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November 27, 2017

Be a hero. Battle for the net.


I feel like I shouldn’t have to do this.  But I guess I have to do this.

*sigh*

All right.  Let’s do this lickety-split.  Because I guess if the government isn’t going to act in our best interests, we’ll have to pick up the slack.

I’m assuming that if you’re reading this post, you know what’s been going on.  If not, the short yet oversimplified answer -- as it has been for the past year or so -- is to stare daggers at the Orange White House.  The longer (but also ostensibly simplified) answer is that the new and “improved” FCC is gearing up to axe net neutrality in less than a month.  Based on what I’ve read, there’s a hefty list of consequences that’ll follow if it goes through.  ISPs will get to decide who pays what, and how much, which means that there could be a litany of charges for services we normally take for granted.

Websites would be at the mercy of ISPs, and could even get blocked if they don’t jump through hoops.  Services like Netflix streaming and online gaming are at risk (so if you want to binge watch Stranger Things, you might only be able to do so after you face a price hike).  Some fear that the highest bidders could create scenarios where those who shell out the big bucks could decide which sites perform well and which get buried in the depths of the net.  Speaking of bidders, ISPs could sell your data to third parties for profit -- at your expense and security, of course.  By extension?  That means that trashing net neutrality could open us up for greater cybersecurity risks.  Good thing we haven't had to deal with any of those in the past year or two.


From what I can gather, the FCC -- currently spearheaded by Republican chairman Ajit Pai -- has basically said “No, man.  Don’t worry about it.  It’ll all be on the level.”  And “You don’t get it.  We’re giving the American people more choices.  Nobody wants the government involved.  So let’s all be cool.”  Setting aside the fact that we kind of need regulations for a reason (like making sure dog food isn’t laced with drugs, poison, and poisonous drugs), there’s a lot of blind faith being put into companies that don’t really seem like they deserve it.  I’ve never had to deal with Comcast, but I’ve heard a couple of horror stories and plenty of disdain.  Imagine what they could do if someone took off their limiters.

As long as we’re dealing with this bizarro administration that seems more likely to ruin organizations (and whatever they’re charged with protecting) than to help them, a little skepticism is in order.  The real nightmare scenario here is one where the bigwigs get to decide who gets to see what.  That is, only those with corporate ties and eyes for profits could use the internet as they see fit.  Where would that leave the little guys, the common people who use the internet for creativity, expression, and their dreams?  Worse yet, what happens when the bigwigs -- those who only have loyalty to money -- throw their weight around to bury the little guys just because their donors don’t like the message they’re espousing?  I don’t want to play the fearmongering card, but it’s hard not to.


In case it wasn’t obvious, this isn’t some underground political activist haven.  I’ve spent more time trying to jam in secret Kamen Rider references into posts than doing any saber rattling at the GOP.  But I am a blogger, and I am using the internet on a bi-weekly basis to express myself and my opinions.  That’s ideal.  That’s the way it should be.  Everyone should have the chance to communicate ideas and content.  The fact that someone would threaten that in any way strikes me as a threat against free will itself -- and to me, there is no greater crime than the subjugation of free will.  Bar.  None.

People have already started mobilizing against Pai and the FCC’s efforts.  Rest assured: there are people out there who are in for a nasty wake-up call -- or calls in general, at least.  I hear that there’s a massive protest set up for December 7th, in the hopes that the vote on the 14th will get derailed in net neutrality’s favor.  And as it turns out, not even people on the FCC bard want to go through with this.  Well, not all of them, at least.  This situation has me nervous, but I know that the fight isn’t over yet.  So I’ll use this platform to give the net neutrality opponents the last thing they could possibly want: a call to action.

If you’re reading this and you have the time or will, then feel free to take action.  Check out battleforthenet.com and they’ll give you details on how to fight back.  Track down your congressmen and contact them, so that they can possibly -- possibly -- be swayed toward making the right choice.  Use Resistbot to automatically fax or mail your representatives -- with this guide to give an idea of what to say (besides an eye-searing wall of profanity).  Or, failing all that: help people stay informed.  Teach them what net neutrality is and why it matters.  Remind them of what’s at stake.  Don’t let the bad guys win without a fight.

I’m wary of using the phrase “bad guys”, but the longer this administration lasts, the more it seems like lines are being drawn in the sand.  But that’s fine.  Every story needs heroes.  So now it’s your turn to take on the role.


Thanks for reading.  Now let’s go save the world.

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