The world as U.S. citizens knew it just changed. The free internet is gone. Large internet providers can decide what we get to see, and they can even block entire sites — all based upon their choice, not ours. Facebook and Twitter might not even be free of cost any longer. Here is what happened.
Republicans choose business over the individual every time. That is the basic difference between the GOP and Democrats. Donald Trump has appointed corporate-friendly people to staff all of his positions from the Cabinet on down.
He plunked Ajit Pai down as the chairman of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). The reason this matters is the FCC has control over the internet, radio/TV broadcasting, and airplanes radios. Pai, on Trump’s orders just killed the free (neutral) internet. He did not have to vote on it, but he did.
There are five people who sit on the FCC board. Three are Republicans, because Donald Trump is a Republican. Democrats only got two votes. Naturally, the GOP majority won.
That means we might have to pay for sites that are free now, or we could pay more for sites that already have subscriptions, like Netflix – especially if our internet provider (ISP) does not own the site. Something else that could happen is giant businesses could buy really fast service, and small businesses and individuals would have to chug along at a much slower place.
The problem all started when the government stuck the internet in with other communications, under the FCC. Actually, many believe that the internet is more like a utility or even a newspaper. That makes a big difference.
All is not lost, though. New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been fighting against taking away the free or neutral internet (internet neutrality). He is leading a multi-state lawsuit challenging this vote, which tens of millions of Americans have already told the FCC they did not want.
His legal challenge is to the FCC vote that reversed the FCC’s landmark 2015 net neutrality rules.
Schneiderman has been investigating the public comments that the FCC must collect before it can take any vote. He said his office was suing to “stop the FCC’s illegal rollback of net neutrality.” In fact, he is spearheading a multi-state lawsuit. His office issued a press release that, according to TechCrunch said:
‘We will be filing a claim to preserve protections for New Yorkers and all Americans. And we’ll be working aggressively to stop the FCC’s leadership from doing any further damage to the internet and to our economy.’
News: #NetNeutrality has been repealed
— Emily (@emilyrafferty27) December 14, 2017
The release also said people might have to pay for Facebook and Twitter:
‘Today’s new rule would enable ISPs to charge consumers more to access sites like Facebook and Twitter and give them the leverage to degrade high quality of video streaming until and unless somebody pays them more money. Even worse, today’s vote would enable ISPs to favor certain viewpoints over others.’
It is likely that eighteen states will join the New York lawsuit. Their attorneys general wrote a joint letter calling for a delay in the vote when they discovered there were over a million fake comments in the public feedback process. TechCrunch reported that those states were, according to Techcrunch:
‘Virginia, Delaware, Hawaii, California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Maine, Mississippi, Oregon, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Washington, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.’
TechCrunch reported that the NY attorney general’s office said:
‘It expects to see more statements from other state attorneys general about their intentions to join the claim very soon.’
The American Civil Liberties Union has also promised a court fight. A trade group representing companies like Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc said it opposed the vote and has been looking into the legal options.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Win McNamee.