get Congress to remind the FCC that they work for you, not Verizon and Comcast.

Amazing what Groot can fit into just three words, isn’t it? 😉

Battle for the Net: Help Keep the Internet Open!

The FCC wants to eliminate net neutrality, the principle that ISPs should treat all traffic the same, and not block, throttle, or promote data based on what service you’re using or who you’re connecting to. But we can stop them.

What’s Net Neutrality? Simple: your cable company shouldn’t decide where you get your news, what businesses you buy from, which video chat services and streaming services you use, or who you talk to.

Why do we need it? It used to be an unofficial rule, underlying the way the Internet was built over the years, until ISPs started to break it. For example:

  • Multiple ISPs intercepted search queries and sent them to their own portals.
  • AT&T blocked Skype on the iPhone.
  • Verizon blocked tethering apps.
  • Multiple carriers blocked Google Wallet in favor of their own payment services.

In 2015, after a public advocacy campaign, the FCC made it official: ISPs in the United States are now required to treat all traffic equally.

So what’s the problem? There’s a new chairman in charge, and he wants to remove the rule.

No doubt cable and phone companies will go back to their old tricks. Plus they could slow down access to news sites that disagree with them, or charge websites extra for the privilege of reaching their audience (when they already pay for their upload connection), or slow down services owned by competitors (consider: Verizon owns Tumblr and Flickr now, and Comcast owns NBC) in favor of their own.

That’s right: free speech, fair competition, and the price you pay for your internet service are all protected by net neutrality.

Rolling back net neutrality doesn’t help you, doesn’t help business, doesn’t help anyone but the existing carriers.

That’s why I’m joining the Battle for the Net — and you can, too. The FCC’s public comment period is still open. Contact the FCC and Congress (here’s a form), and tell them why Net Neutrality matters to you. Then spread the word.

Keeping the internet open is critical. Let’s work to keep it!

Why Net Neutrality Matters

The FCC wants to abolish “net neutrality”, which states that ISPs should treat all traffic the same, and not block, throttle, or promote data based on what service you’re using or who you’re connecting to.

In short: Your cable company shouldn’t decide where you get your news, what businesses you buy from, which video chat services and streaming services you use, or who you talk to.

ISPs are people’s and businesses’ gateway to the internet. They shouldn’t also be gatekeepers. Net Neutrality protects free speech, communication, and economic activity that could otherwise be limited or adjusted to push a carrier’s own agenda at the expense of alternate views, create barriers to competition and innovation, and further entrench existing monopolies. The internet works best when it’s allowed to innovate at the edges, rather than locking us all into a near-monopoly’s choices.

This isn’t a hypothetical problem: ISPs have violated net neutrality in the past. ISPs have intercepted search queries and redirected them to their own portals. AT&T once forced Apple to block Skype on the iPhone. Verizon used to block tethering apps. Multiple carriers blocked Google Wallet in favor of their own payment services.

We fought this battle years ago. And now we have to fight it again. The FCC’s plan to roll back net neutrality doesn’t help subscribers, doesn’t help businesses, doesn’t help startups, doesn’t help publishers, doesn’t help you — doesn’t help anyone except the existing carriers and those they might decide to prop up.

I sent the third paragraph (minus the link) as a comment to the FCC through this Free Press Action Fund petition. Mozilla also has a petition, and is collecting voicemails to forward to the FCC before the May 18 meeting. So far they’re up to 50 hours’ worth of audio!

UPDATE! On July 12, 2017, the internet will come together again. Like the SOPA blackout in 2012, and the Internet Slowdown in 2014, everyone from tech companies to small websites to individuals will sound the alarm. Learn more and join the protest at the Battle for the Net.