By Staff of Popular Resistance – On Thursday, March 23rd the campaign to protect net neutrality started. This will be a multi-year campaign to protect a victory the movement achieved two years ago — treating the Internet as a common carrier so there could be no discrimination on the Internet. Everyone would have equal access to the Internet and be treated equally on the Internet. Net Neutrality. The Trump administration, with its new Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Ajit Pai, wants to reverse net neutrality and let the corporations rule the Internet. This would be a disaster for free speech in the 21st Century, where the Internet is the primary forum.
By Steve Andriole for Forbes – Net neutrality is important to all things digital because it speaks directly to the governance and control of the world’s most important platform for communication, commerce, entertainment and education. The timing of the debate about net neutrality is especially important because of the explosion in the number of devices connected to the Internet through the so-called “Internet-of-Things” and “Internet-of-Everything.” Once everything is (more or less) connected, the world will change. The management of the platform and the applications will define life in the mid- to late 21st century. The Open Internet Order passed in 2015 with support from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
By Klint Finley for Wired – LITTLE SEEMS TO be standing in the way of Comcast, Verizon, and other internet service providers selling your personal information without your permission after the Federal Communications Commission took a first step toward delaying its own rules protecting consumer privacy and security. Last October the agency passed a set of rules that would have required internet providers to take new steps to protect your private data from hackers. That same regulatory package would have required ISPs to notify you if someone hacked your data and to get your active permission before selling your data.
By Charles Ferguson for The Guardian – In one of the most jaw-dropping press conferences of all time, this month President Trump declared war on the entire news media, except Fox News and Alex Jones of InfoWars. Last week he doubled down with his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, on the same day that the Guardian, New York Times, BBC and CNN were among news organisations barred from a press briefing. All of this is occurring at a time of unprecedented financial pressure on the news media. For newspapers and magazines, both advertising and readership are shifting rapidly from print to the internet. Print advertising and circulation revenues are declining sharply. Furthermore, as readership shifts to the internet, digital advertising revenues are shifting even more sharply away from the news publications themselves to the small number of technology companies that send them traffic. Facebook and Google now capture the overwhelming majority of digital advertising revenues.
By Mike Ludwig for Truthout – Ajit Pai, President Trump’s Republican pick to head the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is already sparring with media reformers just weeks into his term. On Thursday, a coalition of 40 racial justice, labor and digital rights groups demanded that the commission reverse a recent order that they say has canceled subsidized internet service for 17,500 low-income customers. On February 3, the FCC began to roll back several Obama-era reform efforts, including orders allowing nine telecom companies to provide Lifeline services to people who have trouble affording internet service. The decision could make it difficult if not impossible for tens of thousands of low-income families and students to get online, according to the digital advocacy group Free Press. Under Pai, the FCC has also begun to undo agency efforts to keep media consolidation in check, examine net neutrality issues in mobile services and enhance transparency in political advertising.
By Shane Burley for Waging Nonviolence – For many on the left, the string of appointments that have made up the president’s new administration have been discussed as a horror show. While many have been sent reeling by major appointments like Jeff Sessions and Steve Bannon, they are eclipsing others that could have significant policy effects. Trump’s selection of Mark Jamison, a former lobbyist for the telecomm giant Sprint, and Jeffrey Eisenach, a consultant for Verizon, to the Federal Communications Commission has made many advocates of “net neutrality” nervous. The fear is that they may represent the interests of telecommunications companies, which have a vested interest in going after the “open Internet.”
By Deji Olukotun and Peter Micek for Access Now – The largest mobile carriers in the U.S. have responded to a joint letter from Access Now and WITNESS asking them to provide adequate internet connectivity during the weekend of the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. The responses — from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular — indicate that the companies will boost capacity to handle the large influx of visitors to the capital, enabling free expression and documentation of any potential rights abuses. Our joint letter (PDF) specifically cites the need for expanded coverage not only at the inauguration but also demonstrations such as the planned Women’s March on Washington.
By James Vincent for The Verge – The Canadian government wants every citizen to have access to download speeds of at least 50 Mbps. Canada has recognized the obvious and declared high-speed broadband internet access a “basic telecommunications service” that every citizen should be able to access. Previously, only landline telephone services had received this designation from the country’s national telecoms regulator, CRTC, and the change is supported by a government investment package of up to $750 million to wire up rural areas.
By Jason Abbruzzese for Mashable – The battle for the future of a free and equal internet is flaring up again, and looks set to take a dramatic turn. The momentous win that net neutrality advocates celebrated in 2015 is on track to be reversed during Donald Trump’s presidency. On Monday, the president-elect named two high-profile opponents of net neutrality to oversee the transition of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which handles federal regulations of companies providing internet access to consumers.
By Lauren McCauley for Commondreams. Though Republican lawmakers have painted this moment in Internet history as ‘doomsday,’ and rallied a last ditch-effort to block it, at midnight on Saturday the U.S. government cede control of the web’s core naming directory to a multi-stakeholder nonprofit. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a California-based group of international stakeholders will now control the functions of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which includes the database that translates website names into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. The handover, hailed as “the most significant change in the Internet’s functioning for a generation” by the U.K.-based technology site The Register, was long fought for by open Internet advocates.
By Staff of Detroit Community Technology Project – The Equitable Internet Initiative will accelerate outreach, training and wireless broadband Internet sharing on the neighborhood level in Detroit. Led by the Detroit Community Technology project of Allied Media Projects, the Equitable Internet Initiative will ensure that more Detroit residents have the ability to leverage online access and digital technology for social and economic development.
By Andrea Germanos for Common Dreams – For his part, Wheeler, who had promoted the policy,said the decision “appears to halt the promise of jobs, investment, and opportunity that community broadband has provided in Tennessee and North Carolina,” adding, “The efforts of communities wanting better broadband should not be thwarted by the political power of those who, by protecting their monopoly, have failed to deliver acceptable service at an acceptable price.”
By Ben DeJarnette for Yes Magazine – Seven years ago, Winthrop, Minnesota, population 1,400, decided it needed an internet upgrade. Most local residents were served by companies like Mediacom, whichConsumer Reports consistently ranked among the country’s worst internet providers. Slow connection speeds made work difficult in local schools and businesses, but farmers outside of town, who increasingly rely on connectivity to do business, experienced the worst of it.
By Staff of Access Now – GENEVA — Today the United Nations Human Rights Council agreed by consensus to a resolution supporting human rights online, despite efforts by hostile states to eliminate key provisions in the text. The landmark document specifically condemns internet shutdowns and renews 2012 and 2014 resolutions that declared, unequivocally, that human rights apply online just as they do offline. “The U.N. has boldly spoken against the pressing problem of internet shutdowns. This unanimous statement by the world’s highest human rights body should give governments pause before they order blocking, throttling, and other barriers to information,”
By Timothy Karr for The Seattle Times – NET neutrality advocates can add last week’s court decision to a recent string of victories on behalf of everyday internet users. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected the latest broadband-industry bid to kill the open internet — a legal challenge to the Federal Communications Commission’s 2015 “net neutrality” decision. The FCC rules protect your right to connect with everyone else online without your cable or phone provider blocking websites or carving the internet into fast and slow lanes.