Over the past couple years, net neutrality has been something of a hot topic across, well, pretty much the entire internet—which makes sense, considering that the ecosystem of the internet as we know it has been pretty much entirely determined by net neutrality. In brief, net neutrality is the idea that internet access should be treated like a utility akin to electricity or gas, and internet users should be able to access any website they want as long as it's not illegal. Whether or not you've been paying attention, your lifelong relationship to the internet has been more or less entirely determined by net neutrality.
In 2015, the Obama administration instituted regulatory guidelines protecting net neutrality in what was considered a win for free speech and the public interest. Under net neutrality, internet providers like ATT and Comcast can't slow or block access to websites according to corporate preference.
This morning, Trump-appointed F.C.C. chairman Ajit Pai announced his proposal to repeal the 2015 net neutrality guidelines, thereby ending net neutrality as we know it. "The proposal from Mr. Pai, a Republican, is widely expected to be approved during a Dec. 14 meeting in a 3-to-2 party line vote from the agency’s five commissioners," reported the New York Times earlier today.
I'm not going to sugar-coat it: this is bad news. If this proposal passes, it could pave the way to corporate censorship. By granting service providers the power to control what we can and cannot do on the internet, the F.C.C. is giving them an immense amount of control over our lives. In 2017, internet is far more than a luxury—Americans use the internet to find jobs, keep in touch with their families, and pay their bills. Jeopardizing reliable internet access effectively endangers the public.
Fortunately, there's still time! As mentioned above, the vote to approve Pai's proposal is expected to take place on December 14. So if you enjoy your internet the way it is, there's still time to pressure the F.C.C. to reconsider. I don't think it's exaggerating to say that the shape of our society depends on it.
Wanna get involved? Here's how: