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September 09, 2014 // Adam Dorsey

Net Neutrality = Freedom of Speech

Come Wednesday, September 10, you’ll be hearing a lot about something called Net Neutrality and a pending threat to the freedom of the Internet.

What is Net Neutrality? It means that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have to treat all Internet traffic the same. They can’t slow down or block traffic on their broadband networks based on individual users. They also cannot modify their services based on the type of traffic users are accessing or based on the type of service sending the content.

What is the threat to Net Neutrality? New rules being considered by the Federation Communications Commission (FCC) would let broadband ISPs offer "paid prioritization" services to companies willing to pay for faster access to end users.

September 10 is Internet Slowdown Day, when according to advocacy group Fight for the Future, thousands of websites “will display an alert with a symbolic ‘loading’ symbol (the proverbial “spinning wheel of death”) and promote a call to action for users to push comments to the FCC, Congress and the White House.”

This action will not actually slow down websites. The goal is to bring awareness to the possible loss of Net Neutrality, if new rules are handed down from the FCC, by showing everyone what the Internet would look like without it. It will be the largest protest since the worldwide Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) protest a couple of years ago when opponents of a well-intentioned, but deeply flawed, Senate bill first rallied against Internet censorship and violation of First Amendment free speech.

I’m convinced that ISPs already throttle speeds based on services, but this pending legislation would make it legal--and, it will affect you. To learn more, read CNET's article: Top websites join Internet Slowdown Day in symbolic protest of 'fast lanes.'

By the way, Piccirilli Dorsey will be participating in Internet Slowdown Day, and I invite you to visit Battle for the Net if you’d like more information about how you can take part too.

I’ll be monitoring this issue and posting more about it in the near future.

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