After my post on 21 November I’ve continued to research net neutrality issues. It’s easy to feel helpless when large interests are trying to take something you value away. Net neutrality should concern anyone with a website or those that like to visit them, especially the niches and quirky parts of the web. This includes those sites that criticize politicians, government in general, or large corporations, as well as sites that contain unpopular views, or are not owned by your ISP. Without net neutrality the creation of fast and slow lanes (slow translating into blocked for some) will become a reality. Big money will own all access to net content.
I felt placing a popup menu on my website to encourage people to call their congressperson and make their voices heard would be a small contribution to the cause, but it is very possible I, like many others, have fallen into a trap. I removed the popup because I came across this:
Meanwhile, everyone who wants to kill net neutrality knows what’s going to happen here. They will use the fact that Pai’s rules absolutely can’t withstand scrutiny in the courts to step up and push for the Congressional “rescue.” Even more likely: they’ll say that we need Congress to step in to “prevent uncertainty” from the inevitable lawsuits. Believe it or not: they’re happy that this will get tied up in courts for years, because that gives Congress extra cover to push through this pretend “compromise.”
The “pretend ‘compromise'” being a set of laws that claim to protect net neutrality while destroying it. The article quoted above was triggered by a Techdirt podcast in which former FCC staffer Gigi Sohn discusses Ajit Pai and Congress’s strategy to end net neutrality while claiming to protect it. I’m not one to buy into conspiracy theories, but this is more like politics as usual: screwing over the average citizen legally while naming the law deceptively.
For example, The Right to Work laws only exist to break up unions because nothing says freedom like the right to work at poverty level wages. Citizens United, which should be relabeled Millionaires and Corporations United, allows big money a much larger voice than the majority of Americans. Then there’s the The Internet Freedom Act, introduced in March 2015 and defeated, which would have taken away net neutrality.
Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get your internet. However, I’m feeling a different reaction is called for at this time. Do voice your objections to the FCC and the rest of the world, but don’t call on Congress to rescue us just yet. Let the judicial system do it’s work. Only if the path through the courts fail, should we move on to Congress. If this happens, diligence and vigilance will be necessary to prevent the kind of bait and switch law that’s become so prevalent.