The Republican head of Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Ajit Pai, announced recently that the agency intends to repeal Obama-imposed net neutrality rules—a set of important regulations on the Internet.
“The FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate,” Pai said in a statement.
Net neutrality guarantees that ISP and government-run agencies ensure that all illegal websites are treated equally and access to them is open to everyone. The vote will take place in mid-December, and is widely expected to pass through the Republican-dominated FCC.
The system opens dangerous doors. You could end up with restricted Internet access unless you’re willing to spend more—something that net neutrality laws prevent. Obama’s support for those laws gave the US some of the best protections in the world, keeping ISPs from cutting off or restricting access as they see fit. Essentially, stripping the public of these laws is an “authoritarian dream.” It has the potential to create an even more divided nation—where only those with money have access to information.
The internet goes beyond information, of course. It’s also a place where we connect with friends and develop and share our own ideas. We build businesses. We learn. Removing net neutrality also removes your right to freely do these things.