We Can Restore Net Neutrality!
On the one-year anniversary of the death of internet-activist Aaron Swartz, three judges in D.C. killed the internet. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the FCC's net neutrality rule, and opened the door to corporate control of the information we can access online. Net neutrality is the principal that internet providers must treat all content equally, rather than blocking or slowing down a website or application based on its subject matter, or on the amount someone is willing to pay to access it. Because of FCC changes during the Bush Administration, the judges ruled that internet providers no longer have to comply with net neutrality.
Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, companies that provided phone or television service were classified as common carriers, and were required to provide everyone with equal access to these services. Internet providers were originally subject to these regulations as well, but that all changed in 2005, when Bush's FCC exempted them from common carrier status. So, yesterday the appeals court ruled that there is no way to force these internet providers to comply with these regulations.
The judges did, however, hint at one possible solution. Because this ruling centers on the fact that the FCC no longer classifies internet providers as common carriers, a simple rule change could once again subject them to these standards. No corporation should have control over the information we access, and internet content shouldn't be filtered based on who can pay the most to see or post it. We must push the FCC to reclassify internet providers as common carriers, and protect the freedom of the internet.