In mid-January of 2012, we witnessed the largest online protest in the history of the internet. Websites “went dark” in protest of proposed legislation before the US House and Senate that could transform the internet. The two bills, Sopa and Pipa, aimed to stop the piracy of copyrighted material over the internet on websites based outside of the country. Critics of the measure argued that the laws would stifle innovation and investment—hallmarks of the open internet.
“These bills propose new powers for the government and for private actors to create, effectively, blacklists of sites…then force service providers to block access to those sites,” Corynne McSherry, intellectual property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told reporters. “That’s why we call these the censorship bills.”
Today, the fight for a free and open Internet—otherwise known as Net Neutrality—continues. It’s currently under threat by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Chairman Ajit Pai, appointed by the Trump administration, wants to scrap open Internet protections brought in by the Obama administration in 2015.
If that happens, it would allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to slow down access to certain parts of the web. Accessing streaming services like Netflix could end up costing you lots of money. And nobody wants that.
Pai wants to overturn laws introduced by the Obama administration in 2015, strictly regulating ISPs. In mid-May, the FCC said it would support a new proposal to repeal that order. A 90-day comment period was also opened, asking the public for their opinions on the matter.
In contrast to 2012, various websites have decided to take a different kind of stand. Social media sites are full of information giving people a sneak peek of what the Internet without Net Neutrality would look like. Netflix, Spotify, and Airbnb all have messages up on their pages urging people to contact their Congressmen.
Have you taken action yet?
Source: IFLScience, The Guardian