Well, popular vote loser Donald Trump’s FCC did it.
The Federal Communications Commission has officially begun to undo Obama-era regulations on Internet service providers, often called net neutrality rules. The rules, passed in 2015, had placed cable and telecom companies under the strictest-ever oversight of the agency.
In a 2-1 vote along party lines Thursday, the FCC’s Republicans voted to propose a new review of the rules, with the goal of loosening the regulations on the industry. As dozens of protesters outside urged the agency to stop the proceeding and keep the strict oversight, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai argued that the current rules represented a “bureaucratic straitjacket” on the industry. […]
The dissenting Democratic commissioner, Mignon Clyburn, “vociferously” opposed Pai’s proposal, calling it “no-touch” rather than light-touch. “If you unequivocally trust that your broadband provider will always put the public interest over self-interest or the interest of their stockholders, then
‘Destroying Internet Freedom’ [proposal] is for you,” she said.
This will be a helluva fight, waged vigorously for the next 90 days during which the FCC will take public comment and will draft the proposed new rules. We’ve got more allies in this fight than we’ve ever had before, including Senate Democrats like Sen. Brian Schatz (HI) to fight with us. So that’s one big hurdle overcome—we’re not having to convince congressional Democrats to come with us. Because they totally get it now.
During a series of Senate floor speeches, Democratic lawmakers repeatedly emphasized the importance of net neutrality for free speech online. And they made clear that the internet’s role in facilitating unfettered public dialogue is especially crucial now, given Trump’s hostile attitude toward the First Amendment, including his characterization of news organizations as “the enemy of the American people.”
Shutting down the open internet is tantamount to shutting down free speech and doing it for Trump makes it even more fraught with danger. If you haven’t already commented, make sure that you do. Make sure your friends and family and book club and dinner club and neighbors and especially your Facebook friends do too.