Today, the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality officially goes into effect, but the battle for the free and open Internet is just beginning. Fight for the Future, the small but fierce digital rights group behind the largest protests in Internet history, issued the following statement, which can be attributed to Deputy Director Evan Greer (pronouns: she/her):
Hold the obituaries. Net neutrality is not dead. Ajit Pai’s absurd repeal of basic free speech protections is the most unpopular decision in the history of the FCC, and it will not stand. The Senate already passed a historic bipartisan resolution disapproving the repeal. Now the entire Internet is laser focused on getting the House of Representatives to do the same.
Starting today, there is nothing legally preventing companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T from arbitrarily censoring entire categories of apps, sites, and online services, or charging Internet users expensive new fees to access them. Ajit Pai’s order hands our Internet providers complete control over everything we do on our phones and computers, from where we get our news and information about the world, to how we listen to music and stream video.
Cable and phone companies won’t start misbehaving right away, because they know they’re being watched. But over time, unless net neutrality is restored, the Internet as we know it will wither and die. The web will be dominated by a handful of the largest platforms who can afford pay to play fees, squeezing out independent voices and innovative ideas. We’ll lose all the cool, weird, controversial, and unexpected stuff that makes the Internet awesome, and one of the most important tools we have to combat tyranny and expose corruption.
People are pissed off. And rightly so. The gutting of net neutrality is a symbol of our broken democracy. It’s the worst of the worst that the DC swamp has to offer. But it has sparked an unprecedented backlash from across the political spectrum, and Internet users are coming out of the woodwork to fight tooth and nail in Congress, in the courts, and at the local and state level.
This summer we’ll channel our anger productively and harness the power of the Internet to mount an unprecedented district-by-district campaign to get Congress to do their job and reverse the FCC’s outrageous repeal. The Internet is coming for net neutrality. There is nowhere to hide. Any lawmaker, of any party, that fails to sign the discharge petition in support of the CRA will regret it come election time.
* The Congressional Review Act (CRA) allows Congress to overrule the FCC and restore net neutrality with a simple majority vote in both the Senate and the House.
* There have been nearly 20 million emails and phone calls to Congress driven through the website BattleForTheNet.com alone (run by Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, and Free Press Action Fund)
* Tens of thousands of major websites, apps, and online communities have risen up in a series of massive online protests
* Internet users have organized hundreds of protests, in-person meetings with lawmakers, and other events calling on lawmakers in all 50 states to support the CRA to restore net neutrality
* More than 6,000 small businesses, ranging from farmers to chiropractors to tech startups, have signed on to an open-letter calling on Congress to reverse the FCC repeal, and dozens have participated in business delegations
* Fight for the Future has played a leading role exposing serious issues of fraud and abuse that plagued Ajit Pai’s net neutrality repeal process, which has sparked investigations from Congress, major news outlets, and the Government Accountability Office.
* Hundreds of popular musicians, artists, and celebrities have lambasted the FCC repeal, including Cher, Chance the Rapper, Alyssa Milano, Mark Hamill, Michael Stipe, and Tom Morello
Fight for the Future is a small but fierce digital rights group best known for organizing many of the largest online protests in history, from the SOPA blackout to Reset The Net to the Red Alert for Net Neutrality. Learn more at https://www.fightforthefuture.org or follow us @fightfortheftr