Imagine that Donald Trump could control what people saw on the internet. He has already shown us how much he dislikes any network that disagrees with him, so he could kill off the internet as we know it.
We like to go online anywhere we want, right? What if we no longer could control our internet experience? What if Trump could block any company or individual who speaks out against him?
Trump wants to limit dissension, just as the Russians, Chinese, and North Koreans do. Now, he has a plan to sneak through over the holidays.
Okay, so what is this thing called ‘net neutrality’? It gives us a free internet and protects our right to free speech.
People can “share and access information without interference” now, according to recode.net. Millions of people pressured the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to make this rule in 2015.
It keeps the huge companies like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T from blocking any site they do not want us to see. Right now, these companies cannot stop or slow down our access to any site, but they could soon.
Under Trump, all of this freedom is in very real danger. Ajit Pai is his Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chair, and this man wants to obliterate net neutrality. The FCC took a vote in May, but over 20 million people rose up against Pai’s plan. They must do so again.
Republicans will win, because they hold three of the five available seats on the FCC, unless people speak out for net neutrality.
The only Democratic member of the FTC, Terrell McSweeny said during a congressional hearing this month:
‘These are very real and significant limits to the effectiveness of the FTC’s tools in policing nondiscrimination on networks and protecting competition.’
Imagine if our phone companies could tell us who we could or could not call. By the same token, the internet providers should not interfere with us.
If Paj gets his way, the huge cable and phone companies would divide the internet into two lanes: one fast access lane and one slow lane. They could block anything they do not want us to see, including political opinions.
These mega-companies could charge people who want to put information on the internet fees. Then, only the wealthy could afford their fees. Only those with money could put the information we see on the internet.
Without net neutrality, the open internet is dead.
The open internet created an explosion of innovation and a platform for anyone who wants to speak out. That would all be gone. Instead, we would only hear and see what the giant companies and top 1 percenters want us to hear and see.
Forget fighting oppression and discrimination. Forget small businesses. Forget access to economic and educational opportunities. Forget the Native Americans and people of color. Forget the elderly and LGBTQ communities. Forget the activists and the visionaries.
What if movements such as the Movement for Black Lives could not rise from the internet? What if we could only see what political incumbents chose to show us?
Chairman Pai is a former attorney for Verizon, and he is doing everything he can to destroy the open internet, as quickly as possible. The FCC has already tried twice to kill off the free internet as it exists under Title II protection, and Paj is trying again. He wants Title I, which would let the mega-corporations control the internet.
At this time, the internet is protected. The FCC reclassified broadband carriers as common carriers under Title II protection and protects the internet carriers from blocking what we see.
Republicans and a number of Democrats answer to the sound of money that big donors give them to win their elections. Yet, our representatives must defend the internet.
Trump is set to repeal all of the existing net neutrality rules. Pai wants to dump all the oversight into one weak federal agency, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Pai wrote, according to recode.net:
‘Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet. Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate.’
The free and open internet is too precious to lose.
Featured Image via Getty Images.