There are so many interesting facets of the Federal Communications Commission decision to overturn the net neutrality rules that were keeping the internet open. One of those interesting facets is that when it decided to do that, they also decided to over-ride the wishes of individual states. In their decision, they included a provision that would ban states from restoring consumer protection by passing their own net neutrality laws. This is a smart move on part of the FCC. But it’s still an incredibly low thing to do, regardless. There are some states, like New York, who are finding workarounds, but Washington state has decided to simply defy the FCC and pass their own law.
I feel very supportive of this idea. Where it will go, remains to be seen. The fact that they’re throwing their hat in the ring in an attempt to take on the FCC is what I think is incredible. Even if they don’t win, they will go down fighting against these ridiculous rules. CNET reports:
The law, signed on Monday by Gov. Jay Inslee, prohibits internet service providers from blocking or slowing down web content. The law comes about three months after the FCC voted to dismantle rules that ensured all traffic on the internet is treated equally and prevented broadband and wireless providers from blocking or slowing online content.
“We’ve seen the power of an open internet. It allows a student in Washington to connect with researchers all around the world – or a small business to compete in the global marketplace,” Inslee said in a statement. “It’s allowed the free flow of information and ideas in one of the greatest demonstrations of free speech in our history.”
I also find this ironic, and a bit humorous. I mean, the FCC imposed this decision, in spite of widespread protesting and objections from almost every tech giant out there – including Google, Apple, and Amazon. As well as many tech pioneers themselves. So yeah – it’s interesting to see a state taking on the FCC and throwing their own rules back in their face. While some of the other states have fought back in the courts, and through executive orders. Washington is the first state to pass their own net neutrality law. I also find this humorous, because this is in direct violation of the repeal rules themselves.
Outside of Internet Service Providers, the only group of people who are happy about the loss of net neutrality rules is companies offering Virtual Private Networks (VPN). A VPN allows consumers to bypass any selective throttling of their own bandwidth by making it impossible for an IS to see which sites you are visiting, or what you are doing there. I don’t really want to say it out loud, but I will anyway. If VPN companies are one of the only ones to benefit from this repeal, does that mean that they will be the next to be banned? And if they are, shouldn’t we really think long and hard about what kind of country that we live in? How is this much control really acceptable? I, for one, am looking forward to seeing how Washington fares in this battle.