Time’s running out on net neutrality, but we can still save it.
On November 29, 2018, Fight for the Future and Demand Progress are hosting their final internet-wide Day of Action to save net neutrality. The event comes in anticipation of December 10, the last day Congress can invoke the Congressional Review Act to reverse the FCC’s net neutrality repeal.
Updated December 10, 2018: While the deadline for the House to force a vote on the CRA decision was today, the Congressional session has been extended by two weeks. Now we have until December 21, 2019 to get more lawmakers to support net neutrality.
What’s happening during the Day of Action?
The purpose of the day of action is for activists, celebrities, tech companies, and everyday web users to pressure Congress into exercising their CRA power.
To start, FFTF and Demand Progress have drafted an open letter to Congress, which you can read and sign.
Donations are being collected to fund advocacy. This money will be put towards flooding Congress with messages, advertisements, and event organization.
Supporters are encouraged to spread the word on social media.
Organizers of the day of action have provided banners, gifs, and images which can be shared on blogs and websites, or utilized as social media avatars and headers. Those assets are available here.
How did net neutrality get to this point?
As you’re probably well aware, net neutrality, officially titled the Open Internet Order, was introduced in April 2015 under the Obama administration. The regulations reclassified broadband as a public utility. They stipulated that ISPs must treat all internet traffic equally, and were barred from charging premiums or discriminating against specific users, websites, applications, platforms, content, or communication methods.
Unfortunately, net neutrality was short-lived. On December 14, 2017, the FCC, led by Chairman Ajit Pai, overturned the 2015 Open Internet Order by a vote of 3-2. This move reversed broadband’s classification as a public utility, reverting it back to an information service.
On June 11, 2018, net neutrality officially expired, giving ISPs the ability to limit access to the web on their terms. This unchecked power manifests in a number of ways, including premium charges for using competitor services, bandwidth throttling, and content blocks.
How does the CRA work?
In May, the Senate passed a CRA resolution to reverse the FCC’s repeal. But now, it must pass in both houses of Congress by December 10. To pass, a majority of 218 members must sign a discharge petition to force a floor vote. So far, only 177 members have signed this petition. If the 218 signatures are received and the floor vote is successful, the reversal must still be signed into law by President Donald Trump to officially turn back the repeal.
What if the CRA fails?
If efforts to restore net neutrality through Congress prove unsuccessful, net neutrality would be over at the federal level. Still, individual states could attempt to pass their own net neutrality laws. California, for example, already passed net neutrality laws. Unfortunately, though, almost immediately after Governor Jerry Brown signed the law in September, California was sued by the Justice Department. Net neutrality in the state is on hold until the lawsuit is resolved.
In a separate filing, 22 state attorney generals and Mozilla combined forces to sue the FCC over their net neutrality repeal. Crucially, this lawsuit addresses whether or not states have the right to enact their own open internet laws. So, if the CRA efforts do fail, the future of online freedom will be decided by these two cases.
Despite the threats to net neutrality, you can still take steps right now that protect your access to an open internet. When you enable a <a href="www.ritavpn.com/">VPN</a>, you can stop your ISP from discriminating against your online activity.