Things That Matter

The F.C.C. Has Officially Voted To Repeal Net Neutrality And Americans Are Outraged

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted today to repeal net neutrality in a purely partisan vote.

The rules were set in place to regulate Internet service providers (ISPs), like Comcast, Verizon, and TimeWarner, so they don’t harm American consumers. Essentially, net neutrality made it so ISPs had to treat all web traffic equally, meaning that no website could get preferential treatment over another. It also made it so ISPs couldn’t force you to pay more for faster service.

The vote came down to a 3:2 decision in favor of eliminating net neutrality, which more than 80 percent of Americans are in favor of protecting. The decision fell to party line, with three Republican men voting to eliminate the consumer protections and two Democrat women voting to preserve the right to fair and equal Internet. Repealing the Open Internet Order, the official name of the net neutrality rules, could bring disastrous consequences for free speech on the Internet, according to experts.

So, what can happen when companies aren’t regulated by net neutrality rules? An example is when AT&T blocked costumers from using FaceTime unless they changed their plans. Consumer watch groups threatened to take their complaints to the government, which forced AT&T to open up FaceTime capabilities to all the iPhones and iPads on their system.

Several politicians have come forward denouncing the FCC’s decision to roll back Internet protections for Americans. However, the impact of the vote won’t be immediate.

According to TechCrunch, Internet lovers should not be too concerned just yet. While the vote might have been super rushed, as many unpopular Republican decisions have been lately, the government will continue to move at the slow pace it always has. The vote today does not mean that net neutrality is instantly gone. The FCC will still have to get the decision entered into the federal register and that could take a couple of months.

Several states are already gearing up for a legal battle to challenge the ruling in an effort to reverse it.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a multi-state lawsuit against the FCC to stop what he calls an “illegal rollback of net neutrality.” Schneiderman warns that the decision could mean that consumers will have to start paying to access websites like Twitter and Facebook because it will be up to he ISPs who regulate traffic.

The states joining the lawsuit include: Virginia, Delaware, Hawaii, California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Maine, Mississippi, Oregon, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Washington, Vermont, and District of Columbia.

While most politicians have spoken out against the move, Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro might be using it as a way to undermine Sen. Ted Cruz’ campaign.

The recent electoral loss of Roy Moore in Alabama has given Democrats a new lease on elections. There has already been a lot of speculation that Moore’s loss has set Democrats up to take on people like Cruz to and take back the House.

Major Internet companies have come out against the decision that will impact everyone who uses the Internet.

In a speech before the vote, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai claimed the repeal of net neutrality is in favor of Internet consumers.

“We are helping consumers and promoting competition,” Pai said before the vote, as reported in the New York Times. “Broadband providers will have more incentive to build networks, especially to underserved areas.”

Yet, experts claim that the opposite will happen.

“If we don’t have net neutrality protections that enforce tenets of fairness online, you give internet service providers the ability to choose winners and losers,” Steve Huffman, chief executive of Reddit, told The New York Times. “This is not hyperbole.”

Even though the affects of this vote will not be felt immediately, the backlash is swift and widespread.

While most Americans are in favor of net neutrality, Schniederman discovered millions of fraudulent comments have been made online under names and identities dead people, children, or other people who’s identities were used. Schneiderman’s office is investigating the identity theft and will be using it to attack the recent vote.

The fight to save the Internet is not over. Please call your elected representatives and let them know you want to protect a fair and equal Internet for all Americans.

If you don’t know who to call, you can find your elected officials here.

You can also call FCC Chairman Ajit Pai at (202) 518-7933 or the FCC at (202) 418-1000 to let them know what you think of their decision.


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

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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).

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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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