Net Neutrality

 

The present Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Board, with a Republican-appointed majority, including its chair Ajit Pai (who was appointed by Donald Trump and in the past served as an associate general counsel [staff lawyer] for Verizon for 2 years) has voted to eliminate current Net Neutrality rules in a party-line vote (3 Republican members of the FCC voting to revoke the rules; 2 Democratic members voting to maintain them). The overturned rules provided a clear ban against ISPs selectively blocking or slowing websites, or for giving speed preference to websites paying them a fee.

The rule change will allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to slow down and/or block internet content they choose and give preference in providing faster internet speed to sites that are willing and able to pay more, and will require only that the ISPs are "transparent" regarding what their practices are. This "transparency" will be similar in practice to current postings of so-called "privacy" policies: i.e. "there is no real privacy in what you give them; you can't see or use what you went to a website for unless you give them the information they want; you can't do anything about that; and you probably won't be able to read the policy or understand its verbiage anyway." 

Senator Charles Schumer, D-N.Y, the Senate minority leader, has indicated that Democrats will force a vote in the Senate on this FCC decision. Democrats are able to do this under the Congressional Review Act, one which Republicans have used to overturn many progressive regulatory decisions. Senator Schumer states that there are now at least 50 votes in the Senate to overturn the FCC rule change. Call Washington State Senators Murray and Cantwell (CONTACT INFO), and ask that they support this action. Whether there is realistic chance of passage, it will force Republicans to go on the record for or against this very unpopular action by the FCC.