Tech Websites Band Together For Net Neutrality

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Tech Websites Band Together For Net Neutrality

Although AT&T has fiercely fought the Federal Communications Commission's net-neutrality rules, it's backing Wednesday's "day of action" denouncing AT&T and other ISPs. Users and organizations can also visit Battle for the Net to join the protest.

If you visit any of the major online services like Google, Twitter, Reddit, Netflix and the likes, you'll be greeted with nearly a similar kind of message that asks users to protect the internet and defend net neutrality.

It's always nice to see that the internet can come together.

The debate around net neutrality could lead to one of the internet's biggest structural shifts since its conception. They could throttle, block, and censor content, as well as charge us extra fees to access the websites we want.

Groups like the ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation also ran homepage ads urging visitors to support net neutrality.

As John Nichols writes today, the fight for net neutrality "is really the fight over the whole of the future", with ramifications for "personal communications, education, commerce, economic arrangements, and democracy itself".

USTelecom president Jonathan Spalter said the real issue in the net-neutrality protest was protecting the bottom lines of "large, powerful internet companies".

The protest, which has been dubbed the "day of action" by originator BattlefortheNet, has gained a substantial following from a host of internet giants and celebrities. Currently, there is no indication that any will, but the net neutrality rules do not preventing these companies from doing so.

As part of the day of protest, Silicon Valley companies and website operators are raising concerns over the rule change, fearful it will favor Goliaths over Davids.

The FCC's chairman, Ajit Pai, expressed his desire to remove a rule called the Open Internet Order, which had been put in place under the Obama administration. "If you don't want to live in that future, it's time to take action".

Google and others are calling for members of the public to tell the FCC to "preserve the open internet". "If we lose these protections, then we will lose all that diversity", she said.

Net neutrality, which some have described as the "first amendment of the internet", is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs) treat everyone's data equally - whether that's an email from your mother, an episode of House of Cards on Netflix or a bank transfer. You don't have to be a big shot to compete.

While pirates may have helped to get the ball rolling, they're no longer a player in the current net neutrality debate. "If we lost net neutrality, we lose the internet as we know it", he said in the clip. This is particularly amusing to me, because in 2014 I literally wrote an article called "The internet is fucked".

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