Twitter Joins Pro-Net Neutrality ‘Day Of Action’

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By Ali Breland for The Hill – Twitter announced Thursday that it will join the net neutrality “Day of Action,” giving a high-profile boost to the campaign to preserve Obama-era net neutrality rules. The San Francisco-based social media giant is the latest in a string of prominent companies who are officially entering the fight the protect the net neutrality rules created in the 2015 Open Internet Order. The rules aimed to maintain a level playing field for companies on the internet and prevent certain types of content from being prioritized over others. Twitter will join Amazon and Netflix, which recently announced that it would participate, along with smaller internet companies like Vimeo, Etsy, Kickstarter, Reddit and others who are trying to stop Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai from implementing his “Restoring Internet Freedom” proposal to scrap the rules. Publishing platform Medium, which was founded by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, and Soundcloud also announced on Thursday that it would be participating. “This protest is gaining so much momentum because no one wants their cable company to charge them extra fees or have the power to control what they can see and do on the Internet,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, the advocacy group organizing the day of action.

Newsletter - Positive Actions You Can Take This Summer

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. This week, we look at some of the current struggles in the United States and ways that you can get involved this summer. From protecting health care, net neutrality and the environment to building positive alternatives that transform our current dysfunctional systems, there is something for everyone to do. Read on to learn what’s happening and how to take action. This is the time to rise up and protect our families, communities and planet.

Former FCC Commissioner: Net Neutrality Is A First Amendment Issue

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai speaks during the 2017 NAB Show in Las Vegas on April 25, 2017. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

By Michael Winship for Moyers & Company – In just a few short months, the Trump wrecking ball has pounded away at rules and regulations in virtually every government agency. The men and women the president has appointed to the Cabinet and to head those agencies are so far in sycophantic lockstep, engaged in dismantling years of protections in order to make real what White House strategist Steve Bannon infamously described as “the deconstruction of the administrative state.” The Federal Communications Commission is not immune. Its new chair, Republican Ajit Pai, embraces the Trump doctrine of regulatory devastation. “It’s basic economics,” he declared in an April 26 speech at Washington’s Newseum. “The more heavily you regulate something, the less of it you’re likely to get.” His goal is to stem the tide of media reform that in recent years has made significant progress for American citizens. Even as we rely more than ever on digital media for information, education and entertainment, Pai and his GOP colleagues at the FCC seek to turn back the clock and increase even more the corporate control of cyberspace.

Poll Shows Broad, Bipartisan Support For Net Neutrality Rules

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By Mariam Baksh for Morning Consult – With the Federal Communications Commission moving toward repealing Obama-era net neutrality rules, a new poll shows strong, bipartisan backing to keep them in place. Sixty-percent of respondents in a Morning Consult/POLITICO poll said they support rules that say internet service providers like Comcast Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc. “cannot block, throttle or prioritize certain content on the internet.” The difference between supporters by party was 2 percentage points, with 59 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of Democrats backing the rules. The same percentage of tea party supporters and Democrats expressed strong support for net neutrality, at 37 percent. Internet service providers such as Comcast say they are committed to the net neutrality principles. But they don’t like the legal footing on which the rules were established — specifically, regulating ISPs like utilities by classifying broadband internet as a “common carrier” under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. “Our members believe consumers deserve enforceable rules that prohibit the blocking or throttling of legal internet traffic without relying on antiquated regulations that can stifle needed investments in networks,” said Amy Schatz, vice president of media affairs for ISP trade group U.S. Telecom, in an email to Morning Consult.

Actions You Can Take To Protect Net Neutrality This Week

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By Staff. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is threatening to undermine the free and open internet as we know it. In May, the FCC voted to begin a rulemaking that would undo the Open Internet Order, which ensures that Internet Service Providers (ISP) treat all online traffic equally. To raise awareness, involve more constituencies and continue to promote net neutrality, we plan to focus each week on one theme or aspect of net neutrality and amplify that message online. Strong net neutrality protections are in place to prevent broadband providers from blocking, throttling, or prioritizing internet content. Net neutrality rules protect the free flow of ideas that are creating new industries, educating our youth, promoting free speech, and supporting the communications that we rely on every day. President Donald Trump and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s want to hand control of the internet to a few big broadband companies that will serve as broadband gatekeepers. Without the Open Internet Order, ISPs could discriminate against certain websites, distort competition, stifle innovation, and undermine user choice and free expression.

