As you make your way around the Internet today, you may notice that a few websites look a bit different than usual. The reason? They’re fighting to keep a free and open Internet.
This is known as Net Neutrality, and it’s currently under threat by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The new chairman, Ajit Pai, appointed by the Trump administration, wants to scrap open Internet protections brought in by the Obama administration in 2015.
Doing so would allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to slow down access to certain parts of the web. Accessing streaming services like Netflix, for example, might require you to pay more money. Certain news sites, too, could be given preference.
This is, of course, not a good thing.
Pai wants to overturn the laws introduced in 2015, which strictly regulated ISPs. On May 18, the FCC said it will support a new proposal to repeal that order. A 90-day comment period also began, with members of the public asked for their views.
That period ends MONDAY JULY 17, so if you want to make your voice heard, you can do so here. A final vote on any new proposal is expected later this year.
Net Neutrality (or a similar measure) has reared its head before. In 2012, the US considered a Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA), and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). Both would have severely harmed a free Internet, sparking the biggest online protest in history.
This time around, various websites have taken a stand in their own way. Parts of Reddit have messages up, like /r/technology, warning people about an Internet without Net Neutrality. “We’re sorry, access to /r/technology is not included in your internet service package,” their banner post states.
Others including Netflix, Spotify, and Airbnb all have banners or messages on their pages urging people to contact their Congressmen and make their views heard. This worked back in 2015, so hopefully, it’ll work again.
The protest perhaps isn’t as big as a few years ago, but the message is still the same. The free and open Internet is under threat, and that affects everyone – from humble users to companies.