Hey reddit,

The FCC just held a closed door meeting with lobbyists from the Cable industry, and now the Wall Street Journal and others are reporting that the new chairman is moving fast to dismantle the Open Internet order / net neutrality protections that we won last year. If this happens, it would open the flood gates for a tiered internet with fast lanes and slow lanes, throttling, and censorship.

This news does not come as a surprise, but it’s coming faster than we thought. So now is the time to mobilize. Members of Congress are in their home districts this week and next, which makes this a particularly critical moment for us to make our voices heard.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Find a Congressional Town Hall Meeting near you and show up to ask a question or hold a sign in support of net neutrality.

2. Request a meeting with your member of Congress while they are in district over the next two weeks.

3. Sign this petition telling Congress that net neutrality is not a partisan issue.

We need to make sure that there is someone asking a question about net neutrality at every single Congressional town hall meeting taking place over the next two weeks. This is a task that redditors are perhaps uniquely positioned to accomplish. In addition to asking questions, we encourage redditors to use the comments section or create threads to organize meet-ups or support each other in attending events and speaking to members of Congress about why net neutrality is important to them. Search for town hall meetings near you here.

We represent just a handful of the massive coalition of organizations, startups, tech experts, and individuals that banded together to fight for the net neutrality protections that we have in place now. Some of us helped launch the Battle for the Net campaign, which was part of the effort that helped drive nearly 4 million comments to the FCC. Ask us anything!!!

Answering questions today are:

  • Ernesto Falcon (Electronic Frontier Foundation, proof)
  • Evan Greer (Fight for the Future, proof)
  • Ferras Vinh (Center for Democracy & Technology, proof)
  • Kate Forscey (Public Knowledge, proof)
  • Matt Wood (Free Press, proof)

Resources to learn more:

Comments: 93 • Responses: 12  • Date: 

shiruken15 karma

Net neutrality seems to be a fairly partisan issue (at least in Congress). How can supporters effectively communicate the need for net neutrality to Republicans and conservatives?

evanFFTF19 karma

This is a great question and super important right now. Lobbyists for companies like Comcast and AT&T have been working really hard to try to turn net neutrality into a partisan issue, even though voters from across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support it.

Here are some good resources for conservatives who care about net neutrality: * The Atlantic: "The Conservative Case for Net Neutrality" * The Verge: "Six Reasons Real Conservatives Should Defy Republicans and Support Net Neutrality" * Washington Examiner: "A Free Market Defense of Net Neutrality"

evanFFTF3 karma

Reminding lawmakers that net neutrality is a free speech issue is also important. Throttling websites is a form of censorship. Without net neutrality protections there is nothing to stop a company like Comcast (who owns MSNBC) from slowing down websites like Breitbart or Newsmax while speeding up the New York Times and Huffington Post. This of course cuts the other way as well. The bottom line is that the companies that connect us to the Internet should get to control what we can see and do once we get there.

mattfwood6 karma

Hi everyone. Happy to be here. Since top level posts must contain a question: who has questions about Net Neutrality? (Thought we'd start with a softball....)

jeremycollake3 karma

It would seem like we've already lost the race. True power is being exercised in an unabashed manner, despite the people's interest.

evanFFTF5 karma

We definitely haven't already lost! Keep in mind that the net neutrality protections we have now are ones that EVERYONE said were impossible to achieve. Everyone said it was impossible to stop SOPA too. The Internet makes impossible things possible. Let's keep it that way!

smokinJoeCalculus4 karma

I have a really difficult time explaining Network Neutrality to people because a lot of the terminology used is not really .. "simple" to explain.

Do you have any go-to examples/comparisons/terms to help relay what NN is and more importantly why it's so important to maintain?

evanFFTF5 karma

I often say that net neutrality is the "First Amendment of the Internet." It's the basic principle that protects our freedom of speech and ensures that all voices can be heard online.

evanFFTF3 karma

If I'm allowed, I'm going to ask my own question. What will everyone reading here DO over the next month to help defend the net neutrality protections that help keep the Internet awesome. Will you attend a town hall meeting? Call your lawmakers? Write a letter to the editor? Throw a benefit show for organizations fighting for this? Sign a petition? If you plan to do stuff like this, tell other redditors so we can remember we're not alone in this fight!

machineriesofjoy3 karma

Net Neutrality took quite a lot of effort to pass into law. Would it really be that easy to dismantle?

evanFFTF8 karma

It won't be easy if we have anything to do with it! But the net neutrality protections that we won are at the FCC, which is an independent agency, so the new administration does have a fair amount of power to change the rules or refuse to enforce them. That's why it's super critical that we generate a massive public response right now -- so the new FCC, and Congress, know that they can't come and try to take away these rules without a huge fight.

petemitchell-333 karma

One of the most frustrating things about the fight for net neutrality is that I've seen several activists use the fact that greed and money is the only reason these freedoms are being taken away from us.

