Things That Matter

Here Is Why You Should Care About Net Neutrality, Especially If You Are Reading This On Facebook

On Dec. 14, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is voting on whether or not to do away with net neutrality. The decision to reverse the Obama-era policy allowing for a free and open Internet will have strong and negative results for everyone using the Internet, like you, according to telecommunications experts. The decision comes directly from Trump-appointed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Pai has already said that he is confident that the measure will be passed on party lines since the five-person FCC panel is made up of three Republicans and two Democrats.

Here is what experts fear will happen to the Internet as we know it if the FCC board votes to take net neutrality away.

First, let’s define net neutrality.

You’ve probably seen this phrase used a lot lately, but what does it even mean? Net neutrality guarantees that Internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon, Comcast, TimeWarner, etc. don’t slow down your service based on their benefit. The rules of net neutrality make it so that all Internet traffic is treated equally. It also ensures that these same ISPs don’t charge you extra to have a faster connection. ISPs fought against President Obama when he first started pushing these rules because they believe that they should be able to charge you more for faster service, according to the PBS video above.

Basically, eliminating net neutrality would mean that ISPs would start regulating what you can do and see on the Internet.

Essentially, this means that Comcast, Verizon and all other ISPs could start charging you extra for apps you already use on top of your monthly bill. You read that right. That Facebook app you are using to read this story would no longer be free and the price will vary depending on your ISP. Same with Netflix, Twitter, Amazon or any other site or app you use. You’d have to pay an additional amount per app/site. That means many people, particularly low-income households, would have a harder time accessing information online.

Another problem with this kind of freedom for the ISPs is that they can start blocking content from reaching your computer for phone. Remember the scandal Comcast was in when they overcharged customers for equipment they never requested? Well, if you use Comcast for your Internet, Comcast could block you from ever seeing the news reports investigating their questionable practices.

While there has been outcry against changing the rules, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating the use of fake comments to dilute the pushback.

Fortune reports that more than half of the 21.7 million comments opposed to the rule change have likely been written by fake accounts using the names of real people. The implication of this is that the voices of real Americans opposed to the rule change are being diluted and ignored because of bots and trolls claiming to be in favor of eliminating net neutrality. Attorney General Schneiderman has created a website where you can search and flag any fake comment made on your behalf to help with his overall investigation. You can find out if your name has been used by clicking here. Attorney General Schneiderman created the website because the FCC has refused to help investigate whether or not fake comments have been used in this debate.

Experts fear that giving ISPs the ability to self-regulate data going to consumers can have strong negative impacts.

“ISPs have incentives to shape Internet traffic and the FCC knows full well of instances where consumers have been harmed. AT&T blocked data sent by Apple’s FaceTime software, Comcast has interfered with Internet traffic generated by certain applications and ISPs have rerouted users’ web searches to websites they didn’t request or expect,” Electronic Frontier Foundation Senior Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz said in a statement. “These are just some examples of ISPs controlling our Internet experience. Users pay them to connect to the Internet, not decide for them what they can see and do there.”

Americans are taking to the streets to protest the upcoming vote and save net neutrality.

A study done by The Washington Post shows that an overwhelming number of Americans are in favor of saving net neutrality. Specifically, Americans oppose giving ISPs the power to decide what you can and can’t do or see on the Internet. Members of the Electronic Frontier Foundation argue that protecting free Internet and net neutrality protects free speech.

Well…

If you would like to make your voice heard on net neutrality, you can call FCC Chairman Ajit Pai at (202) 518-7933 or the FCC at (202) 418-1000.


READ: Twitter Ripped Senator Marco Rubio After He Hugged Ivanka Trump And It Was Hilarious

Share this story with all of your friends and take a stand for free and fair Internet access!

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There’s A Fake Beauty Site For People To Report Domestic Violence While “Shopping”

Fierce

There’s A Fake Beauty Site For People To Report Domestic Violence While “Shopping”

Since the start of the pandemic, many communities have seen an increase in the amount of domestic violence reports. With more people staying at home under stay-at-home orders, many have been unable to escape their abusers. This has led to an increased need for resources for domestic assault victims.

Well, one teenager has thought up a pretty ingenious way to get that help into the hands of those who need it in a very discreet way.

Teen launches fake beauty site to help victims of domestic violence.

A teenager who was aware of the increase in domestic violence since the start of the pandemic, has taken it into her own hands to help out victims. She’s launched a resource for domestic assault victims disguised as a fake beauty site. The Facebook page called “Rumianki i Bratki” (Chamomiles and Pansies) allows victims to stuck in their homes to seek help.

“I heard about a French initiative, where people go to the pharmacy and ask for a special mask that lets the pharmacist know they are a victim of domestic violence,” Paszko said in an interview with the BBC. “I thought it was a brilliant idea, so I came up with the idea of selling cosmetics.”

Translated from Polish, the description of the Facebook page reads: “Chamomiles and Pansies is a store with natural cosmetics. We will help you with the purchase of the appropriate specifics, as well as with all other problems.” There are a total of nine products listed on the page, and each has a description detailing how the product can help.

