Comedian and political satirist Jordan Klepper, host of Comedy Central’s The Opposition, said on his show a few nights ago, “Net Neutrality isn’t for everyone. It’s not like guns.” Of course, he was being sarcastic. At least I think he was.
I don’t own a gun, but like every one of you who is reading this post, I use the internet. A lot.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is going to vote today on whether or not to repeal “Net Neutrality.” In case you don’t know what that is, it’s a term used to describe a set of regulations designed to ensure that all information flowing over the internet is treated equally. It means companies cannot block websites or offer certain companies faster loading speeds for money. Net Neutrality prohibits internet service providers (ISPs) like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon from speeding up, slowing down, or blocking any content, applications, or websites you want to use.
Here’s a short video that helps explain Net Neutrality and what’s at stake.
If Net Neutrality is rolled back, ISPs would be able to block websites or content they don’t like or applications that compete with their own offerings. For example, now that Verizon owns Yahoo, it could force you to use Yahoo as your search engine. If you wanted to use Google instead, you might have to pay more to use it.
Under President Obama, the FCC adopted strong Net Neutrality rules, giving internet users equal protections. But President Trump wants to roll back everything Obama accomplished while he was president. Because, well, Trump hates Obama.
Trump appointed Ajit Pai as chairman of the FCC, and Pai is on record for wanting to end Net Neutrality. The FCC is made up of five commissioners appointed by the sitting president and right now Republicans have a 3-2 majority. All three of the Republican commissioners are going to vote to repeal Net Neutrality. So today, the FCC is likely to do Trump’s bidding.
This is yet another GOP giveaway to large corporations and the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us. And for those of us who are bloggers, this could also mean the end of the blogosphere as we know it.
So what can we do to protect the internet? Probably not much in the short-term. But in the longer-term, we can vote to get the damn Republicans out of the White House and Congress.