While this is 100% true, the frustrating part is that using that argument only makes the wealthy opponents to net neutrality even more aggressive in their fight against it. This is because in their (very uninformed) minds, we're telling them that they'll lose money if we keep our freedoms in place. It's like we're handing that argument to them on a platter.

How can we strip the money/greed argument out of the conversation so we can talk to them on a level playing field? Or, do you know of a way to use their greed against them and offer ways that they'd actually profit from net neutrality?

evanFFTF3 karma

Net neutrality is hugely important for technological innovation. Almost every startup -- whether it's a new dogwalking business or an online store -- depends on it in some way. And the Internet is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. It benefits all of us, including wealthy individuals.

RainDesigner2 karma

I live in south america and I feel like a second class citizen in this matters because any big descision made in the US will probably be replicated in my country. Is there anything foreigners can do help protect the internet?

evanFFTF7 karma

It's also important to remember that -- unfortunately -- US internet policy affects people all over the world. If we lose net neutrality protections and it has a chilling effect on online speech and innovation, we all lose out, regardless of where we live. People who are not in the US can still submit comments to the FCC, and I encourage everyone to help spread the word on social media as well.

aoekgdlwodk2 karma

Hey FFTF, you guys do good work! I wish you the best of luck, these next several years are no-doubt going to be busy.

Anyway, a lot of people believe the key issue behind internet access right now are big ISPs. They lobby for anti-consumer practices, they're frivolous, and have worked together to limit our options. What do you believe is the true solution to curbing this toxic regional monopoly situation huge ISPs have and restore power of the internet back to the people? More start-ups? More advocates in congress? An entirely new way to access the internet? And what can the average citizen do to help?

evanFFTF3 karma

Thanks! And yes, this is absolutely right on. The fundamental problem here is that Team Cable, the big ISPs including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, etc. have chosen to leverage their political and lobbying power to push toward near-monopoly status, rather than innovating or providing better services to consumers. That means that many people living in the US have basically no choice between providers for high speed Internet. That lack of competition allows these companies to abuse their role as gatekeepers, squeeze customers for more money, throttle our connections with arbitrary data caps, etc. The first thing we need to do is organize to stop them from dismantling the strong net neutrality protections that are preventing them from doing even more "Cable company fuckery" (as John Oliver put it.) But in the long run we also need to push to remove legal barriers to municipal broadband and and make it easier for people to start small, local ISPs. It's notable that a bunch of small ISPs spoke out last month when the big ones lobbied to strike down the FCC's Internet privacy rules. We need more of that!

Ron_Swanson_Giggle1 karma

How the hell was this posted 20 hours ago, yet I am only just now seeing it?

evanFFTF2 karma

Yes, it seemed to pick up steam more this morning! I'll keep checking in throughout the day if folks have more questions. :-)

Fantasy_masterMC1 karma

I've been coming across people stating that the whole net neutrality removal will not just be a privacy issue, but also a security issue. Yet I cannot find who said it, or where, or what. Anyone know more about the security risks of allowing ISP's to mine and sell data (apart from the most obvious issues)?

evanFFTF1 karma

This piece by Gigi Sohn, who formerly worked at the FCC, explains pretty well how killing net neutrality will also undermine online privacy: http://www.theverge.com/2017/4/11/15258230/net-neutrality-privacy-ajit-pai-fcc

And then EFF has this resource about how striking down the FCC's broadband privacy rules weakens everyone's cybersecurity: https://www.eff.org/files/2017/03/26/fcc_privacy_rule_cra_cybersecurity_memo.pdf

LostGundyr1 karma

Pai wants to overturn that reclassification, but wants internet providers to voluntarily agree to not obstruct or slow consumer access to web content, two officials said late Tuesday. As if they would fucking do that. Why the fuck would they when they can sell speedier packages to make more money? Is this guy a fucking idiot? I think I already answered my own question.

evanFFTF2 karma

Unfortunately, he's not an idiot -- he's a former cable company lobbyist who is ideologically committed to parroting their talking points and using his position to undermine rules that protect the public from abusive practices.