The Facebook page offers a variety of services depending on what the victim is comfortable with.

When someone messages Chamomiles and Pansies inquiring about a face cream, they’re assisted by a psychologist posing as a salesperson. Using Facebook Chat, the psychologist is able to collect essential information. The psychologist can then send authorities to visit the home if the domestic abuse victim chooses to place an order and leave an address.

When Paszko first launched the site, she thought it would only reach her friends and extended family, but the BBC reported that more than 350 people have contacted the website. Since the initiative took off, Paszko has enlisted the help of the Center For Women’s Rights, a Polish nonprofit. It currently has over 22,000 likes.

Cases of domestic violence have been on the rise since the start of the pandemic.

More than 10 million women and men experience violence from an intimate partner  every year, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence based in Colorado. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reported a 9%  increase in emergency calls from March through May last year when many states issued lockdown orders. Police departments have reported increases of domestic violence cases around the country including 18% in San Antonio, 22% in Portland and 10% in New York City, according to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

If you are experiencing domestic violence in the United States and need help you can go to TheHotline.org to chat with someone or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Reddit Sleuths Are Taking A User To Task For Posting An AMA About Supposedly Meeting His PenPal After 15 Years

Things That Matter

Reddit Sleuths Are Taking A User To Task For Posting An AMA About Supposedly Meeting His PenPal After 15 Years

In a recent post to Reddit, a user by the name of u/pollutedmind22 shared a pretty remarkable story about a chance meeting that has users on the platform pretty riled up. Partly because it might just be too romantic to be true. 

“When i was 9, my elementary school had a penpal program, which would allow us to write letters to other 9-year-olds across the whole country. i was young and curious at the time, so i decided to send them a letter,” explained Reddit user u/pollutedmind22.

The user went onto further explained that his letter reached a girl who lived across the country. “Jane” as the user calls his panpal for privacy’s sake, lived near New Orleans while the Reddit user lived in Denver at the time. The two wrote to each other and got a long well enough that their parents decided to encourage their communications because they knew it would improve their writing. According to the Reddit user, the two talked about everything from their crushes to their studies and families. “We were as close as two people could be without meeting, explained. Things went along so well that the two wrote once a week. “I remembered how excited i would be waiting for the letter, and putting off everything to immediately reply to her. We both grew up together, and we confided all our problems with each other.” explained the user. 

According to the Reddit user in 2014, after around 10 years of writing manual letters, they decided to move to email, as it was faster to type and messages could be sent instantly.

Then, earlier this year the Reddit user began working in a restaurant as a side job while completing their studies. It so happens that when he started his work, he began working alongside a woman named Jane. ” I found it funny, and a hilarious coincidence, and thus i emailed Jane telling her so,” explained the user. “It was then she sent back an email telling me that she was the Jane in question. Apparently, she had just moved to Denver and hadn’t had time to tell me, and just happened to work at the same shop as I did. what are the odds!”

The Reddit user explained that they have been working together for around 8 months and became so close in real life that they started dating 2 months ago.

During the AMA portion of the Reddit poster, one user asked “What was the spirit and essence of these letters and emails that kept the pen friendship going for so long?”

In response, the original Reddit user explained. “We were both introverts, and thus writing was a way both of us could freely express ourselves. I was motivated to keep writing as her personality was just great, she was funny and confident, and we both could share our personal problems, and just talk about life. Honestly, the 15 years and nearly 1000 letters and emails passed so quickly, and i’m just so glad i participated in that program in the first place.” 

Q: What was your first impression of her in that coffee store when you still didn’t know that it was infact your penpal you were looking at. –sieberde

A: “honestly, i didn’t pay much attention and she was busy calling someone, my first actual confrontation the next day was awkward to say the least. we just stood and looked at each other for what must have been 5 minutes.”

Q: You say she told you it was in fact her in an E-Mail. Did she know that it was you from the mail you wrote or did she get the hint sooner?-sieberde

A: “After reading my email, she quickly sent one back asking if it was <insert restaurant name>, as she realised that her new co worker shared the same name as i. after around 2 emails later, we realised that we actually met each other in person.”

Q: Hows the decade been?

A: it’s been full of ups and downs, but we have always wrote to each other and consoled each other when stuff went wrong. i basically lived my conscious life with her, and we shared everything with each other. so the decade has been like a normal decade, but with a close friend that always stuck to me.

Of course, as is typical for Reddit boards, internet sleuths have pressed the user to prove the validity of this story. Particularly considering how cute it is and some various valuable points.

As one user pointed out “you expect people to believe that you and Jane are 24-year-old friends who are as close as you could be with someone you hadn’t met – and you never connected on social media? Never shared a photo?”

As another user pointed out, it seems odd that the Redditer’s friend would only share that she had moved to his hometown after the fact. Especially because they seemed to have grown so close in recent years 

“So a girl you’ve been writing letters to for a decade and a half moved to the same city as you and failed to tell you until she already got a job?” JayCroghan pointed out. “Alright, buddy. Not only applied for a got a job but management had time to let employees know.”

TBT on what the real story is here but we’ll be keeping you posted.

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