Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Net-Neutrality Bill Struck Down In US Court; Worry Settles In

Today at noon: [the voting on the Net Neutrality Law] "Should internet service providers be allowed to restrict access to websites and block certain content from customers depending on how much they pay to be connected? On Tuesday, a federal appeals court said yes.

That ruling was handed down early Tuesday by way of a 2-1 decision in the United States Court of Appeals for the District Columbia Circuit in Washington, DC, and those who’ve been following the case closely say this week’s decision could have colossal consequences for the way Americans access the internet." -sourced from rt.com [full article can be read here]

Unfortunately this issue is not as new as it sounds; in 2011 Net Neutrality was struck down for the first time by our House of Representatives with the vote coming down to party lines as 15 republicans all voting to strike the rules against the 8 Democrats supporting them. However, the rules were not seen widely as regulations. In fact, the rules were meant to protect consumers by insisting Internet Service Providers could not selectively block web traffic and ensuring all web access was treated equally. So why is this law NOT being supported by our government? What does this mean for us? If the government no longer enforces the Open Internet Order, It means that the internet could be largely controlled by broadband companies and what content you are allowed to access could be determined by what Internet Service Provider you have, and organizations like the NSA can gain easier access to website tracking (and restricting) and data collecting (and restricting) under these ISPs simply because these companies are required (forced) to give this data to the NSA already.

Here is a wonderful article from Marvin Ammori on the topic of the losing of Net Neutrality in the Opinions section of wired.com: http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/11/so-the-internets-about-to-lose-its-net-neutrality/

Once again our own US government is trying to restrict and delegate our right to digital information and content, now to the highest bidder. Just like SOPA/PIPA in 2012, we need to stop government regulation of our right to the internet including our own digital privacy. With this in light, a new movement has come into play, and it's one that needs to be supported by even the most ordinary of Americans to combat this sickness. On February 11, a broad coalition of internet-involved organizations will go online to protest massive electronic surveillance by various governments. The protest was announced on the anniversary of Aaron Swartz’s suicide and is dedicated to his memory. The software engineer and online freedom activist took his life in 2013 amid prosecution over alleged illegal downloading of a large number of academic journal articles, the charges which could have landed him in jail for up to 35 years. The protest coalition includes organizations holding high stakes on online freedoms, like the open-source software developer Mozilla Foundation, link aggregator Reddit and the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation. The organizers hope to repeat the success of the internet blackout against SOPA/PIPA bills. In January 2012 thousands of websites, including Wikipedia, Reddit, Flickr and others, went dark in a symbolic gesture to demonstrate, that the bills debated at the time in the US Congress would ruin the internet as we know it.

So it's time to rise up. February 11th, 2014 is THE DAY WE FIGHT BACK!

Follow the link to get more information on what can be done to support and get cool little web tools to show your support on social media sites. Also follow the discussions on Reddit @ /r/thedaywefightback