Today, across the United States, Internet users are gathering for an emergency vigil calling on the FCC to protect the open Internet. We’ll be at the one here in San Francisco at 6pm in front of Civic Center Plaza, and we hope you’ll make it one near you. Our friends at Fight for the Future who are organizing the nationwide protests have all the info you need on how to find a protest near you.
From what we’ve heard, the FCC is quickly going down the wrong path for net neutrality, and we’ve got to stay organized, keep our pressure strong, and continue to voice our demands for meaningful protections for our freedoms to communicate and connect online.
According to news reports, the FCC is leaning towards a proposal that would protect the relationship between ISPs and big web companies, but not the relationship between ISPs and users. This “hybrid” approach would leave the door open for all kinds of discriminatory practices against end-users and is less likely to hold up in court than the clean proposal we’ve been supporting. Even rules that sound good aren’t going to help anyone if they wind up being struck down. And it doesn’t even make sense to differentiate between users who are “subscribers” and users who run websites; all users send and receive information online and any “subscriber” could start a website tomorrow. At best, such a distinction is factually incoherent, and at worst it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy, legally assigning “subscriber” and “provider” roles to people and companies on the Internet.
Here’s the real kicker: this summer 4 million people spoke out against “slow lanes” and Internet provider censorship, but “hybrid” rules would open the door for that kind of abuse. The final rules could come any day now. We can still stop this, but we have to act swiftly and show a strong response right away.
We need to send a strong message to President Obama and the FCC right now that Internet users won’t just roll over and let them take our rights away. So, drawing inspiration from the mass protests in Hungary that just defeated a tax on Internet use, we’ll gather after dark at the White House and government buildings nationwide and hold up our glowing cell phones, laptops, and tablets, to shine light on the mess unfolding in Washington, DC, that threatens our Internet, and with it our most basic freedoms to communicate and create.
The battle for the future of the Internet is coming to a head. We won’t let any half-baked FCC net-neutrality-for-some plan become policy. Spread the word and join us for the San Francisco event or find one near you:
What: Vigil in San Francisco for the Open Internet
When: November 6th, 6pm PT
Where: Civic Center Plaza, 355 McAllister St, San Francisco, California 94102
Bring your cell phone, flashlight, or candle!