FCC Wants Your Comments on Their Plan to Kill Net Neutrality. You Know What to Do.
Donald Trump’s FCC chair, Ajit Pai, has moved forward with introducing a plan to roll back 2015’s “Title II” reclassification for broadband Internet that deemed it a public utility and, in simple terms, ensured that Internet service providers would have to treat all data on their network equally. Just like before, they’re open for comments on the matter, and we all remember how that played out last time, right?
… Right? A ton of people flooded the FCC with comments asking them to move forward with Title II—so many that they had to ask for help in parsing them all. It may have seemed like that was the end of the fight at the time, and net neutrality may feel like it’s far from the biggest political issue facing us right now, but that’s probably what Pai is banking on to get this done without much backlash.
The proposal so far is fairly vague about what it’d actually do (despite its length), but its primary function is tossing out the Title II reclassification and setting up some other form of regulation. Pai has previously said that should be closer to how Internet-based companies that don’t control users’ actual connection to the Internet are regulated, which is silly considering how different the two types of entities are and the relative power they wield.
The new proposal also requests comment specifically on the issues of throttling and blocking data from certain sites and services, as well as paid prioritization of data. Basically, despite claims that these regulatory changes would be good for the Internet, the FCC would absolutely consider allowing ISPs to pick and choose what sites and services get preferential treatment on their networks, rather than users resting easy in the knowledge that the entire Internet will be treated the same by their ISP.
If it weren’t something we were so deeply against, it would be kind of funny that Pai, who’s previously complained that specific, separate regulation for ISPs is confusing to consumers, would potentially implement a plan that creates a much more complicated system of what people are getting when they pay for Internet service. With Internet providers forced to treat all data equally, I really doubt too many consumers are even paying enough attention to be confused, but they might have to if we let ISPs start messing with Internet traffic.
The FCC has warned that “malicious attacks” may befall their system once the public comments open up, and we’re guessing that by “malicious attacks” they mean “a bunch of people all angry at the FCC at the same time and sending a very clear message.” The time has come again to what you do best, Internet trolls.
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