Today, I sent a letter to my Senator. Well… an email, actually, but that doesn’t sound as exciting or dramatic, so… yeah. Anyway, I sent an email to my Senator today, and I’ll probably send another one tomorrow.
You might have heard the term ‘net neutrality’ floating around the interwebs recently, and you might not really know what it is. Net neutrality is the idea that no ISP (Internet Service Provider) can censor, slow down, or make you pay extra for access to certain sites. Sounds pretty straight forward, right? Sounds like common sense, even. But there’s a catch. Net neutrality is guaranteed by laws passed in 2015, but those laws could soon be repealed.
The FCC, or the Federal Communications Commission, wants to repeal net neutrality, supposedly so that the government won’t be so involved in regulating the internet. They talk about it like this is a good thing, that free speech will be increased without the government enforcing these net neutrality rules. But that’s not true. With net neutrality repealed, ISPs will be able to actively censor the information and opinions available to consumers, by either blocking undesirable sites, putting them in an internet ‘slow lane’ (drastically increasing the site’s loading time), or hiding them behind a paywall. Freedom of speech will be curtailed. Independent companies, who can’t pay the ISPs to move their sites to the ‘fast lanes’, will die off. Companies could forward political agendas by only allowing access to sites that promote their viewpoint. Indies like myself, who rely on the internet to get word out and make sales, could be out of a job.
What can we do?
There’s still time to fight for net neutrality. The repeal goes up for voting in the FCC on December 14th, and it will probably go through, but Congress can stop this from happening if enough people contact them. You can call your Senators, or if phone calls make you anxious (like me!) you can use ResistBot to send your Senator a letter or email.
This issue is extremely important, and I hope that you will take a couple of minutes to learn more about net neutrality and contact your Senator and ask them to stop the repeal. Censorship is never the answer, and the truth is what makes us free, but it can’t if it’s trapped behind a paywall or stuck in the slow lane.