How to Call Your Representatives in Congress to Protect Net Neutrality
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its proposal to overturn the landmark net neutrality rules last week. The rules - among other things - prohibit internet providers from preferring their own content and services over any competitors. Considering the importance of internet for economy and education, under the net neutrality rules internet is considered as a public utility, similar to electricity or phone lines. The new proposal outlined by the Chairman of FCC, Ajit Pai, sets to reclassify broadband internet service as an information service thereby removing the regulations and protections that come under Title II.
Consumer rights groups and internet freedom activists have been urging everyone to read the draft (link here) to see first hand how it can affect the end user and their freedom. The new FCC administration is known for working for big corporations, having already passed rules that empower ISPs to sell consumer data without user consent. While FCC may be the agency that pushes forward these draconian rules, they are then moved to the Senate and Congress to approve these changes.
Consumer rights advocates are asking the American public to reach out to their representatives
We have previously seen how much cash the 265 congressmen made when the Congress and Senate voted to sell user data to ISPs. "So blatant is the corporate-donor servitude here that there’s no pretext even available for pretending this benefits ordinary citizens,” The Intercept had said at the time.
"It’s a bill written exclusively by and for a small number of corporate giants exclusively for their commercial benefit at the expense of everyone else."
The same is true for the latest focus on killing net neutrality. It favors no one but the corporations for whom Ajit Pai has been working for over the past several years as a top lawyer. While the internet forums have yet again been used to make this a partisan issue, it is not. It is about consumers and corporations as the repeal of net neutrality hurts the very foundation of the internet - freedom and openness.
— ACLU (@ACLU) July 12, 2017
Once passed, the new rules would enable ISPs to create fast lanes and impact startups and smaller businesses. While YouTubes and Netflixes will survive, get ready to say goodbye to the new groundbreaking products being developed in the basements as they will have to pay for those fast lanes to get the same reach. Chairman Pai, however, believes that this proposal will actually help startups get more money from their investors.
The Commission has also openly admitted to disregarding public comment because it wasn't "legal" enough and has said that over 7 million of the comments made by the public were fake. It also refuses to cooperate with the law enforcement or give access to the systems, raising questions about the legality of this entire process.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, one of the many rights groups that played a critical role in pushing for net neutrality rules, is now asking the American public to lobby members of Congress.
EFF and the American Civil Liberties Union are asking the public to hold their elected representatives accountable. "Under Pai’s plan, the FCC would relinquish its authority to enforce its common-sense, light-touch net neutrality rules, thus giving ISPs free rein to engage in unfair practices like site blocking and throttling," the not-for-profit organization said.
"Please tell your members of Congress to oppose efforts to roll back net neutrality protections."
While public comment period has ended, you can send a message to Congress via EFF. Don't know the name of your representatives? Enter the street address and the tool will automatically send the message to your reps.
Alternatively, you can also use ACLU's tool to reach out to the lawmakers.