Internet giants in the US are rallying together – and bringing their users along as well – to fight on the ‘day of action’ against the US Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) planned withdrawal of net neutrality rules. The consumer protection laws in question here prevent internet service providers like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and others from blocking or slowing down access to parts of the internet differentially.
The new chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, appointed by Donald Trump, had announced earlier that the rules brought in by the Obama administration for the preservation of net neutrality would be scrapped. To protest against that, today multiple websites across the internet are supposed to show “blocked”, “upgrade your plan”, “slow connection” and similar popups to simulate the internet without net neutrality. Participants include Amazon, Google, Spotify, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter and others.
How has it been so far?
Reddit has participated in multiple ways. For instance, the Reddit logo on the homepage will show a loading animation, simulating a slow internet connection, eventually showing a ‘Monthly Bandwidth Exceeded – Click here to upgrade’ message. Whereas r/technology is showing a direct message that looks like this.
Google has joined in by creating a landing page that leads to a lot of resources and information about the movement, also providing you a sign-up that will add you to their mailing list of internet neutrality related updates.
Services like Twitch, Netflix, Spotify, Airbnb have displayed banners on their website urging you to take action. Facebook hasn’t made it clear how they are participating and Apple isn’t part of the movement. Interestingly, AT&T has also stated that it is joining the movement, even though it clearly supports the repeal of the net-neutrality laws.
Will it work? Well, it sure did in 2012 when it was the turn of the Stop Online Piracy laws. And public attention towards the issue is sure to not go unnoticed, especially in light of media attention in the US being focussed on Trump-Russia connections. We can only wait and see how this turns out.