If Ajit Pai and Donald Trump have their way, the FCC will dismantle the internet as we know it in December. They will dismantle net neutrality. Here’s what that means:
- Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be able to throttle your internet traffic. This means a company like Comcast could make Verizon’s sites slow to a crawl, so you won’t want to switch, or they could charge Netflix a fortune to have regular internet speeds, because it competes with cable TV and Comcast’s Hulu. Small companies would be unable to pay this fee and driven out of the market.
- ISPs will be able to completely block whatever they’d like
- Consumers will have no choice in ISP in most areas, they’ll be forced to deal with throttled speeds
- ISPs will be able to block websites unless consumers pay up. They could decide the internet into packages, as they have with cable and as they have in other countries. $49.99 for basic service, $9.99 to add social networks. $19.99 to add gaming. A Triple play for just $119.99/month.
- ISPs will be able to throttle out of network access
This would spell an end for a free and open internet. Going to Reddit to complain about Verizon? Good luck, the site’s been blocked. Trying to organize a protest? Blocked. Real news slowed in favor of propaganda. Small businesses unable to pay the fee for unthrottled internet are left in the slow lane, and wither and die. Startups and small businesses suffer. Consumers are trapped with an internet that looks as though it’s been censored by the government. Think about it. Verizon and others overwhelmingly support Republican candidates. They’ll be able to throttle the websites that aren’t in favor of the politicians they’ve paid off in the form of campaign contributions. This will turn the United States into a corporate controlled nation. We won’t have free speech if we don’t have a free internet.
So, here’s what you need to do:
Call it a sign of the times, when those in power don’t to worry about people fact checking. They use their platform to say whatever they want, and assume people will believe it. Verizon, one of the biggest opponents to net neutrality, has posted a video claiming to not be working against net neutrality. In fact, we’re supposed to believe that the company that sued the government over net neutrality laws, won, and lead to companies instantly taking advantage of the lack of net neutrality isn’t against internet freedom. The entire reason the internet had to be declared a Title II protected service was because of Verizon’s lawsuit. To claim now that they’re not against net neutrality is preposterous on its own, but this video is something else entirely. It completely misrepresents public property as their own private property, ignores their monopolies, and completely misrepresents the issue and the conflicts of interest of those involved.
Verizon is trying to have their cake and eat it too. They’re trying to fight net neutrality while simultaneously retaining a public image that won’t disgust people. They may be underestimating our intelligence by just a little bit.
The video is attached below. You can find a full breakdown of every misleading comment or outright lie over at The Verge. If you care about internet freedom, you likely won’t be able to make it through the video without feeling uncontrollable rage, so you’ll want to check out The Verge’s breakdown.
Ajit Pai. Credit: AP
What’s good for huge corporations is often bad for “the little guy,” that is, smaller businesses and individuals. However, the little guy, the individual, does have a way to piggyback off of the successes of those huge corporations. They can become lobbyists, politicians, or, in this case, the FCC Chairman. Pai graduated law school, worked on the Telecommunications Task Force, approving (or blocking) mergers and acquisitions, worked for the Department of Justice, and left government work for a time to be the Associate General Counsel at Verizon. He was only there two years before going back to government, where he’s been strongly pro-big business.
That brings us to net neutrality. Net neutrality protects you and I from being gouged for our internet service any more than we already are. It forces all internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all data equally. Imagine if phone companies didn’t have to do that with who you talked to. They could notice you call your girlfriend a lot, and start charging your double for calls to her. Or perhaps they don’t want you talking to Comcast customer service for very long, forcing you to get frustrated and switch to their service. That’s what they have planned for the internet, fast and slow lanes, data that doesn’t count against limits for their own services or partners. It’s a way to gouge both other companies and end users, controlling the services we can use. Net neutrality protects small businesses from being pushed out of the market by these giant bullies like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and Time Warner (Spectrum). But net neutrality forbids these large corporations from taking advantage of their size for profit. That’s why they hate it. It’s why they lobby about it and push conservative politicians to fight against net neutrality and privacy. They’re against complete internet freedom, and we just elected their mouthpieces to the highest positions in government.
That’s why Ajit Pai just released his plan to dismantle net neutrality this week, making internet freedom a thing of the past.
