Unless the tech industry rallies internet users across the nation to rise up in force, the online world as we know it will be no more by as early as mid-August.
In its place will be a system in which consumer privacy protections are decimated and internet service providers will have a free hand to block or give preference to web sites at will.
By acting in force, we mean massive numbers of internet users expressing their outrage and tech firms such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix using their web sites to show the world what the internet will look like without net neutrality.The campaign needs to be strong enough to get President Trump’s and the Federal Communications Commission’s full attention.
Perhaps Twitter can shut down during the president’s favorite times to tweet.
The White House on Tuesday announced its support for killing net neutrality, the basic concept that made the internet a force for innovation by requiring service providers to treat all internet traffic equally.
That’s right. Trump and FCC Chair Ajit Pai are willing to put at risk an industry that has generated more than 6 million jobs and equates to 6 percent of the U.S. economy.
Pai, a former Verizon attorney, first announced the FCC’s plans to roll back net neutrality regulations in April. The agency is holding a public comment period that ends Aug. 16 before commissioners take a final vote. To submit a comment, go to https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings.
An organized “Day of Action for Net Neutrality” took place July 12, with 10 million participants. That may sound like a lot of people, but given the size of the Internet community, it’s a blip on the FCC’s radar. Ten times that number will be needed to get the job done.
Broadband providers such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&E have been trying for years to get rid of the regulations they say limit their ability to rake in the highest profits possible — at the expense of startup companies that could turn into the next Google or Facebook.
Under the proposed regulatory change, broadband providers also would no longer be prevented from collecting and selling users’ browsing histories at the expense of consumers’ privacy.
Comcast, which last year raked in nearly $9 billion in net profits, argued earlier this week that net neutrality has been hurting innovation since 2011. But Comcast pooh-poohed the impact with investors in 2015, telling them that its capital expenditures and investments had continued to show significant growth.
Net neutrality rules were designed to protect consumers’ privacy and allow innovators to create content and services online that can compete with existing successful companies. If providers can charge premiums for high speed delivery that only big companies can pay, startups will never break into the market, no matter how much better their products are.
The tech industry and Internet users need to rise up and stop President Trump and the FCC from taking control of the Internet from the people and handing it to broadband providers.