Media Monopolies Are Undermining Democracy And Threatening Net Neutrality

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By Emma Niles for Truth Dig – Robert Scheer: Hi, it’s Robert Scheer with another edition of Scheer Intelligence, where the intelligence comes from my guests. In this case, it’s Mark Lloyd, who has had a really interesting career both as a journalist working in electronic media, worked for NBC and CNN, won an Emmy for a documentary called Turning It Around: Urban Teens in Crisis. He knew something about kids in crisis, he grew up in Detroit, went to the University of Michigan, and his most recent book, “The Communications Crisis in America, and How to Fix It.” Mark is a professor of communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. So this communication crisis in America, is this another one of these pro-Trump, or following Trump or against Trump stories, or—? Mark Lloyd: This was done before Trump. We anticipated that someone like Trump might be elected. But it is about the fact that most Americans are not able to get the information that they need to keep themselves safe, to make sure they know where to send their children to school, where to get the best medical care, or a wide variety of things about their financial well-being and other things important to them.

National Day Of Action To Protect Our Internet!

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By Protect Our Internet. Here’s the gist; riddle me this: How is a Train like the Internet? They’re both common carriers! You buy your ticket and decide where you want to go on the train. You buy your Internet service provider and decide where you want to go on the Internet. But that could end in August. Sign up here to take action to spread the word. Big Telecoms like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T don’t want to just provide Internet service, they want to control the content too – slowing down, diverting or even shutting down our access to the open internet we know and love. Imagine being on a train and all of a sudden, you can’t get off at your stop – or it takes you twice as long to get there, and costs twice as much. That’s why we’re asking all of you internet users out there to come together on July 12 to spread the word at your local train or metro stations about the importance of an open and accessible internet – just like an open and accessible public transportation system. These actions will coincide with an Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality.

Mozilla Poll Again Shows Net Neutrality Has Broad, Bipartisan Support

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By Karl Bode for Tech Dirt – So we’ve noted for a long time that while net neutrality is framed as a “partisan” issue, it really isn’t. Data has consistently shown overwhelming, bipartisan public support for the concept and the rules, in large part because of the way most people have been treated by marginally-competitive TV or broadband providers. But to help sow dissent among the public, large ISP lobbyists (and the lawmakers paid to love them) have been immensely successful in framing this as a hotly contested subject, usually by portraying the effort, incorrectly, as a “government takeover of the internet.” A new survey from Mozilla and IPSOS once again highlights this cap between reality and common media and policy wisdom. The survey found, unsurprisingly, that over three quarters of Americans (76%) support net neutrality. When it comes to the supposed “partisan division,” the survey also found that 81% of Democrats and 73% of Republicans are in favor of it: So again, this narrative that countless, angry Americans see net neutrality as “Obamacare for the internet” or “incredible government over-reach” tends to be the pervasive wisdom you’ll see in the press and in most ISP policy rhetoric…

Report Falsely Blames The EFF For Fraudulent Net Neutrality Comments

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By Karl Bode for Tech Dirt – So we’ve discussed at length how somebody is gaming the FCC’s comment system, using a bot to post hundreds of thousands of fake comments in support of the agency’s plan to kill net neutrality. We’ve also made it pretty clear that the FCC doesn’t appear interested in doing much about this, because these bogus (and in some instances dead) people “support” the FCC’s plan to gut consumer protections governing the already uncompetitive broadband market. I’ve had some first-hand experience with the FCC’s apathy, given I’ve been trying to get them to remove (or even address) a post supporting the death of net neutrality made in my name, falsely claiming I run an “unregistered PAC” and am upset that Title II “diminished broadband investment, stifled innovation, and left American consumers potentially on the hook for a new broadband tax” (none of which is true, it should go without saying). While the agency says it’s looking into my complaint, you simply don’t get the sense that tackling public proceeding comment fraud will be a top agency priority anytime soon.

Group Accuses FCC Of Trying To Stifle Pro-Net Neutrality Speech

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By Harper Neidig for The Hill – A public interest group is accusing the Federal Communications Commission of trying to stifle free speech in the debate over net neutrality regulations. The pro-net neutrality group Free Press sent a letter to FCC general counsel Brendan Carr on Monday expressing concern “about recent actions that call into serious question the Federal Communication Commission’s commitment to fostering free expression.” Free Press deputy director Jessica González and policy director Matt Wood wrote that at the FCC’s March open meeting, two members of the group’s advocacy wing were barred from entering the hearing room because they were wearing shirts that read “Protect Net Neutrality.” The two were apparently told to go into a restroom and turn the shirts inside out. A spokesman for the FCC, which is moving to overturn the Obama-era rules that reclassified internet service providers, declined to comment. “It is beyond ironic that the Federal Communications Commission — the government agency charged with promoting First Amendment values — seems intent on violating the First Amendment,” the letter reads.

