You are reading this on the internet, and – for now at least – no one forced you into the slow lane to get here.
But that might all be about to change – unless you raise your voice in protest.
The United States’ Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering a proposal by its chair, Ajit Pai, that would gut net neutrality, the principle that internet providers must treat all traffic equally.
Treating internet traffic equally means that you can access Human Rights Watch’s website at the same speed as you access the New York Times, or Google, or your favorite cat blog – and all for the same price. Pai’s proposal would take away the FCC’s power to enforce this principle which would gut net neutrality, allow internet service providers to monetize prioritized traffic through deals with companies, and ultimately limit your human rights to freedom of expression and access to information.
Since the FCC comment period on Pai’s proposal began, there has been an outpouring of support for the 2015 Open Internet Rules, culminating on July 12 of this year, when internet users came together for a day of action to save net neutrality. Last week, Democratic lawmakers joined the staggering 18 million comments submitted, and also requested an extension of the comment period deadline.
Now the public comment period is coming to an end, and you need to do two things by August 16 if you want to protect the open internet. The first is to head over to TV host John Oliver’s http://gofccyourself.com/, where you can tell the FCC to uphold the existing net neutrality rules as well as the necessary legal classification, known as Title II, to enforce them. The second is to call your Congressional representatives and tell them to hold the FCC accountable to the public demand for net neutrality.
Suggested script for calls to representatives:
“Dear Member of Congress: The American public, and your constituents (including me) demand that the proposal by Ajit Pai to eliminate net neutrality be rejected. Chairman Pai shows no sign of responsiveness – which is why we need our Congressional leaders to insist to the FCC that the public voice be heard and the open, equal internet be defended. I am counting on you to send the message loud and clear to the FCC that net neutrality is a cornerstone of human rights and the economy and must be protected by the government of this nation.”