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Mace & Crown | October 24, 2017

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Day of Action Brings Awareness to Net Neutrality

Audra Reigle | Technology Editor

On July 12, many popular websites showed their support for net neutrality. The Day of Action for Net Neutrality showed internet users what could happen if net neutrality no longer existed.
“Net neutrality prevents internet service providers (ISPs) from slowing down or blocking websites or charging fees to reach a certain audience,” according to the Day of Action for Net Neutrality website. In a world without net neutrality, we would only be able to see what ISPs want us to see.
Amazon, Etsy, Netflix and Reddit were among the many websites that took action on July 12. Even lesser known websites were able to take action this year. The Day of Action for Net Neutrality website provided options for site owners and app creators to take action in support of net neutrality. Websites could use alerts that would explain what a world without net neutrality would be like. Banner ads were also available.
App creators were able to implement push notifications into their app to get their users to sign in support of net neutrality. Avid social media users could post images on their pages or change their avatars to loading screen images.
This isn’t the first time net neutrality has been brought into the spotlight. It also came to light in 2015 when the FCC released new rules on net neutrality, according to CNET. A 400 page document detailing these new rules was released, but the short version is that ISPs can’t block, throttle or give paid prioritization.

Throttling is defined as “slowing down specific applications and services.” ISPs were still able to offer new services and rates, but they couldn’t “accept fees for favored treatment.”
In May, “a federal appeals court rejected a request to review its decision upholding the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality regulations,” according to The Hill. The FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, announced plans to repeal the rules, which were part of the reason why the request was rejected. It was possible that the court could’ve made a ruling on an order that was already in the process of being replaced.
The FCC also has an electronic comment system, according to TechCrunch. Those interested in commenting can search for the “Restoring Internet Freedom” proposal (or search for 17-108) on the FCC website. From there, you can do a New Filing or an Express entry. The New Filing will allow you to go more in depth with analyses and charts, whereas the Express entry will allow you to put in your information and submit. It’s worth noting that repeat entries or false information will likely get your submission ignored, and your information will be publicly available.
While July 12 was the big Day of Action for Net Neutrality, that doesn’t mean the fight has to start and stop on that day. Even after the Day of Action, people can continue to stand in solidarity with net neutrality. Awareness about net neutrality can still be raised even beyond July 12, no matter how large or small your internet presence is.