“Once again, net neutrality is in trouble,” says John Oliver. (Screengrab: “Last Week Tonight”)
He’s done it again.
“Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver on Sunday issued another powerful rallying cry to save net neutrality protections, and, repeating the outcome of his 2014 plea, his viewers flooded the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) site, causing it to temporarily crash.
Net neutrality, he said, is “about more than speed” of internet content. “At its heart is the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) […] should not be able to engage in any sort of fuckery that limits or manipulates the choices you make online. It also helps ensure a level playing field so that big companies cannot undermine small companies before they can take off.”
But, as it was before the FCC ‘s 2015 reclassification of the internet under Title II of the Communications Act in 2015, net neutrality is again in trouble, Oliver said.
That’s due in large part because of FCC chairman Ajit Pai, who previously promised to take a “weed whacker” to FCC regulations and declared that net neutrality’s “days are numbered.”
Unsurprisingly, he announced last month plans to roll back the protections, and Senate Republicans appear willing to help move such action forward as well. Craig Aaron, president and CEO of open internet advocacy group Free Press, adds:
Net neutrality is a top target of the Trump administration for many reasons: because the phone and cable giants that give this crew a ton of money hate it and want to kill off their competition, because the Obama administration made the rules, because the president doesn’t understand how the internet works. This administration does know that an open internet makes space for independent voices, undermines dominant narratives, and gives a platform to communities that never had one before. The Trump team hates net neutrality because it fuels resistance.
As for the chairman, Oliver said it’s worth noting that Pai is “a former lawyer for Verizon,” a company which “won a lawsuit which meant that if the FCC wanted strong, enforceable protection, its only real option was to reclassify the ISPs, and yet he cheerily insists under questioning that there is just not evidence that cable companies were engaging in rampant wrongdoing.”
“Title II is the most solid legal foundation we have right now for a strong, enforceable net neutrality protections,” Oliver said, and urged “we, the people, [to] take this matter into our own hands.”
To that end, “Last Week Tonight” bought the domain name gofccyourself.com, which redirects users to the official FCC page where open internet advocates can leave a comment and call for these protections to remain in place. (Oliver notes that it simplifies the commenting process the FCC “has made more difficult since three years ago.”)
Once at the FCC site, users should click on “Express” and “comment telling Ajit Pai that you specifically support strong net neutrality backed by Title II oversight of ISPs,” Oliver said, adding that “every internet group needs to come together like you successfully did three years ago.”
“Everyone needs to get involved. Comment now, and then maybe comment again when the FCC makes its proposal official. Even call you representative and your senators,” Oliver urged.
So successful was the start of his campaign, according to Motherboard, that there was such a high volume of traffic flooding the Federal Communications Commission that the site temporarily went down. As of this writing, it is up and running again.
Watch the segment on net neutrality uploaded by “Last Week Tonight” below:
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