On July 12th, a large number of giant tech companies, most notably Amazon, have collaborated for a “Day of Action” to save the people’s right for an open internet by protesting against the US Federal Communications Commission’s proposal to stamp out Obama’s net neutrality rules.
Corynne McSherry, legal direct of the Electronic Frontier Foundation said that “the internet was built on the simple but powerful idea that while you may need to pay a service provider for internet access, that provider doesn’t get to shape what you access—or who has access to you.”
Among the protesters are Amazon, Etsy, Kickstarter, Reddit, Mozilla, Vimeo, Netflix, Twitter, GitHub, AdBlock, AnchorFree, BitTorrent, Golden Frog, SoundCloud, ZenMate, Writers Guild of America East, Women’s March, Wanderu, Fight for the Future, and many more. These companies will make significant changes to their websites to raise consciousness and expand awareness about the seriousness of this matter. Amazon is considered to be the biggest company in the web to take part in the protest against the demolition of net neutrality by the Trump administration. This means that a large number of shoppers will be notified about the urgency to protect net neutrality since Amazon hosts one of the largest client bases on the internet. Further, Amazon has not only signed up but has also started mobilising for the mass protest on the internet. Discord, a free VoIP app for gamers, urged its users to prepare for the Day of Action by activating their HypeSquad and expressing their opinions publicly on social media and battleforthenet.com. OkCupid also sent in-app messages to its users urging them to make their voices heard on battleforthenet.com. Vimeo, on the other hand, relied on graphics and created a powerful video to explain the dangers of net neutrality rollback. Other websites like: Sony and Plays.TV have added wide alerts on their websites to encourage their users to speak out and fight the FCC to save net neutrality.
Although Amazon has not issued an official statement, Vimeo expressed how net neutrality has helped the company prosper in an official statement:
“Net neutrality made it possible for Vimeo, along with countless other startups, to innovate and thrive. The FCC’s proposed rollback of the 2015 open internet rules threatens to impede that innovation and allow a handful of incumbent ISPs to determine winners and losers.”
Moreover, Denelle Dixon, Mozilla’s chief legal officer said in an official statement that “The FCC is endangering Americans’ access to a free and open web,” [...]“The FCC is creating an Internet that benefits ISPs, not users.”
The net neutrality act – also referred to as “Title II” of the Communications Act- that was passed during the Obama administration protects the fundamental elements for free speech and creativity on the internet. More importantly, it guaranteed the equality of the flow of internet traffic by prohibiting telecommunication and broadband companies, such as: Verizon, AT&T and Comcast from dividing the internet into lanes where they can throttle speeds, block websites and charge web services for additional fees/tariffs in order to get more traffic and reach an audience. You can read more about net neutrality here. Without net neutrality, internet users will be forcibly fed content by their providers much like programs shown on the T.V.
That is why on July 12th, internet communities together with major websites will group up and cry “Havoc!” by changing their homepages of their websites into an alert zone where netizens from all over the world will be warned about the gravity of the dangers proposed by Trump administration’s net neutrality rollback decision. Netizens will be able to voice their opinion about net neutrality to the FCC and Congress in comments. In addition, apps and web services will be able to raise the alarm by pushing notifications to their users, whereas social media platforms will be the voice of the people where everyone can share their concerns and disapproval of Trump’s takedown on net neutrality.
“Without strong net neutrality rules, though, I’m concerned that the cable and wireless companies that control internet access will have outsized power to pick winners and losers in the market,” said Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator on Tuesday.
Adding her voice to the debate, Melissa Tidwell, Reddit’s general counsel said in an official statement, “we have always been strong advocates for net neutrality and we will communicate that to all relevant agencies and Congress.”
It is very obvious that July 12th is not going to be an ordinary day on the internet. It will be a day where citizens of the internet and business owners, especially giant web corps, like Amazon, will stand hand in hand to fight for their internet freedom and ensure that the future of the internet will not be threatened by the federal government.