In an effort to push Congress to preserve Obama-era net neutrality rules, dozens of websites will join forces on Tuesday, Feb. 27 for Operation: #OneMoreVote.
Tomorrow, sites like Reddit, Etsy, Tumblr, and Vimeo will display homepage alerts that direct visitors “to flood the Senate with messages in support of using the CRA to overturn the FCC’s vote to destroy net neutrality.”
Neutrality rules are scheduled to end on April 23, but under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), Congress can stop that from happening with a majority vote in the House and Senate. The Senate already has 50 votes, so it just needs one more vote, hence the name of tomorrow’s campaign.
In the House, they need 218 votes, but thus far only have 100. Operation: #OneMoreVote organizers, however, hope that tomorrow’s day of action can help drum up extra support. Even if it does, though, it will have to pass muster with President Trump, who is not a fan of the original FCC rules.
Any site can add code to their website to participate tomorrow; here’s how.
Operation: #OneMoreVote comes as FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who led the effort to dismantle the agency’s net neutrality rules, appeared today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. There, he reiterated his position that the rules are unnecessary. “The bottom line is simple: We had a free and open Internet for two decades before 2015, and we will have a free and open Internet going forward,” he said.
The move, he argued, will help usher in 5G. “To realize the promise of 5G, we will need smart networks, not dumb pipes,” he said. “Dumb pipes won’t deliver smart cities. Dumb pipes won’t enable millions of connected, self-driving cars to navigate the roads safely at the same time. In short, dumb pipes won’t give us the networks needed to enable the 5G applications of the future.”
Pai also said “the U.S. wireless marketplace is extremely competitive [since] the vast majority of Americans can choose from four LTE providers.” And that justifies “a light-touch regulatory approach” when it comes to the internet, he said. But while the FCC’s net neutrality rules applied to wireless networks, most Americans get internet service from traditional ISPs like Comcast or Spectrum, not their wireless carrier, and competition there is far from robust.
In a recent VPN-related survey conducted by PCMag, we found that 46 percent of respondents agreed with the concept of net neutrality; 22.4 percent did not and 31.6 percent didn’t know what net neutrality was.
VPN services obscure your location, so using one in a post-net neutrality world could help keep your access to the web running. As PCMag’s Sascha Segan explained in December, this probably won’t be necessary right away, but it could be in the future. Of the 1,000 people we surveyed, 55 percent who agreed with the concept of net neutrality had never used a VPN; 25 percent had stopped using a VPN. Seventy-seven percent of people who didn’t know what net neutrality was had never used a VPN.
When asked to identify the biggest threat to their online privacy, from a list that included ISPs, Facebook, Google, the NSA, Amazon, and other, 25 percent of survey respondents picked their ISPs, followed by Facebook at 24 percent and Google at 19 percent.