It’s July 12th! What’s special about that? Today the people of the internet are coming together to raise awareness about net neutrality. Why should you care? I’m going to let Google and Fight for the Future (one of the hosts of the July 12th internet-wide day of action) explain. First, a Google definition of net neutrality, so you don’t have to go through alllllll the effort of Googling it yourself:
Got it? So, Comcast can’t prevent me from watching cat videos (not that I watch cat videos. Not that that there’s anything wrong with cat videos). The internet is open! Next, an explanation as to why we’re talking about it today, why it’s at risk, and why it matters, provided by Fight for the Future:
Right now, new FCC Chairman and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai has a plan to destroy net neutrality and give big cable companies immense control over what we see and do online. If they get their way, the FCC will give companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T control over what we can see and do on the Internet, with the power to slow down or block websites and charge apps and sites extra fees to reach an audience.
If we lose net neutrality, we could soon face an Internet where some of your favorite websites are forced into a slow lane online, while deep-pocketed companies who can afford expensive new “prioritization” fees have special fast lane access to Internet users – tilting the playing field in their favor.
And here is a hilarious and in-depth examination of the issue by John Oliver (yes, it’s 20 minutes, but it’s worth it):
Or, if you don’t have 20 minutes, here’s Hank Green:
Basically the end of net neutrality could mean the end of equal and open access to internet content, and that would be not great.
As book bloggers, fandom members, and general citizens of the internet, we should be concerned. As librarians (or as in my case, librarian-in-training), we should be concerned.
So I am “shutting down” my blog and social media for the day as part of the day of action (and by “shutting down” I mean posting only about this issue to show that access might be restricted if net neutrality goes bye-bye).
What can you do? First, you can learn more. The American Library Association’s page on net neutrality is a great place to start, as well as their advocacy page for how to take action, including nifty social media graphics, sample Tweets, and a link to contact the FCC. Also, you can submit a comment on the FCC proceedings, share information on social media/your blog/your community soap box, and visit the Battle for the Net website to find out more and send an (another!) email to the FCC and Congress!