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16/07/2019
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TEMA: Fight for NET neutrality!!!

Fight for NET neutrality!!! 14 Mar 2019 00:01 #10917

One of the campaign promises of President Obama in 2007 explicitly stated that he was "a strong supporter of net neutrality" and claimed that under his administrarion, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would defend that principle. However, seven year later, by the end of 2014 his FCC had given up on the goal of maintaining an open Internet.

On January of that same year a US Federal Appeals Court, in a case brought by Verizon, had struck down the net neutrality rules adopted by the FCC in 2010. Those rules had partially fulfilled Obama's pledge, but with a lot of loopholes, and they were no longer effective. As a result of this Court decision, Netflix was reportedly forced to pay Comcast tens of millions of dollars per year to ensure that its users connecting to the Internet through Comcast might be able to stream movies reliably. Apple entered into its own negotiations with Comcast a few weeks later, and the domino effect continued to spread.

Even when the Obama Administration was not responsible for the Court's decision it bent in the following months to a well organized backlash orchestrated by fifty leading technology companies. Finally, the FCC concluded in May 15th that it will authorize fast lanes and slow lanes at different rates on the Internet. Net neutrality was over.

The Internet had been free since its inception and ISPs just acted as gateways. They did not act as gatekeepers, determining which files and servers should load better or worse. The Internet had been something as a public square, and providers merely connected users instead of having the unjustifiable power to determine who speaks with whom or the ability to discriminate with preferential price rates. The Internet was a non commercial enterprise at its inception and became available to the general public through ISP providers who were allowed to charge a reasonable fee for their service in establishing and maintaining a connection. That freedom allowed the Internet to evolve into a form of basic infraestructure used by some two billion people today.

These trends have been a concern in these pages since the publication of a report in Spanish on January 23rd 2018 establishing that "we have gone from the utopia of the libertarian Internet to a privatized network designed to benefit a handful of great technology." This report was taken from El País, a newspaper published in Spain, some time after a report from the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, containing disturbing information of widespread violations in the European Union of net neutrality affecting at least one in five users.

It is well known that if the FCC doesn't rein in USA ISPs, there will be a domino effect abroad. Therefore, Participatory Democracy Cultural Initiative gave support through these WEB pages on February 27th to a Petition addressed to the US Congress that has already collected more than two and a half million signatures and that is still open to sign, hoping to reach at least 5 million.

Unfortunately, the Trump administration has not done anything either to overturn a new move by the FCC late in 2017 "that gutted net neutrality protections" still in force, but already weak, as it was reported in these WEB pages just a couple of days ago. This report asked Americans "to fight for net neutrality" and support an initiative launched by Democrats in the House to "introduce legislation to restore free and open internet", that hopefully will get bipartisan support.

It remains in the hands of the voters of this country to fight for net neutrality in writing to their Representatives and Senators asking them to support the bill if they want to have your vote in the next elections.

And do not leave for tomorrow your participation. Add your signatures to the Petition mentioned above NOW. That is how democracy works.
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