In a last-ditch effort to save the internet, defenders of net neutrality are staging a "Break the Internet" campaign tomorrow, December 12th. The purpose of the campaign is to prompt Congress to get involved and put an end to the scheduled vote.
Organizers for "Break the Internet" decry:
Net neutrality affects everyone who uses the Internet. This protest is for all of us. Here’s a big list of creative ways to “Break the Internet” for the 48 hours before the FCC vote. Go wild and Tweet every 10 minutes until the FCC vote, change your job on LinkedIn to “Defending Net Neutrality” or say you’re “Married to the Open Internet” on Facebook. Do whatever you can to get *everyone’s* attention and drive phone calls to Congress.
They urge everyone to use the #stopthefcc hashtag, flood Instagram with pro-net neutrality memes, join the protest by displaying banners on your website, and include video bumpers for YouTube and Vimeo content.
Those in favor or net neutrality fear that destroying the rules will allow telecoms like Comcast to discriminate with regards to internet traffic, making way for paid "fast" and standard "slow" lanes. Large corporations like Facebook, Amazon and Google -- while opposed to dismantling net neutrality -- would be able to afford to pay for fast lane access, but it could provide a barrier to entry for startups that don't have the financial might to pay for faster internet pipes (be sure to read our piece here for an in-depth look at the history of the net neutrality debate).
"The FCC majority is about to deliver a cornucopia full of rotten fruit, stale grains, and wilted flowers topped off with a plate full of burnt turkey," said FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn last month. "Their Destroying Internet Freedom Order would dismantle net neutrality as we know it by giving the green light to our nation’s largest broadband providers to engage in anti-consumer practices, including blocking, slowing down traffic, and paid prioritization of online applications and services.”
Chairman Pai counters that internet service providers (ISPs) will essentially "do the right thing" for their customers. He argues that there was no evidence of ISPs moving towards a fast/slow lane approach before net neutrality rules were put into place, and that there should be no cause for concern after the rules are scrapped.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai
"The FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate," wrote Pai late last month. “Additionally, as a result of my proposal, the Federal Trade Commission will once again be able to police ISPs, protect consumers, and promote competition, just as it did before 2015. Notably, my proposal will put the federal government’s most experienced privacy cop, the FTC, back on the beat to protect consumers’ online privacy."
If you want a free and open internet to thrive in the United States, be sure to let your congressional leaders know! Given that the FCC is on a freight train with no signs of slowing down with regards to killing net neutrality, it’s up to Congress to derail its efforts.