Hello all RM and others! This small piece is to inform you about the upcoming decision to end Net Neutrality. Currently this problem is only in United States of America and is coming from Trump’s FCC chairman Ajit Pai, but if Net Neutrality ends, it could be the leading factor that makes other countries say “Well if America’s done it, it can work”. Now how does Net Neutrality apply to the everyday person? It’s simple, when you open your browser you expect to be met with whatever homepage you set it too, ie Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. When you shop online, you’re specific about the websites you visit and even have a preference over others. Hell, when you look up porn you expect it to be free and easy to come by. All these examples have something in common — you, the user — are making a specific choice, you are not having these choices made by someone else. Ajit Pai wants to remove vital Title II protections from the internet which would declassify it as a utility and allow ISPs (internet service providers) to tamper with your data. Without Title II, they could slow down or block websites, impacting your freedom of speech. They could sort websites into bundles like channels on TV, like in Portugal. Or they could even allow websites and apps to pay for their traffic to be prioritized (their services would load faster) which would force their competition to also pay up or be left in the dust.

This is a big decision that would soon affect everyone to the point that there would be worldwide changes. Big companies such as AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast would be allowed to censor materials that they could deem inappropriate, which is frightening to many minority groups. There are big ethnic groups whose voices could go unheard, the LGBT+ community could be silenced, news sources could be lost if they don’t agree with your ISPs agenda. Economically, companies such as Yahoo and Bing could go bankrupt because Google could pay AT&T and Verizon more money to only allow Google to load. News sources such as The New York Times could quickly become one of the few newspapers around as they could out buy smaller companies. It is censorship in the most modern form and a censorship that includes all digital media aspects.

So what’s happening currently? Title II protections (Open Internet Order of 2015) could be removed by the FCC. Title II (Communications Act of 1934, page 35) classifies broadband providers (Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Spectrum) as common carriers, which says that they are not allowed to interfere with any internet traffic such as throttling speeds or blocking certain webpages. Big phone and cable companies are lobbying against net neutrality as they are the ones who will benefit most from it, while small business and start up companies are concerned for themselves as they won’t have the money to advertise on a different level.

Currently the FCC is going to make a decision quickly, let your voice be heard, do more research, talk to your senators and fight against the FCC repealing Title II.

– Charlie

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