Netflix Backs Out Of Fight For Net Neutrality

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By Matt Lopez for The Videoink. At Recode’s Code Conference this week, Netlix CEO Reed Hastings all but threw in the towel against the fight for net neutrality. Netflix, which has extended its reach across 190 countries, has been a vocal proponent of net neutrality rules in the past, but Hastings believes it’s not their fight anymore. “We’re big enough to get the deals we want,” he said at the conference. Why is net neutrality so important? Well, it makes sure internet providers enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites. One concern for the loss of net neutrality is the idea that smaller players wouldn’t be able to compete against larger companies that can afford to pay for priority access. An issue that would have been a bigger concern for “the Netflix of 10 years ago,” Hastings said.

6 Things FCC Chairman Doesn’t Want You To Know About Net Neutrality

Federal Communication Commission Chairman Ajit Pai participates in a discussion about his accomplishments at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington, DC on May 5, 2017. Pai is determined to roll back net neutrality. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By Timothy Karr for Bill & Moyers – Under its Trump-annointed chairman, Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission decided last Thursday to revisit its net neutrality ruling. The agency has reopened a docket for public comments on Pai’s proposal to undermine the safeguards needed to protect people from having their internet service providers block, throttle or de-prioritize the online content they want to see. The last time the agency did this, in 2014 and 2015, it unleashed a torrent of public comments in support of the idea that the open internet should have basic protections under the law. Four million people voiced their concerns via the agency’s beleaguered website. The vast majority of these comments supported meaningful net neutrality protections. That’s just what the FCC put in place: It responded to the public outcry and reclassified ISPs like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act. The 2015 decision was a stunning victory for the public interest. Millions of net neutrality supporters faced down a mighty phone and cable lobby, which had spent hundreds of millions of dollars over a decade to dismantle the one principle that makes the internet a tremendous engine for equal opportunity, democratic access, free speech and economic innovation.

Dead People Are Posting Anti-Net Neutrality Comments To FCC Website

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By Daniel Oberhaus for Motherboad – Yet upon closer inspection, some 500,000 of these comments are anti-net neutrality copypasta and bear the telltale signature of a bot (such as perfectly identical formatting and names listed in alphabetical order). Moreover, dozens of people whose names are associated with these comments have come out of the woodwork to say that they never posted these comments and are in fact strongly in favor of net neutrality. On Thursday, 14 people who say their identity was inappropriately used to oppose net neutrality without their permission wrote a letter demanding that Pai and the FCC open an investigation into the alleged astroturfing campaign. “Whoever is behind this stole our names and addresses, publicly exposed our private information without our permission, and used our identities to file a political statement we did not sign onto,” the letter reads. “While it may be convenient for you to ignore this, given that it was done in an attempt to support your position, it cannot be the case that the FCC moves forward on such a major public debate without properly investigating this known attack.”

Cable Industry Lobbyists Write Republican Talking Points On Net Neutrality

Mark Wilson/Getty Images. The hearing room at the Federal Communications Commission headquarters in Washington, on Feb. 26, 2015.

By Lee Fang and Nick Surgey for The Intercept – FOLLOWING THE VOTE last week by the Federal Communication Commission to unwind the net neutrality rules enacted during the Obama administration, House Republican lawmakers received an email from GOP leadership on how to defend the decision. The email was shared with The Intercept and the Center for Media and Democracy. Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers must treat all web traffic in the same way. If the FCC eventually undoes the Obama-era regulations in their entirety, an ISP like Comcast could demand that websites pay it fees in order not to slow or block them. Large companies like Facebook would easily be able to afford such charges, but smaller companies might not, creating an uneven playing field. “Want more information on the net neutrality discussion?” wrote Washington state Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chair of the House Republican Conference. “Here is a nifty toolkit with news resources, myth vs reality information, what others are saying, and free market comments.” The attached packet of talking points came directly from the cable industry.

Right Wing Trolls Sent To Net Neutrality Rally To Advocate Censorship

Net Neutrality protest at Pai home May 14, 2017

Two articles. Jack Posobiec sends fake “anarchists” with pro-censorship signs to net neutrality protest On the 18th of May, activists holding a sit-in and rally at FCC headquarters for net neutrality noticed several folks trying to pose as anarchists, with signs calling for banning far-right websites. This message was in direct conflict with net neutrality. Jack Posobiec streamed this fake news of planted signs onto Twitter via their “periscope” service. The fake protesters turned out to have a camerman with them from Jack Posobiec’s “Rebel Media” crew, and did a very poor job of posing as an anarchist black bloc. Jack Posobiec is an infamous liar and troll, known among other things for planting someone with a sign calling for raping Melania Trump in a left wing protest. This is one way Trump supporters create “alternative facts” and actual fake news.