As of today, Tuesday, November 21st, the American Federal Communications Commission has officially decided to kill Net Neutrality, an action which will cause global repercussions if followed through, and I guarantee that if you don’t live in the U.S., you’ll still feel it. At this point, if you don’t know what Net Neutrality is, you probably haven’t been paying very much attention. Net Neutrality, something that was established under Barack Obama, allows the internet as we know it to function. Net Neutrality essentially means that no individual or organization can screw with your access to the internet, and that anyone who has access to the internet can access all of the internet, not just the ones large corporations want you to see.
(If you already know what Net Neutrality is, skip the next three paragraphs.)
Without Net Neutrality laws in place, our site dies. Smaller sites, such as ourselves, who can’t shell out the millions or possibly billions of dollars to pay for bandwidth on various ISPs, or Internet Service Providers, will die off. Since our connections are “throttled”, or even cut off altogether, no one on the internet will be able to hear what we say or see all the hard work we put into writing these articles. Our voices will be silenced, and everything that we and many other small websites are trying to build will be stifled by our almost-fascist capitalist environment.
Other websites, who can afford to pay, will be offered “fast lanes”, where their content is pushed to the top, is made faster to access, and is most importantly available and uncensored. And it’s not even just for websites such as ours, since any corporation will be able to pay to pump information directly into your brain.
Say, for example, that EA is putting out a new game, that they know will make them a lot of money. It’s full of micro-transactions and squeezes you for every cent that you have. Now say that an indie developer wants to release a game like Cuphead, one which has very little funding but is amazing enough to rival EA’s top games. Because of EA’s standing, and because of the FCC, Cuphead never makes it to market. Cuphead never sees the light of day, and no one ever even knew Cuphead existed. EA pays to have Cuphead basically assassinated, and there is nothing that anyone can ever do about it.
So why is this happening? Well, last year, when the American People voted for Hillary Clinton and, logically, she did not become president, Donald Trump appointed Ajit Pai to lead the FCC. The biggest concern leading from this appointment is that Ajit Pai used to be Associate General Counsel at Verizon! He handled regulatory issues, which means he was literally in charge of finding legal ways around regulatory laws for one of the biggest telecommunications companies in the U.S. And now that he’s in power, he can do that job even better by removing those laws altogether. Not even large corporations like Apple, Google, or Microsoft are in favor of removing Net Neutrality because they don’t want to have an unfair competition between them. It’s just the ISPs, who want to squeeze even more money out of you.
So what can we do? If you live in the United States, go to www.battleforthenet.com and contact your representatives. Make sure they know that you do not want this and that you are in the majority.
And rest assured, you are in the majority.
Write to your congress-people, spread the word, or even stage a public demonstration. The very foundations of our democracy have not been dismantled completely. Cite the first and ninth amendments, and be prepared to defend your right to information, to knowledge, and to expanding your mind and experiencing all that the internet has to offer. Hell, my AP Government teacher gave me a pocket U.S. Constitution in high school, and I still carry it with me everywhere:
You can get a copy from here, courtesy of the ACLU, or the Hillsdale College is giving away ones for free if you want to wait 4-6 weeks. If you live outside of the U.S, you can do the same in your own locality, because once the U.S. falls, your countries will realize that they can get away with it too.
To Ajit Pai, and to everyone who thinks that we’ll roll over without a fight:
You do not own us. You never will.