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There Was A Red Alert For Net Neutrality. Here’s What That Means For You And Your Internet Freedom

A petition was presented by Democratic Senators —and at least one Republican —for the Congressional Review Act to reinstate net neutrality rules after its repeal in December 2017 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The CRA, a law that permits Congress to review and reject administrative decisions by federal agencies, would overturn the FCC’s repeal vote, bringing back the net neutrality rules and making it tougher for the agency to attempt to repeal them again. The petition filed by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and signed by every Democratic Senator including Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), sets up a 50-49 vote in favor of reinstating the regulations.

Under the petition, Senate Democrats will have 60 days to force a vote on the issue and if passed will move on to the House of Representatives for consideration

The action by the senate comes on the heels of months of grassroot campaigning in communities across the country that support net neutrality since its repeal back in December.

“In 2018, access to a free and open internet isn’t a privilege, it’s a right,” Senator Markey said in a press release. “Since the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality, we have witnessed a historic movement emerge to protect that right, and it continues to build. With only one more vote needed for my CRA resolution to undo the Trump administration’s political decision on net neutrality.”

Among the companies participating in the Red Alert are Tumblr, Reddit, Tinder and Foursquare.

The petition filing coincided with Net Neutrality Day of Action, organized by Red Alert, an activist initiative organized by Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, and Free Press Action Fund, which will bring awareness to the signing and the consequences of keeping the FCC’s ruling. Thousands of other large and small websites were expected to participate in the Red Alert. The net neutrality repeal would affect these smaller websites by regulating speeds and changing the online consumer experience.

Why the FCC’s repeal of Net Neutrality impacts minority groups.

With the FCC’s repeal of Net Neutrality, it is set to disproportionately impact minority groups in the way they communicate through social media. Huge social movements began on the internet because they never received major coverage from mainstream news outlets. Movements like the Ferguson Protests and its use of social media brought awareness to its cause. With the repeal of Net Neutrality, the future of social movements like this will be affected by the power of bigger news outlets and what the public sees and hears first.

A refresher on what is Net Neutrality and why you should care.

While net neutrality wasn’t a law yet in 2010, the FCC introduced net neutrality regulations that prohibited internet service providers from acting as gatekeepers on the web. Basically meaning that internet providers shouldn’t be allowed to offer faster delivery to websites and apps in exchange for higher fees, out of fear that big companies could use their wealth to buy preferential treatment and squeeze out competition. In December of 2010, the FCC passed on a finalized version of these regulations. That became the first time the FCC made a rule to regulate access to the internet. In 2015, the FCC made its biggest move by voting 3-2 to enact regulations that prohibited broadband and wireless internet service providers from selling faster delivery of service until it was repealed by the now Republican controlled FCC by a 3-2 vote in December.

Here is the signed petition by the senators that will begin the process of bringing back #NetNeutrality

We will have to wait and see if the senate vote makes it to the House and even if the motion ends there, states like Washington, Oregon, and California are proposing—and even passing—net neutrality laws of their own, setting them up for a showdown with the FCC.  A recent poll showed that 86 percent of Americans do not approve of the FCC’s action to repeal net neutrality rules.

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

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

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

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

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

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

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

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