Thousands of protesters will gather outside the White House and across cities in the US today to voice their concerns about the latest move in the Net Neutrality argument.
The protests mark another tense moment in a long battle between ordinary people and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); an organization hell-bent on regulating the internet to standards they set.
As well as the White House, gatherings will occur in San Francisco’s Civic Center, Chicago’s Federal Plaza, Las Vegas’ boulevard and the Philadelphian HQ of Comcast, the biggest cable company in the US.
Net Neutrality has grown from outrage at plans from the cabal of communications companies and the government to introduce premium ‘fast lanes’ for prominent websites (Netflix, Facebook, Twitter et al) and charge more money for the extra bandwidth consumed. The fear stemming from that is that internet will become a two-tiered system for haves and have-nots (just like real life!) and the concept of net neutrality, that all traffic deserves equal treatment, will vanish. BaDoink took a more in-depth look at the issue earlier this year.
If the so-called “hybrid system” of fast and slow lanes is implemented, the FCC will wield a massive amount of power and influence over the internet. It will set a dangerous precedent and leave many sites and normal users in the dark and at risk.
However, despite widespread dismay at the midterm results, a Republican-packed Congress may actually be the best thing for supporters of net neutrality. The belief is that come December and January, when the final proposals are put forward and the Republicans are sat comfortably in Congress, the GOP will fight against stronger regulation and state interference.
…but this is the problem: nobody anywhere seems to know what will happen and when. These protests, if well-attended, will hopefully recruit more people to a worthy cause.
If you’re asking yourself whether you should care, then the answer is a resounding, loud and bold “YES”. Not only is a government agency trying to restrict your online freedom, but consider this: when you’ve got some alone time planned for you and your favorite adult website, let’s see how much you enjoy it when you’re stuck in a gridlock in the slow lane.
Get out there, make your voice heard and stand up to a rapidly encroaching and totally unwelcome Big Brother scenario.