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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