Do Your Thing, Internet Trolls: It’s Time to Defend Net Neutrality Again, Because Time Is a Flat Circle
It's 2014 again! QUICK, warn everyone about the 2016 election!
A few years back, John Oliver called on the Internet to do what it does best: comment endlessly on something to a point of unimaginable over-saturation. Whether that worked or the FCC would’ve done the right thing without Oliver’s help, broadband Internet providers were reclassified as “Title II” common carriers, but that reclassification is back under attack now that the FCC is under the control of someone who believes giant corporations have the people’s best interests at heart.
So, Oliver is back at it, too. This time, he’s facilitating the ire of the Internet’s comment-happy hordes with a dedicated domain at gofccyourself.com, which redirects to the FCC’s public comment site for their new proposal to strip that classification. Like last time Oliver directed viewers to let the FCC know how they felt about the regulatory commission’s plans, it appears that his antics have already caused problems for the FCC’s site, which probably sends about as clear a message as the actual comments do. (As of this writing, the FCC comment site is loading really slowly for me, but it does appear to be actually loading, so go ahead and make yourself heard.)
That’s probably because Ajit Pai, Donald Trump’s FCC head, has wrongly claimed that the reclassification hurt broadband investment, when that’s not the case (as admitted by broadband providers themselves). He’s also made the case that having ISPs regulated by FCC common carrier rules while other Internet companies—which provide markedly different services—fall under the FTC’s purview is confusing to consumers who aren’t quite so savvy about how these things work, even though it’s incredibly weird to strip away consumer protections just because some consumers may not understand them. It’s especially weird when you consider that what Pai wants to do could allow ISPs to implement significantly more complex pricing structures that could be way more confusing for consumers, which those consumers actually would have to understand in order to make good choices.
Maybe we can prevent that from happening. So far, Pai’s FCC (whether or not they actually plan on listening) is still seeking input on whether or not to remove “Title II” classification, along with what rules would need to be in place to protect the Internet in the event of its removal. Do your thing, Internet trolls, and tell the FCC that you don’t want them to make it even easier for ISPs, which have a stranglehold on an incredibly important modern utility, to line their pockets at the expense of what’s best for consumers.
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