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How Trump Appointee Proposal Undermines Free Expression on the Internet

Bid to Gut Net Neutrality Would be a ‘Serious Blow’

Ajit Pai, Chairman of U.S Federal Communications Commission, delivers his keynote speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 28, 2017.

Next week, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will discuss a proposal to dismantle net neutrality, the principle that telcos can’t impede or push certain content for their own profit, protecting your equal access to the whole internet. The FCC Chair, Ajit Pai, has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which is FCC jargon for ‘draft rules’ the commission will consider at an open meeting on Thursday May 18.

The draft, deceptively named Restoring Internet Freedom, aims to remove net neutrality protections enacted under President Obama’s administration. The proposal seems banal: changing the legal basis for the rules from Title II of the US Communications Act of 1934 to Title I. But that technical change would transform these internet providers from “common carriers” to simply “information services” and in the process eviscerate the FCC’s powers of oversight needed to enforce net neutrality.

Getting rid of net neutrality would allow internet service providers to cut deals with companies and prioritize access to their products and services over others, dealing a serious blow to the right to freedom of expression and to receive and impart information of your choosing.

No surprise then that Pai’s proposal has been subject to intense criticism, and even ridicule. One of the loudest voices in both categories belongs to John Oliver, who delivered a call to arms this Sunday.

If you care about human rights and net neutrality, head over to John’s, which greatly simplifies the FCC’s Kafkaesque comments submission portal and tell the FCC that you oppose Pai’s plan and that it should uphold the existing net neutrality rules as well as their Title II classification necessary to enforce them.

That, or you can leave a comment that you’re in favor of even more corporate control over your right to access information, the choice is yours.

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