Washington D.C. – Today, December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to repeal the Obama administration’s net neutrality protections, overturning the 2015 Open Internet Order. This decision will enable broadband providers like Verizon, AT&T and Comcast to have more control over the content they provide to their customers. This means providers can censor online content by blocking access to websites that don’t align with their social or political ideology. Now, because Title II telecommunication regulations no longer applies, these companies can create virtual monopolies, shutting out small startups. This also opens the door for them to create internet “fast lanes” for themselves, their partners, and/or companies willing and able to pay to have faster delivery to internet users.
Net neutrality is incredibly important for social, environmental and climate justice organizations to counter industry propaganda. Net neutrality helped to extend First Amendment rights by allowing the free exchange of information. With these protections removed this fundamental right to free speech is in jeopardy.
Statement from the Indigenous Environmental Network:
“Native nations, and Indigenous communities and organizations have used social media and internet-based communications as a means to highlight our struggles. Imagine the months at Standing Rock without live feeds or social media. The power of the world’s Indigenous Peoples coming together was made possible, in large part, by equal access to the internet. This decision could potentially harm our ability to organize as we depend on various websites to mobilize and to share our stories from the front lines. What’s more is that grassroots organizations often operate on small budgets. If fees become mandatory for the use of certain websites, grassroots organizations may struggle even more to operate. Our effort to build a sustainable and just society extends to all aspects of the commons, which includes the internet. We will stay committed to supporting the battle for net neutrality and digital civil rights.”