Net neutrality makes a comeback

On Nov. 21, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission – better referred to as the FCC – released plans to repeal the Obama Administration’s Net Neutrality. From Nov. 21 to Dec. 14, 2017, the general public took the streets and the internet, protesting through major cities, ranting on every form of social media and, most importantly, calling their representatives to try and stop them from voting in favor of repealing the act.
Net neutrality, according to the Internet Society, is “a complex and controversial topic and is an important part of a free and open Internet. Enabling access, choice, and transparency of Internet offerings empowers users to benefit from full access to services, applications, and content available on the Internet.” Or, as the free press states, Net Neutrality “preserves our right to communicate freely online. [It] means an internet that enables and protects free speech.”
On Dec. 14, it was time to vote, and the repeal was approved, causing an uproar among the general public. The outrage continued for another month, until 50 of the 51 state senators had voted to overrule the FCC. Due to the Congressional Review Act, after the FCC made their decision, the senate has 60 legislative days to go back on their decision. “The Trump Administration’s Net Neutrality repeal benefits big telecoms but threatens free speech and consumers’ wallets. Restoring net neutrality should be a bipartisan priority. So far, 50 US Senators are on board. We need at least 51 to win the vote in the Senate,” said Senator Jack Reed, encouraging people to call in and tell their representatives how they felt about the issue.
According to the Washington Post, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, one of the lawmakers spearheading the effort, said “With full caucus support, it’s clear that Democrats are committed to fighting to keep the Internet from becoming the Wild West where ISPs are free to offer premium service to only the wealthiest customers while average consumers are left with far inferior options.”
Along with the potential rejection of the repeal, 21 attorneys general are suing the FCC in representation of their states for taking away net neutrality. Along with the states – those among them being New York, California, and Washington – different companies are suing the FCC as well. One of the companies being Mozilla, the company that owns Firefox, which is one of the major web browsers in the world.
Meanwhile, Ajit Pai, the FCC’s Republican chairman who spearheaded the vote to repeal net neutrality, has been feeling the backlash of going against the public’s wishes. In recent weeks, Pai has been harassed extensively both online and in person, people going so far as to post aggressive signs aimed to hurt his children. Pai has cancelled two major public appearances, “I understand that people are passionate about policy, but the one thing in America that should remain sacred is that families, wives and kids, should remain out of it,” Pai said in response to the harrasment, according to Fox News. “And stop harassing us at our homes.”
“Net neutrality was essential for our economy; it was essential to preserve freedom and openness,” said Julius Genachowski, retired FCC chairman.