We all know that things are changing. Especially when it comes to how we communicate. No one knows this better than people in the United State right now because of the recent net neutrality rules. Or lack thereof, as it were. The FCC vote to repeal Title II protections is this coming Thursday. Web-based protests are kicking off in response. Some of the biggest pioneers of tech jumped in on Monday in order to give those protests a bump. But the difference now is that it may be the last time we’ll see these kinds of calls to action.
FCC rules that help ensure telecoms treat all web traffic equally are under threat. In fact, the rules are perpetually under threat by telecoms. The telecoms swear that they don’t want to block, slow down, or discriminate against any particular content; they just want the option to do it. According to at least one recent study, telcoms have “spent $572 million on attempts to influence the FCC and other government agencies since 2008,” so they can have this option they don’t intend on using. The only reasonable conclusion one can come to is that they fully intend on doing everything they say they won’t.
This week’s “Break the Internet” protests are similar to the “Internet Slowdown Day” and “Internet Blackout Day”. As with those protests, the activist group Fight for the Future is behind the organizing. The idea is also the same—companies and individuals demonstrate what the web would be like without net neutrality. In the past, companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook have changed their logos, caused pages to load slowly, or throw up fake pop-ups that scare users by asking for extra money to access the website. This has worked before, and floods of calls to politicians have curtailed legislation that would harm the internet. But I think we’re too tired for this. Fewer big companies are making a stink anyway.
Enter you – the average citizen who wants to do right in the world. Fight for the Future has a website that helps you join in the protest. It also offers tips and asks you to write to your representatives. The effort will last for 48 hours starting on Tuesday, December 12. There are a few ways to register your voice, like changing your Facebook status to married and listing your partner as “net neutrality.” But the most effective thing you can do is to tell corporations like Apple, Amazon, and Twitter to join Break the Internet.
Unfortunately, it looks like this might go through whether you like it or not. However, if enough people are making noise about it, there’s a possibility that it will be blocked. Don’t count on that one though. I’m not trying to be negative, but this is just bad news all around with no real way to stop it. Which is too bad. We live in a democratic nation, and yet this isn’t the choice of the people. As someone who works in government, I understand that decisions are difficult to make sometimes. People can’t generally see what will benefit them. But this isn’t one of those decisions. This will literally benefit no one, except, maybe the corporations.