The vote to roll back net neutrality rules in December 2017, was slammed by tech giants like Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix.
The Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to repeal regulations aimed at protecting net neutrality — rules that ensure internet providers can’t deliberately speed up or slow down traffic from specific websites or apps. Nor can they put their own content at an advantage over rivals. The rules were first put in place under President Obama in 2015.
Nothing is set in stone yet. The repeal isn’t set to take effect until next year. The issue may ultimately end up being decided in court, and Congress may step in with a legislative solution. –CNN Money
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg railed against the decision:
“Today’s decision from the Federal Communications Commission to end net neutrality is disappointing and harmful. An open internet is critical for new ideas and economic opportunity — and internet providers shouldn’t be able to decide what people can see online or charge more for certain websites,” Sandberg wrote on Facebook. “We’re ready to work with members of Congress and others to help make the internet free and open for everyone.”
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“We do not block websites, nor censor online content, nor throttle or degrade traffic based on the content, nor unfairly discriminate in our treatment of internet traffic,” the company said in a statement. “These principles, which were laid out in the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order and fully supported by AT&T, are clearly articulated on our website and are fully enforceable against us. In short, the internet will continue to work tomorrow just as it always has.”
Today, Breitbart reports that AT&T called for an “Internet Bill of Rights” and argued that Facebook and Google should also be subjected to rules that would prevent unfair censorship on their platforms.
AT&T, one of the largest telecommunications companies, called for Congress to enact an “Internet Bill of Rights” which would subject Facebook, Google, and other content providers to rules that would prevent unfair censorship on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Comcast or AT&T as well as content providers such as Facebook and Google.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson wrote, “Congressional action is needed to establish an ‘Internet Bill of Rights’ that applies to all internet companies and guarantees neutrality, transparency, openness, non-discrimination and privacy protection for all internet users.”
Stephenson posted the ad in the New York Times, Washington Post, and other national news outlets on Wednesday.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai repealed the agency’s 2015 net neutrality order which prohibited ISPs from blocking, throttling, or discriminating against content. Proponents of net neutrality argue that America needs the regulation to prevent ISPs such as Comcast or AT&T from unfairly blocking or censoring the Internet, however, the FCC and Breitbart News’s Allum Bokhari argued that under net neutrality, content providers such as Facebook and Google have censored the Internet, stifled conservative and alternative voices, and serve as a greater threat to free speech compared to ISPs.
In one speech in 2017, Pai specially called out the censorship of Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s (R-TN) pro-life ad, which was blocked by Twitter for “inflammatory speech.”
The FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom Order,” which repealed net neutrality, also required that ISPs disclose their practices on blocking, throttling, and content discrimination.
Congresswoman Blackburn introduced the Open Internet Preservation Act, which would enshrine the principles of a free and open Internet after the FCC repealed the net neutrality rules.
Rep. Blackburn also suggested in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News that Congress should discuss the idea of requiring content providers such as Facebook and Google to similar transparency requirements about their blocking and censorship practices.