The Canadian Progressive Joins Global Net Neutrality Protest

by: Obert Madondo  | Published Wed. Sept 10, 2014

Global Net Neutrality Protest Sept 20, 2014. (Photo: BATTLEFORTHENET)

Global Net Neutrality Protest Sept 20, 2014. (Photo: BATTLEFORTHENET)

Today, Wednesday, September 10, The Canadian Progressive joins millions of websites, digital rights activists and internet freedom fighters around the world participating in the “Internet Slowdown,” a grassroots protest demanding stronger “net neutrality” protections.

During the protest, activist are expected to place animated “page loading” graphics on their sites. Much like the one you see on the top right hand corner of this page. The “spinning wheel of death” on the graphic warns that if corporate Internet service providers, or ISPs, are given the powers they currently seek from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), they will chock the Internet to death.

Our Internet freedoms are under attack. Tom Wheeler, the FCC chairperson appointed by President Barack Obama, is considering news rules that would empower corporate ISPs to create a “fast lane” where some websites or content providers can pay for fast access to Internet users. The diabolical proposal would create a two-tiered Internet where a few, especially deep-pocketed content providers and cable giants like Time Warner, Verizon, AT&T and Comcast would pay to ensure that their content travels faster. The rest of us would be relegated to the the “slow lane.”

“Cable companies would have the power to discriminate against online content and applications — they could pick winners and losers, shake sites down for fees, block content for political reasons, and make it easier for Internet users to view content the cable companies own,” explains Battle For The Future, an activist group committed to “protecting and expanding the Internet’s transformative power in our lives by creating civic campaigns that are engaging for millions of people.”

John Oliver explained emerging attack on net neutrality on Last Week Tonight back in June:

The Electronic Frontiers Foundation adds:

Net neutrality— the idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all data that travels over their networks equally—got major attention this Spring when the FCC released proposed regulatory guidelines that left Internet users and companies alike deeply concerned. The proposal included new language giving ISPs leeway to create a “fast lane” for certain websites (i.e. websites with deep pockets that were willing to shell out more money for faster access to users).

But you can’t have a fast lane without also having a slower lane. And that means everyday websites—including journalistic websites and start-up companies that could compete with established web services—could be slow to load, even as our expectations for loading speed leap ahead in the coming years.

Discrimination. Segregation. Not only that. The new rules would also grant corporate ISPs the power to block your website if they so wish. That’s corporate censorship. It’s happened in Canada before.

Amy Goodman, the host of Democracy Now!, explains:

In Canada in 2005, workers at the corporate ISP Telus went on strike. One of the strikers developed a website, Voices for Change, which supported the strike. Telus denied its Internet customers access to the website until the corporate censorship became national news.

If we don’t says NO, this will be the beginning of the death of net neutrality! We must insist that the Internet remain what it is today: accessible and a catalyst for creativity, democracy and freedom. And dissent!

The good thing is: some leading Internet players are on our side. These include: Reddit, Meetup, WordPress, Imgur, Namecheap, Cheezburger, Gandi.net, BoingBoing, Kickstarter, Vimeo, Bittorrent, StartPage, Etsy, Time Warner, Foursquare and Mozilla.

Finally, here’s a list of sites that would allow you to dial the Federal Communications Commission, Congress and the White House, and give them a piece of your mind:

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter.com/Obiemad

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based independent journalist and progressive political blogger. He's the publisher and editor of The Canadian Progressive.