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The jackals are out in full force to take back the most important thing you took from them this last presidential election. No, it’s not the presidency that you took, it’s the power of information dissemination which they used to have a monopoly on.

They held a monopoly of information dissemination through the mainstream media which they owned and controlled, but you took that power away through the internet and they’re redoubling their efforts to fight and get that back. They want to take your newly acquired power back from you right away, and they’re not willing to compromise on it.

 

Have you ever heard about Net Neutrality? Net Neutrality is the internet’s guiding principle: It preserves our right to communicate freely online.

Net Neutrality means an internet that enables and protects free speech. It means that Internet Service Providers or ISPs should provide us with open networks — and shouldn’t block or discriminate against any applications or content that ride over those networks. Just as your phone company shouldn’t decide who you call and what you say on that call, your ISP shouldn’t interfere with the content you view or post online. In a nutshell, your Internet providers shouldn’t decide what you do with your internet service.

Without Net Neutrality, cable and phone companies could carve the internet into fast and slow lanes. An ISP could slow down its competitors’ content or block political opinions it disagrees with. ISPs could charge extra fees to the few content companies that could afford to pay for preferential treatment — relegating everyone else to a slower tier of service. This would destroy the open internet.

Without Net Neutrality, the internet isn’t really the internet. Unlike the open internet that has paved the way for so much innovation and given a platform to people who have historically been shut out, it would become a closed-down network where cable and phone companies call the shots and decide which websites, content or applications succeed.

This would have an enormous impact. Companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon would be able to decide who is heard and who isn’t. They’d be able to block websites or content they don’t like or applications that compete with their own offerings.

Without Net Neutrality, how would activists be able to fight against oppression? What would happen to social movements like the Movement for Black Lives? How would the next disruptive technology, business or company emerge if internet service providers only let incumbents succeed? So, basically, if they’re able to do away with Net Neutrality, they can shut down any website they don’t like, and that means websites that don’t say things they sanction.

If they think you’re going to be competition to them, or you’re going to spread message that is in opposition to their own message, your site is a candidate to be sabotaged and killed. Suffice it to say that without Net Neutrality, our freedom of free speech will be killed on the internet, and the same companies who own and control the mainstream media will also own and control the internet.

The jackals know that an outsider candidate like Bernie Sanders was able to make the impression he did in the presidential election because of the internet and it’s powers of aiding information sharing among ordinary citizens. They have witnessed firsthand, the impact of the internet in politics and they don’t like what they saw.

They know that all the agitation happening over issues like the Black Lives Matter movement and the anti Wall Street protests that happened before that, were possible because the internet provided a medium for citizens to communicate and organize. The countless videos of police brutality which were shared online, and which helped bring about the BLM wouldn’t have been possible without free internet.

Without Net Neutrality, you can only see and access what your ISP wants you to see and access. So, just like they show you what they want you to see on the mainstream media they already own and control, like cable television, newspapers and magazines, they’ll also own the internet and begin to control what you see and read on it.

Of course, they’ve been fighting for a long time to change the rules on Net Neutrality. Courts rejected two earlier FCC attempts to craft Net Neutrality rules and told the agency that if it wanted to adopt such protections it needed to use the proper legal foundation: Title II. ​In February 2015, the FCC did just that, ​giving ​internet users the strongest possible Net Neutrality rules when it reclassified broadband providers as common carriers under Title II. Title II gives the FCC the authority it needs to ensure that companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon can’t block, throttle or otherwise interfere with web traffic. Title II preserves the internet’s level playing field, allowing people to share and access information of their choosing. These rules have ushered in a historic era of online innovation and investment — and have withstood two court challenges from industry.

However, newly appointed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who was a Verizon lawyer before his appointment, wants to ditch Title II and return the FCC to a “light touch” Title I approach. Translation: Pai wants to give control of the internet to the very companies that violated Net Neutrality for years before the FCC adopted its current rules in 2015. Title I would do nothing to protect internet users like you.

Big phone and cable companies, including Verizon whom Ajit Pai worked for at the time, and their lobbyists filed a suit almost as soon as the Net Neutrality rules were adopted. Free Press jumped in and helped argue the case defending the FCC — and on June 14, 2016, a federal appeals court upheld the open-internet protections in all respects. However, the ISPS are still trying to challenge these rules in court. Only that this time they have one of theirs working on the inside as FCC Chairman.

Meanwhile, industry-funded Net Neutrality opponents in Congress are also doing everything they can  to dismantle or undermine the rules. Legislators have introduced numerous deceptive bills and attached damaging riders to must-pass government-funding bills.

The open internet allows all people to tell their own stories and organize for everything from racial and social justice to economic justice. When activists are able to turn out thousands of people in the streets at a moment’s notice, it’s because ISPs aren’t allowed to block their messages or websites.

The mainstream media have long misrepresented, ignored and harmed minorities be they racial or social. Thanks to systemic racism, economic inequality and runaway media consolidation, people of color own just a handful of broadcast stations. The lack of diverse ownership is a primary reason why the media have gotten away with criminalizing and otherwise stereotyping communities of color.

The open internet allows people of color and other vulnerable communities to bypass traditional media gatekeepers. Without Net Neutrality, ISPs could block speech and prevent dissident voices from speaking freely online. Without Net Neutrality, people of color and other marginalized groups would lose a vital platform. And without Net Neutrality, millions of small businesses owned by people from these marginalized groups wouldn’t be able to compete against larger corporations online, which would deepen economic disparities.

Chairman Pai wants to make it voluntary for ISPs to be fair. Yeah, I’ll repeat that, he wants Net Neutrality dependent on the whims of the ISPs, meaning they will, according to the goodness of their hearts, decide who will see what content, and when they see the content. As a side note, isn’t it wonderful how corporations always want to operate outside the confines of the law? How they always want to extricate themselves from legal regulation?

Anyway, FCC’s Chairman Ajit Pai unveiled his plan in a closed-door meeting with industry lobbyists in April 2017 and and officially kicked off a proceeding on May 18, 2017, when the FCC voted along party lines to move this proposal​ forward.

They’re doing everything within their powers to take away the powers the Internet has given to the ordinary people. It’s our duty to fight back with everything we have to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Losing this power will set the revolution back the equivalent of a million years. We must defend it….. with our lives, if necessary.

 

 

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