Net Neutrality

On Jan. 14, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order.

And on May 15, the FCC voted to propose a new “open Internet” rule that may let Internet service providers charge content companies for priority treatment, relegating other content to a slower tier of service.

Under these rules, telecom giants like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon would be able to pick winners and losers online and discriminate against online content and applications. 

We must stop the FCC from moving forward with these rules.

Here’s how we got here:

The open Internet rules, adopted in 2010, were designed to prevent Internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking or slowing users’ connections to online content and apps.

This ruling means that just a few powerful phone and cable companies could control the Internet. Without Net Neutrality, ISPs will be able to devise new schemes to charge users more for access and services, making it harder for us to communicate online — and easier for companies to censor our speech. The Internet could come to resemble cable TV, where gatekeepers exert control over where you go and what you see.

Without Net Neutrality, ISPs like AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon will be able to block content and speech they don’t like, reject apps that compete with their own offerings, and prioritize Web traffic (reserving the fastest loading speeds for the highest bidders and sticking everyone else with the slowest).

The tools ISPs use to block and control our communications aren’t different from the ones the NSA uses to watch us. Whether it’s a government or a corporation wielding these tools or the two working together, this behavior breaks the Internet as we know it and makes it less open and secure.

We must fight to ensure that the Internet we love won’t simply become a platform for corporate speech or another tool for government spying. We must protect the Internet that lets us connect and create, that rejects censorship and values our right to privacy.

The Internet shouldn’t be a walled garden. It should remain a forum for innovation and free expression. As so many startups and political activists know, open, affordable, fast and universal communications networks are essential to our individual, economic and political futures.

For our 101 on Net Neutrality, click here.

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News from Around the Web

  • 3.7 Million Comments Later, Here's Where Net Neutrality Stands

    NPR
    September 17, 2014

    The window for the public to weigh in on how federal rule-makers should treat Internet traffic is closed, after a record 3.7 million comments arrived at the FCC. The Sunlight Foundation analyzed the first 800,000 and found that fewer than 1 percent were opposed to Net Neutrality enforcement.

  • Protest Marks End of Comment Period on Net Neutrality

    Al Jazeera
    September 15, 2014

    Scores of protesters calling for strong Net Neutrality rules gathered in New York to voice opposition to plans to divide the Web into a two-tier system under which providers could charge online services for access to fast lanes.

  • The Speed of Internet Slowdown Day

    The New Yorker
    September 11, 2014

    Visitors to Kickstarter are usually greeted with a Web page listing the projects that they can help to fund. But if you went to the site on Wednesday, you would have been presented instead with a full-screen message. “Stop Internet Slow Lanes,” it began. Under those words was an icon resembling the spinning wheel of death — that cursor on Mac computers that looks a bit like a stylized sun and turns around and around when something is taking a long time to load.

Learn More

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    Yet despite its importance, broadband access in the United States is far from universal. Millions of Americans still stand on the wrong side of the "digital divide," unable to tap into the political, economic and social resources of the Internet.

  • Cable

    Two decades ago, something unusual happened.

    Consumers were irate about their cable bills, which were increasing at nearly three times the rate of inflation. And Congress actually did something — adopting in overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion the 1992 Cable Act. The law resulted in lower cable bills, saving consumers $3 billion in just over a year’s time.

  • Cybersecurity

    Our right to private communications is a cornerstone of American democracy. But with heightened awareness in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, technological advances have continued allowing the government to expand its reach into our private lives via electronic surveillance and data-mining programs. New laws and policies introduced in the last decade have eroded our civil liberties online.

    Congress has a poor track record when it comes to cybersecurity legislation. The bills introduced so far give the government way too much power to intrude on our privacy online.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good