Latest From the Front – Net Neutrality

In case anyone forgot, the battle against net neutrality is still being waged. Just recently, nine senators have put forward a bill which is essentially identical to the one the same proposed in 2016 -which was shot down-. What this bill would do is strip the FCC of its ability to classify Internet Service Providers as common carriers. In a sick perversion, they have named this bill the “Restoring Internet Freedom Act.”

Restoring what we never lost

The whimsical search for previous American grandeur is an extremely common Mandela effect lately. Regardless of political leanings, the Internet has become an increasingly less free place with the addition of these sorts of bills.

Disabling the FCC from being able to label ISPs as common carriers in the future denies you as a consumer and human from fair and affordable access to something the UN has called a Human Right: Internet Access. Common carriers and utility companies have to be somewhat reined in by governments, but this is in the interest of preserving your rights to water, electricity, heating, and the Internet. Naming this bill to claim restorative efforts is nothing short of deliberately misleading.

Potential consequences you should be aware of

By granting ISPs greater autonomy -via an astounding lack of oversight-, the US may be shooting itself in the foot. ISPs have already made clear that they have no interest in preserving the rights of their users. Chairman Pai made clear last week that his intention was to strike down the 2015 rules which forced ISPs to treat all internet traffic equally. These things together add up to a rather worrying conclusion: not only will your fair access to the Internet be hurt, but so will your first amendment rights to free speech.

If an ISP does not have to treat all traffic equally, any company, website, blog, or other outlet of free speech can be intentionally slowed. Let’s take a hypothetical scenario where a giant ISP is made aware of a website overtly criticizing the company of its interests. Under this new bill the ISP would be able to bring traffic to and from that site to a grinding halt. It does not stop someone from posting on that site, nor does it take down the site, but information (speech) is useless without anyone to hear it.

So constitutional rights are now potentially under attack. There are few nicer ways to present that fact. The businesses that want this bill to pass and those are influencing its success -via lobbying, etc- do not have an allegiance to nations, nor its citizens. Any body infringing on your rights -especially one as crucial as free speech- should be greeted with demonstration of your displeasure with those efforts.

Speak up, while you can

Generally speaking I like to have open conversations about both sides of a debate and do my best to see the other side. With this, I cannot see an upside for citizens. This is not a question about who should control the interests of a state vs a federal government, it appears to be a question of who gets to control your speech. The answer to that is and always should be no one. Do your best to protect the internet and your freedom of speech, since it does not appear this congress or administration will.

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