12 July 2017 - Battle for the Net!

Jun 23, 2017

On 12 July 2017, websites, Internet users, and online communities will come together to sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality. Learn how you can join the protest and spread the word at https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12.

As of right now, new FCC Chairman and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai (local mirror) has a plan to destroy net neutrality and give big cable companies immense control over what we see and do online. If they get their way the FCC will give companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T control over what we can see and do on the Internet, with the power to slow down or block websites and charge apps and sites extra fees to reach an audience.  We're also seeing some shenanagains taking place, in the form of tens of thousands of fraudulent comments being entered on the FCC website. (one, two, three)  Funnily enough, all of the comments are exactly identical.  I sure as hell didn't post a comment saying that net.neutrality was a bad thing, and I've never been a customer of Comcast.  I also don't live in Seattle. (local mirrorYou might want to check to see if your name is in there without your permission, too.  Additionally, properties of some of the bigger ISPs (such as Tumblr, owned by Verizon) are being pressured internally to not support net.neutrality or July 12. (local mirror)

If we lose net neutrality, we could soon face an Internet where some of your favorite websites are forced into a slow lane online, while deep-pocketed companies who can afford expensive new “prioritization” fees have special fast lane access to Internet users - tilting the playing field in their favor.  We could also be facing a Net in which little websites like mine will not exist for all intents and purposes because folks like me won't have the money to even buy into the "slow lanes" of throttled Internet access.  We may even be facing a Net in which censorship of "inconvenient" websites may be imposed under the guise of failure to pay or not falling into one of the defined content types required to buy into one of the speed classes.

But, on July 12th, the Internet will come together to stop them. Websites, Internet users, and online communities will stand tall, and sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality.

The Battle for the Net campaign will provide tools for everyone to make it super easy for your friends, family, followers to take action. From the SOPA blackout to the Internet Slowdown, we've shown time and time again that when the Internet comes together, we can stop censorship and corruption. Now, we have to do it again!

Learn more and join the action here: https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12

Net Neutrality and you.

Mar 04, 2017

You may or may not have noticed amongst the blizzard of other stuff that's happened in the last two weeks that Donald Trump appointed Ajit Pai to the chairmanship of the Federal Communications Commission.  Pai has a history of being something of a contrarian; during his time as one of the five commissioners of the FCC, he repeatedly spoke against regulations that protected the consumer and was against diverse media ownership (since the 1980's, we went from 50 media companies to just six).  Time and again Pai's said that he was going to tear down regulation after regulation that the FCC was responsible for enforcing, and so far he has a track record of making that happen, albeit piece by piece and not all at once. 

But what does this mean?

Net Neutrality is the legal state in which every Internet Service Provider out there has to provide the same kind of service for all of its users to every online service out there.  In other words, the Net is treated like a basic utility, no different from water or electricity.  If a provider gets caught monkeying with its service to privilege some company over another, they can get fined.  A number of large service providers, including Comcast and AT&T, pledged publicaly that they'd adhere to the terms of Net Neutrality until a certain future date.  That's pretty much it.

Let's look at a world in which net.neutrality is a thing in the United States, which it still seems to be as of the time I wrote this article: