On May 16th, the U.S. Senate voted to overturn the Federal Communications Commission, FCC, repeal of Net Neutrality. Although this vote was taken place less than a month before the rules are officially expected to expire on June 11th, this victorious 52-47 vote was a huge breakthrough for this ongoing war.
For what truly seems like forever, the FCC has been trying to repeal net neutrality since the days when Tumblr was still considered a hidden gem, and that was a long time ago. (You'll always be a gem) I'll never forget the day when I logged onto Tumblr and all of a sudden my dashboard was filled with missing posts to reblog but instead was replaced by loading circles that never seem to load.
A message appeared that said, "stop internet slow lanes from ruining everything." internet slow lanes? I didn't think much of it at first until the next page appeared. It greeted me with a follow-up message, "cable companies want to get rid of net neutrality. without it, sites like ours could be censored, slowed down, or forced to charge extra fees."
A few years ago, Tumblr did a similar campaign. Upon logging onto your dashboard, your post would be missing but instead, they were replaced with dull, grey squares that read "censored." This time, however, I was greeted by a message that stated: "stop the law that will conquer the internet!" I discovered that this campaign was in regards to SOPA, Stop Online Privacy Act, which vouched for protecting content.
As do I, every creator deserves credit. But SOPA allowed internet service providers to block access to websites. Which is a huge breach of privacy and freedom. Imagine this, you're trying to google your favorite vine but it doesn't come up. Why? It's because all the sites you're viewing has been blocked by your internet service provider because they deemed that website had some form of copyright infringement.
I'm talking about all the social media, YouTube, and even Etsy. The abundance of websites that would've been affected seemed infinite. Now, this was only a third of what this message was proposing for net neutrality. The idea of the slow internet and having to pay extra fees was not too keen on me either.
The more I read about it, the more surreal it became. Repealing net neutrality would mean that my internet service provider could put together "packages" for websites at different price points. Oh sure, you'll pay $90 a month for the basic package of having your internet run at 90 Mbps and to have access only to Bing, but if you want the premium package that includes faster internet running at 130 Mbps and access to Google, it'll be an additional $25.
I don't want to live in a world where Bing is my default search engine. You'd assume that something like this couldn't possibly happen, right? Something as powerful as censoring the internet and charging us for individual sites can't actually happen, right?
Wrong. Not when Ajit Pai, Donald Trump's pick as chairman for the FCC, is still alive. He used to be a lawyer for Verizon and now he has the power to repeal net neutrality, do you see the correlation? Somehow he convinced the FCC to open a review for the existing policy.
They agreed as the FCC that they would review the policy and vote on December 14th. this created a movement to #SaveTheInternet. All of my social media timelines were flooded with messages to text, call, and email my senator, congress, etc.
December 14th, 2017, the FCC votes 3-2, with Ajit Pai being the deciding factor, that net neutrality will be repealed. Like I said, it's been a long ongoing war; Some battles you win, some battles you lose. We lost on this day but May 16th proves it's not really over yet. Nobody wants to live in a world where you have to pay extra just to have access to your favorite websites. I'm not paying for Twitter, mark my words.
This could be the end of the internet as we know it. So do me a favor, fight for the right of net neutrality. Here are a few things you can do:
1. Spread The Word.
We're literally trying to save the internet here. Tweet, post, snap, or whatever it may be. Let 'em know what's up!
Helping to support the movement in monetary value helps in many different ways. You're supporting the campaign, funds for lawyers, and miscellaneous expenses. (i.e. travel, supplies, etc.) Everything is appreciated.
This isn't for everyone, but I personally receive emails from Fight For The Future. They provide me updates and anything I can do to help.
4. Tell Your Government Official How You Feel.
Battle For The Net has the easiest access to allow you to email, call, text, and tweet your government official.
Here's a list of senators who have voted against net neutrality. Peace out, you've just committed social suicide.
The vote will take place again in the Summer. Assuming soon since the rules were set to expire on June 11th. Make a difference, go out and support net neutrality. Your favorite website could be in trouble...