Speaking about Net Neutrality with your friends and family is your civic duty this week – today we’re going to run down how to do it. Whether you’re back to your parents house this holiday season or hosting Thanksgiving yourself, there’s a few very simple arguments that you’re honor-bound as a citizen of these internets to share with your fellow turkey-devourers. What better way to be thankful for your rights as a United States citizen then by informing your fellow citizens about the death of the internet as we know it?
Today I read the headline – and just a few paragraphs of – the following article from GQ: “It’s Your Civic Duty to Ruin Thanksgiving by Bringing Up Trump.” I agree with that, to a point. Nobody likes being screamed at, regardless of the day of the year, and no amount of “told you so” is going to change the way your Uncle Sewer Ghoul believes in this nation’s first orange President. But you’ve got a DUTY to speak when and if either Trump or the FCC or Net Neutrality is brought up for conversation – and they very well might.
The points you might bring up should be concise. Especially if you’re speaking with someone far older than yourself. Don’t speak down to them, and don’t rub any super-extremely-obvious points in their face, especially if any of this information is new to them. The following is one of the most plain and simple reasons this proposal is bunk.
This entire proposal is based on one big inaccuracy
The FCC Fact Sheet for “Restoring Internet Freedom” can be found in PDF form at the FFC document storage facility right this minute. In both introductory paragraphs for the FCC Fact Sheet for “making a mockery of the idea that government is supposed to protect citizens from corporations,” as I also call it, the following can be found:
“Over twenty years ago, President Clinton and a Republican Congress established the policy of the United States ‘to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet… unfettered by Federal or State regulation.'”
– FCC Fact Sheet for “Restoring Internet Freedom”
President Clinton and a Republican Congress wrote their “preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the internet” policy in the year 1996. That was two years before Google existed. There were no BlackBerry phones, and there certainly weren’t any Android devices or iPhones. The year 1996 was the first year that Comcast offered internet service. By December of 1997, Comcast only had internet service in 5 cities and 1 county.
In the year 1996, there was no eBay. Instead there was a thing called “AuctionWeb.” In the year 1996, AuctionWeb founder Pierre Omidyar was hosting what would become eBay on his home computer.
This was not the internet that we know today. Not by any stretch of the imagination. In other words, the impetus for this proposal from FCC Ajit Pai is saying we should stick with 1996 rules for the Internet now because the Internet worked fine in 1996. It’s like saying we shouldn’t regulate the quality and contents of meat and other food here in the United States, because back before 1900, a complete lack of rules was totally fine.
Tell your uncle to ask Upton Sinclair about how good the hamburger meat was back in 1890, and let The Jungle tell him how Net Neutrality is a good idea. The dirt, bones, and human remains that burger meat contained back then are analogous to the mangled bits and pieces of internet ISPs could serve us now without Net Neutrality.
This is but one of many reasons why the FCC’s proposal to massacre Net Neutrality is an absolute mess. Have a peek at our short timeline of events below, and stack up your knowledge for this holiday season!