Day 17 – October 18th
Another day, another way to screw over American consumers, am I right? Ajit Pai, the current chairman of the FCC and former Verizon lawyer (what, conflict of interest…what is that?!) is expected to circulate the text of his rule and announce a vote to undercut net neutrality in this country on November 22nd – right before Thanksgiving.
For those of you who don’t know what gutting net neutrality would do for our country, in a nutshell, it would prevent companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T (ISPs) from charging extra fees to access certain sites, it would allow them to completely monitor what we are allowed to see and do online, and it would give them free rein to throttle, block, and censor any sites, apps, games, streaming services, you name it, that they want.
Binging Stranger Things on Netflix? That will be an extra fee + we are going to dial back your connection so you don’t use as much data – sorry.
Playing Civ 6 on high-resolution? Yikes, we are going to have to charge you a service fee to unlock that 4k connection that is already built into your wi-fi plan.
Expressing your right of free speech by criticizing ISPs and the control they have on corrupt government employees like Ajit Pai? Man, it sucks that all the traffic to your website was suddenly redirected!
If those examples sound ridiculous, they are not. Getting rid of net neutrality is a slippery slope that will allow ISPs – who, by the way, already act like monopolistic players in most markets due to lobbying efforts to stop the rise of any new competition – to control how each American can utilize the internet. Think about that for a second. Most Americans already get most of their news and information from the web. If certain private players are allowed to dictate what we can or cannot do and see, they can control the flow of information and news in an unprecedented way – all the while increasing their EPS and overall profitability.
On top of that, to push for a vote the day before a national holiday is basically corrupt politician 101. Pai is obviously trying to slip the vote in when people are least likely to pay attention to avoid a backlash in the news cycles. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump made an outrageous Tweet a day before to steal the news cycle and make sure that the net neutrality story is 100% buried. This is classic misdirection and it has been an extremely successful tactic for Trump and his administration during his tenure so far.
But despite all the bad news, there is something that you can do. Several groups that are fighting for net neutrality – Fight For the Future, Demand Progress, and Freepress Action Fund – have created a website that has many resources and tools to help get your voice to the politicians that can save/kill net neutrality.
Specifically, there is an easy click-to-call tool that is set up here, and banners/graphics that you can find here. The best chance that we have to save net neutrality in America is to voice our opinions to our politicians in DC right now, so please make the call and share the graphics everywhere you can online. This is that important.