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Mark your calendars fellow internet rights activists, a date has been set to protest the recent attacks on net neutrality lead by the Federal Communications Commission. July 12th will be a day of protest to demonstrate who is in favor of protecting net neutrality and showing why it is important.

Take this, it’s dangerous to go alone

If you plan on participating in the day of demonstration, you should sign up here. While it may be tiring to constantly be fighting various aspects of the government, remember that being a responsible citizen is one of the most challenging things you can do. The moment that you give in to being complacent, you start to give up your rights.

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This may be refreshing then, for many of you who plan on participating in the struggle against the FCC rolling back Net Neutrality that many stand with you, just as you stand with them. While I am usually rather skeptical of large businesses and their interests, I am ecstatic to seem some of the larger internet companies standing in rank with individuals to fight this.

Amazon, Kickstarter, Patreon, and even Reddit are making their displeasure about the FCC’s extremely controversial decision. The full list of over 60 larger entities can be see on the protest site, just below the fold of the page. You may consider joining them if you are also the owner or decision maker of an influential website as well.

Why it is so damn important

I know that I have banged on about this a few times, and I wear my heart on my sleeve for this and similar topics. This is important because it is the beginning of an erosion of the rights of American citizens, I specify here because the FCCs ruling will have little effect on non-US citizens.

Equal access to the Internet has been dubbed a basic human right by the United Nations, and the FCCs decision to remove ISP companies’ of their Title II classification can start to chip away at fair and equal access. If some sites and parts of the web are given “higher speed” access -let’s be real, this will just be regular speed internet- it privileges those over sites without that.

This is exactly why it is worrying. In theory, if the ISP did not like what a competitor, or a critic of theirs had to say about them or if it did not align with the political -or corporate- ideology(ies) of the ISP, they could stifle and mute that voice.

They would be able to do this by slowing down traffic to and from that site in a way that just makes viewing it or visiting it damn near impossible. It would not be so outlandish that a government entity could also get in bed with ISPs then, to quell dissent. The removal of Title II classification of ISPs could be one of the largest affronts to the first amendment rights of Americans we have seen in recent history.

The way they went about it is also strange, with an astroturfing attack in support of deregulation being cited as one of the reasons that the comments sent to the FCC about net neutrality -most of them vehemently in favor of keeping Title II classification- could not be used.

It is for these reasons that we must stay vigilant, and ready to fight for our rights and the rights of others. Being a responsible citizen is hard work, and we’ll do well to remember that.

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