When someone who’s supposed to be an industry’s watchdog says they want to “cut red tape,” it’s time to look out. Watchdogs, after all, are supposed to keep an eye on things. And “red tape” is what’s often used to prevent abuses. It’s like saying “I don’t want my dog to leave the yard, so I’m taking down the fence.”
“Meet the new FCC chairman, harbinger of doom for net neutrality.”
— Mashable, 1/25/2017
Ajit Pai, the new FCC chairman appointed by Donald Trump, is anti-regulation. He says he wants to “take a weed whacker” to FCC rules like the ones that protect net neutrality. One of Pai’s hallmarks is a sturdy anti-net neutrality voting record. Under a Democratic administration he was in the minority. Now he’s chairman, and the FCC is 3 to 1 Republican.
You might want to take a moment to watch John Oliver’s hilarious but accurate description of the threat to an open internet. At the end of the video, he describes how to circumvent the labyrinthian comment process and register your opinion with the FCC.
Oliver and his show even created a link to make commenting on Net Neutrality as easy as possible. Just go to (apologies) gofccyourself.com. If that doesn’t work, TechCrunch has a good guide to commenting — which really shouldn’t be as hard as it is.
The last time Oliver did this, in 2014, commenters actually overwhelmed the FCC site–and it’s happening again. In 2014, it made a difference! The FCC chair at that time, Tom Wheeler, became active in defense of Net Neutrality.
Let’s do it again!
By the way, the corporate telecom companies are fighting back. In an expensive ad campaign, Comcast is making the absurd claim that internet providers aren’t telecommunications companies. They’re trying to convince people that net neutrality has nothing to do with the government’s ability to regulate it; it’s an ability that comes with the obscure name “Title II classification.” FCC Chairman Pai suggests making compliance voluntary, after which he expects companies to act counter to their own profit motives.
But all is not lost. Here are just a few ways you can help: