By Gerrit De Vynck for Bloomberg – Canada is strengthening regulations to protect the principle of net neutrality just as the U.S. is preparing to gut Obama-era internet rules. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said Thursday that Montreal-based wireless carrier Quebecor Inc.’s practice of not charging users for data they used for music-streaming services like Spotify violated fairness rules. In doing so, the regulator adopted a new framework that would forbid giving unfair access to certain content over others. Quebecor has 90 days to comply with the new rules. The decision also affects bigger Canadian carriers like Telus Corp. and Rogers Communications Inc., which supported Quebecor in the hearings but haven’t pitched similar offerings to their customers. Videotron, Quebecor’s telecommunications unit, is determining its next steps, and customers will be able to keep using the unlimited music service for now, the company said in a statement. “We regarded Unlimited Music as a compelling example of innovation and diversification from a new market entrant seeking to differentiate itself from the dominant mobile carriers, to the benefit of Canadian consumers,” said Videotron Chief Executive Officer Manon Brouillette.
By Popular Resistance. Washington, DC – April 20 was the third public meeting at the Federal Communications Commission under the leadership of the new chair, Ajit Pai, a former lawyer for Verizon. Pai has been a long-time opponent of rules to protect net neutrality. He voted against reclassification of the Internet as a common carrier under Title II in 2015 and he met recently with telecom representatives to discuss how to undermine net neutrality by relaxing enforcement of the rules. Net neutrality means that the Internet should be treated as a utility so that all people have equal access to content without discrimination based on ability to pay. The coalition that won net neutrality in 2015, which includes Popular Resistance, reconvened rapidly after Pai was chosen as chair and put together a strategy to protect net neutrality.
By Jeff John Roberts for Fortune – Ajit Pai does not like net neutrality. The new Chair of the Federal Communications Commission is clear he wants to tear up the policy and said he will start doing so as soon as this month. The question is whether anyone can stop him. Recall that net neutrality rules, in place since early 2015, prevent Internet providers from creating “fast lanes” for favored websites or from slowing down other sites that don’t pay a toll. The policy is loathed by the telecom industry as a form of undue regulation, but is popular with consumer advocates who claim it prevents internet providers from abusing their power. Pai’s plan to reverse the rules will anger his opponents but, on the face of it, there’s not much they can do.
By Dell Cameron for The Daily Dot – On Monday, President Donald Trump signed the resolution into law, formally repealing Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules that were designed to prevent internet service providers (ISPs), such AT&T and Comcast, from packaging and selling consumer data, including the web browsing behavior of their customers. “The Republican-controlled Congress wants broadband companies to use and sell sensitive information about Americans’ health, finances, and even children without consent,” wrote Markey, a Democrat, in a statement last week. “The big broadband behemoths and their Republican allies have fired their opening salvo in the war on net neutrality, and broadband privacy protections are the first victim.”
By Harper Neidig for The Hill – Net neutrality advocates are feeling emboldened by the outcry over the GOP’s repeal of internet privacy regulations, viewing it as an opportunity to harness grassroots support for their cause. “I think for Republicans and the ISPs who pushed them into this, this is a short-term victory,” said Matt Wood, policy director of the advocacy group Free Press. “But as they won this battle, they might have hurt their chances in the war, because they have reawakened people … to how it really isn’t a partisan issue.” The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) privacy rules, which were passed in October, would have required internet service providers to get permission from customers before using their data for advertising.
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 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 Popular Resistance. Washington, DC – Today marks the first public hearing by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the directorship of Chairman Ajit Pai, who was appointed by the Trump administration. A coalition of organizations that fought to win net neutrality through reclassification as a common carrier gathered outside the FCC beforehand to deliver 200,000 ‘love letters’ to the chair calling for the protection of net neutrality. They also brought large valentines. 32690768260_a61db7d763_zUpon their approach to the FCC door, the net neutrality protectors were met by the aggressive and angry head of FCC security backed up by several Department of Homeland Security SUVs filled with agents. The head of security demanded to see the contents of the red-wrapped boxes carrying the petitions and instructed the group to take their valentines off the premises. The net neutrality protectors complied after delivering the petitions and moved to an adjacent open grassy area.
By Marguerite Reardon for CNET. Pai often goes out of his way to be nice. He’s the kind of person who remembers co-workers’ birthdays or your kids’ first names. It doesn’t matter if you’re a congressman from California or the parking attendant at the lot near the FCC’s headquarters, Pai offers a folksy and sincere greeting to all. He always has a kind word for colleagues, even when they stand on the opposite side of the aisles. “He made the chairman’s life miserable,” said Gigi Sohn, a former adviser to the previous head, Tom Wheeler, in reference to their constant ideological clashes. “But I like him. Everyone likes him.” This nice guy is no pushover, though. The 44-year-old chairman has already introduced a number of programs and steered the FCC in a different direction from his predecessor. And he’s still gearing up for his biggest move: the takedown of many of the regulations that protect net neutrality, the concept that all internet traffic must be treated as equal.
By Troy Wolverton for The Mercury News – Net neutrality is in the crosshairs again. Ajit Pai, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has made it clear that he’s no fan. He’s already halted a net neutrality-related investigation launched by his predecessor and recently reaffirmed his belief that, one way or another, the “days are numbered” for the Open Internet rules. Pai was not available for comment, but advocates on both sides of the net neutrality debate believe it’s only a matter of time before he tries to undo the rules. If the courts or Congress don’t overturn them, Pai will, said Berin Szoka, president of Tech Freedom, a group that advocates against regulations affecting the technology and telecom industries, at a forum in Menlo Park on net neutrality on Tuesday.
By Jon Brodkin for US Senate Democrats today vowed that they won’t let net neutrality rules be eliminated without a fight, and they urged citizens to make their voices heard by lawmakers and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai. “Remember that two years ago, nearly 4 million Americans offered comments on the Open Internet Order,” Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said at a press conference this morning (video). “That’s by far, by a factor of at least two, more than any comments on any rule before the FCC in history.” But if Congress and the FCC try to eliminate net neutrality rules, there will be a “political firestorm that will make the 4 million who communicated several years ago look like a minuscule number,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said.
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 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.