Scott Stantis/Chicago Tribune
Zero rating may be a term you’re not used to hearing yet, but it’ll be the next great battle for proponents of an open and free internet and those who are against net neutrality, large corporations, our new president, and his FCC chairman, Ajit Pai. Zero rating is a new attack on net neutrality, which varies slightly than simply charging customers or companies for access to webpages at fair speeds. It’s the practice many large cellular service providers have begun using to entice customers to sign up for their services. AT&T owns DirecTV, so when you stream DirecTV on your AT&T plan, it’s “zero rated,” as in, it doesn’t count against your data caps. Verizon owns AOL and the go90 platform, so using services from those could be free, but accessing DirecTV on Verizon will cost data like it would anywhere else. Verizon even took this a step further, charging corporations for zero rated data. So if Netflix wants users to be allowed to continue streaming shows on Verizon for more than a few hours, they have to pay Verizon a hefty sum for zero rated data.
Just like the standard violations of net neutrality we’re used to, zero rating hurts competition, aids in the creation of monopolies, benefits large corporations while hurting small business owners, and limits consumer choices. But is it something Americans want?
John Moore, Getty Images
Last year, Apple got into a fight with the FBI
over an abandoned iPhone 5c. The iPhone belonged to the San Bernardino shooter. It was the shooter’s work phone, and he had destroyed both his and his wife’s primary phones, which were likely used to coordinate the attack It was highly unlikely that the phones in question had anything in them. However, James Comey, Director of the FBI, went after Apple like a rabid dog. The FBI sued Apple, determined to force them to make an easily hacked version of iOS and load it onto the iPhone 5c in question. The iPhone 5c didn’t have the security today’s iPhones have, and therefore could have a new, easily hacked, operating system loaded onto it. Apple refused to make the software, and the FBI sued for the right to force Apple employees to work against their will. Eventually a company that wasn’t affiliated with the U.S. Government was able to hack into the iPhone 5c in question, and the FBI dropped its case, though legal experts believed they didn’t have a chance against Apple. In America, forcing people to work against their will doesn’t go over well.
In 2015, the FCC finally stood up for net neutrality. Tom Wheeler, head of the FCC, managed to protect the country’s internet and its users. Net neutrality is a concept that all internet traffic is equal. Internet service providers (ISPs) can’t speed up traffic from certain companies if they pay more, or slow down others for not paying what amounts to a legal bribe to ISPs. It’s what prevents AT&T from slowing Verizon’s website down for AT&T customers, or Comcast for charging Netflix users more than Hulu users, or Netflix more than Youtube. It protects users from being forced into using certain services due to pricing, and it allows small businesses to compete with the large ones.
Net neutrality and encryption protect Americans. They keep our data private and secure, they keep our internet speeds consistent, they keep us from corporate censorship, and they’re in danger. Donald Trump’s pick for the FCC is against net neutrality, and his attorney general is against personal security and encryption.
Trump’s presidential win may spell bad news for anyone who’s not white, not straight, not cisgender, not male, an immigrant, or not Christian, but now his presidency could prove to be bad for another group: internet based businesses and internet users. Basically, all of you. That’s because Trump has chosen two men to serve as FCC transition advisors who are against net neutrality. Trump himself has called net neutrality an “attack on the internet,” which couldn’t be further from the truth. What’s net neutrality? To sum it up quickly, it’s the idea that the internet should be free for everyone to purchase access to, without restrictions, and without discrimination. It prevents internet service providers like Comcast from slowing down speeds of websites or services of their competitors. It prevents Time Warner from charging Netflix more to use their network than a different streaming partner. Comcast can’t favor their own streaming service, Hulu, over Netflix, thanks to net neutrality. They also can’t create internet “fast lanes” that large companies can pay to use, which would stifle competition and keep small business from being able to compete. Imagine trying to start your own streaming service, but you can’t afford AT&T’s fast lane. No one would use your service. Or imagine a mom & pop electronics store trying to challenge Best Buy. They can’t afford to make their website load as quickly as Best Buy’s, and they’ll lose business.
Donald Trump’s picks for FCC advisors are both outspoken against the free, open, and equal internet. They’ll turn the tide of the FCC to the Republicans, who wish to dismantle net neutrality.
That’s right, internet users, Donald Trump is coming after your Netflix binges and cat memes now.
Net neutrality is what keeps all websites equal. Without it, Comcast could slow down competitors sites, or overcharge Netflix for the same traffic speeds they give Hulu, their own Netflix competitor. Net neutrality also protects consumers, who could have their rates increased if they access certain websites. It’s the only concept that ensures all users of the web are equal. As usual, the business version of the boogeyman isn’t happy. Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, and other internet service providers recently challenged the FCC’s classification of Internet service as a utility, which protected the Internet from being used for extortion. Since Internet service providers stood to profit from web extortion (and the only ones who could profit, at that), they’re unhappy. But the rest of the country can rejoice knowing that their access to the Internet has been protected.