If you ever cared about freedom online, now’s the time

Save the internet

Right now, the FCC plans to destroy net neutrality in June.

But Congress is voting to overrule FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s  assault on the free and open internet.

The vote is on Wednesday, and we don’t yet know exactly when – Senate majority leader Kevin McCarthy hasn’t published a schedule for Wednesday to his website yet.

Every Democrat in Congress has already agreed to vote in favor of restoring net neutrality. So far only one Republican has crossed the house to join them.

So to what extent is this a partisan issue?

Trying to make net neutrality look like an us-vs-them fight is a trick. The regulations of net neutrality don’t force anyone to do anything on the web. Instead, they stop the people who own the infrastructure the web runs on from meddling in how it runs.

Don’t let anyone tell you net neutrality is about stifling innovation – every innovator out there, from hackers to startups to the guy who literally invented the internet, disagrees.

Tim Berners Lee for Net Neutrality(Source)

And don’t let anyone tell you net neutrality stops American businesses from competing or being successful.

Massive corporations that depend on the net for their very existence are lining up to slate the FCC for attacking the free and open internet.

Google says it ‘remains committed to the net neutrality policies that enjoy overwhelming public support’:


(They even built a website about it.)

Netflix says it’s ‘disappointed in the decision to gut Net Neutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity & civic engagement’:

Mozilla – who make the FireFox browser, among other things – said:(Source)

Even Twitter weighed in:


‘A body blow to innovation and free expression.’

So what about the little guy?

It’s all very well that inventors and corps love net neutrality.

What does it mean for small businesses – the businesses that make up about half the economy of the USA, including 49% of private-sector employment, 33% of the tech sector and 33% of America’s exports by dollar value?

Here’s what Senate Democratic Leader Leader Chuck Schumer had to say about that:

‘The repeal of net neutrality is not only a blow to the average consumer, but it is a blow to public schools, rural Americans, communities of color and small businesses.‘

Sounds bad. But that’s the Dem leader speaking. Is he even close to being right, or is he just trying to give the other side of the house a bloody nose?

A group of more than 1000 American startups don’t think so. They think exactly the same as Schumer, especially on the issue of small businesses:(Source)

Academics and venture capitalists agree. In December of last year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s blog, Technology Review, featured a post that started this way:


The author, Martin Giles, led research and publishing at a venture capital firm focused on business technology for several years before joining the Review.

Legal officers say the same.

New York’s Attorney General promised to sue to prevent what he called the ‘illegal rollback’ of net neutrality:


And inside the FCC, two dissenters sang a similar song.

Here’s the longest serving commissioner at the FCC, Mignon Clyburn:

‘Particularly damning is what today’s repeal will mean for marginalized groups, like communities of color, that rely on platforms like the internet to communicate, because traditional outlets do not consider their issues or concerns, worthy of any coverage.’

Fellow dissenter Jessica Rosenworcel said:(Source)

Both dissenters are Democrats; the FCC vote was entirely along partisan lines.

But once again, this isn’t politics as usual. And it’s not a question of big-government Dems trying to keep Obama regulations in place to stifle freedom.

Whoever tells you that is lying to you.

That’s why Google, Twitter, Mozilla, commissioners from the FCC, Attorneys General and everyone who has any idea what they’re talking about are all warning of the same dire consequences of abandoning net neutrality.

If net neutrality does go, it’s the end of the free and open internet. The corporations that control the net’s infrastructure will be able to:

Sell faster and slower packages on top of their regular subscription charges

…locking low-income Americans out of the net and chipping away at the already-stretched budgets of America’s public schools.

Throttle bandwidth (slow down your internet) whenever they like

A disaster for rural Americans who already have slow, unreliable internet.

Decide which websites you are and are not allowed to visit

This is the biggie for the ordinary American who believes in freedom of speech. With net neutrality, you read, watch, hear and see what you damn well please. Without it, Verizon, ComCast and AT&T get to play Mommy.

Sell traffic to specific websites

Got a website? Want traffic? Put your hand in your pocket. If you’re a small business, good luck outbidding the established giants in your field. No net neutrality means an end to open commercial competition on the internet. American small businesses will be sharecroppers to their ISPs.

Do they want to, though? Aren’t these just scare tactics?

Here’s what ComCast told us before the FCC decided to destroy the free and open internet:

And here’s what they changed that to the very day the FCC announced it would trash net neutrality:(Source)

See what’s missing?

The promises about not throttling the speed you get to see content, not creating paid fast lanes, inspiring communities, creating jobs, and making the internet accessible to low income families?

All gone.

Most importantly of all, the promise not to block access to lawful content is gone too.

That’s the net, without net neutrality. Don’t let your ISP tell you different.

So, if you like an internet where you can do what the hell you like, without your ISP’s say-so, it’s time to call, email and generally pester your Congressperson.

Because red or blue, they work for you – and they should be in there on Wednesday, fighting for your right to a free and open internet.

But it’s up to you to tell them that, in a way they can’t ignore.

Here’s how to get on your Congressperson’s case and help them do the right thing:

1: You can tweet them or Facebook them if you like but it’s not that effective:


2: What’s better is to email, but better yet is to write to the local office in your state rather than in DC.


3: Best of all? Pick up the phone and call.(Source)

So, get on the phone, chase up your Congressperson and tell them to fight for your right to a free and open internet. Let’s turn up the heat under the people who represent us!

Here’s how to call them:

Go here: 


Drop your Zip code in to the search box:
Click ‘Submit’

It’s Senators, rather than Representatives, who are voting on net neutrality on Wednesday, so you want to pick from the menu at the bottom.Click on your Senator’s name – each state has two, and they’re both responsible to you, so call both – and you’ll see their phone number and other contact details:
Pick up the phone and make that call. It’s your internet.

Don’t let them take it away.

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