Action Alert: The ‘Net Is Under Attack

Federal Communications Commission chair Ajit Pai is leading what the Star-Ledger’s editorial board is describing as a GOP scheme to deregulate the Internet–specifically allowing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to charge web content providers different rates for the speed it allows their sites to be accessed.

This is a critical issue to Internet users and content creators as it would allow large companies to control access to information and effectively shut down small sites like this one, stifling dissenting opinions. The reaction to the proposed regulation change provides an interesting look at the state of online activism.

The Ledger advises concerned citizens to urge their GOP Congressional representatives to legislate the matter before Pai and the FCC change the rule. It lists their office contact information.

One of the leading advocacy groups on this issue is Free Press, which has a petition up directed to Pai himself asking him to “start listening to the public. Do not end Net Neutrality.” and a petition at Save The Internet which is directed to U.S. Senators and offers a “click-to-call” option and sample script to call a Senator. While this is a reasonable tactic for many states, New Jersey residents are better off with the Ledger recommendation to contact GOP Congressional representatives.

The Ledger also posted two videos to accompany their editorial: 1. a five-minute PBS report on the issue and 2. a long John Oliver segment, explaining the issue using humor and (at the end of a nearly 20-minute segment) a direct call to action, directing viewers to contact the FCC directly through their online system, which shows 22 million comments on the issue, which the video attributes to Oliver urging citizens to take action.

Thanks to the ease of technology in creating petitions, a bounty of online options including the above exist and a simple web search identified tools ranging from Credo Action’s petition to chairman Pai, which boast nearly 200,000 signatures as of the time of this post down to a petition with 35 signatures, the origin of which and who the petition goes to (Pai? Your House Rep? Your Senate rep?) I can’t make out.