WASHINGTON, DC – At an event in Washington, DC today Ajit Pai, former Verizon lawyer and new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), announced his plan to ignore the voices of millions of Americans and slash the Title II based net neutrality protections that prevent Internet Service Providers from discriminating against, censoring, or slowing down websites.
Fight for the Future, a nonpartisan digital rights organization that has lead the largest online protests in history in support of Internet freedom, issued the following statement, which can be attributed to campaign director Evan Greer (pronouns: she/hers:)
Ajit Pai isn’t even trying to hide the fact that he’s a puppet bureaucrat doing the bidding of companies like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon (his former employer.) Moving so quickly to slash the protections that millions of Internet users from across the political spectrum fought for is a slap in the face to democracy and poses a serious threat to the future of freedom of expression.
Pai’s speech was an insult to the intelligence of internet users. He attempts to portray basic free speech protections as heavy handed government regulation.
Net neutrality is the First Amendment of the Internet. By ignoring what the public wants and attacking Title II open Internet rules, the FCC is playing with fire and potentially opening the floodgates for widespread censorship.
Paving over the Internet into fast lanes for those who can afford to pay and slow lanes for the rest of us will turn the Web into a place where the wealthiest and most powerful can be heard, while ordinary people and alternative voices are drowned out.
If Ajit Pai thinks that destroying net neutrality is going to be easy, he has another thing coming. Internet users will fight tooth and nail to defend our basic right to connect, create, learn, and share.”
Fight for the Future was instrumental in the massive grassroots campaign that successfully pushed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to enact the strongest net neutrality protections in US. history last year. They built the page BattleForTheNet.com, which was responsible for more than ¼ of all the net neutrality comments received by the FCC during its feedback process, and were behind the Internet Slowdown protest, the largest online protest since SOPA, which drove nearly 1 million comments to the FCC and hundreds of thousands of phone calls to Congress in a single day, and was supported by more than 40,000 websites including Kickstarter, Etsy, Netflix, and Tumblr.
The group also helped take the fight for net neutrality into the streets with creative protest campaigns like Occupy the FCC and the nationwide Internet Emergency protests, and bombarded the FCC with phone calls from CallTheFCC.org
Fight for the Future is best known for their role in the massive online protests against SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, and continues to organize many of the largest protests in the history of the Internet. Over the summer, they organized the high profile Rock Against the TPP tour featuring many celebrities and well known musicians. Learn more at FightFortheFuture.org