Fighting for net neutrality

In the United States in 2017 we've seen a barrage of attacks on the public, and efforts to dismantle protections that seek to keep us free, safe, and healthy. One area those attacks are aimed at is the very platform you're reading this on, the internet.

In 2015 our Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enacted the Open Internet Order, providing strong protections for both consumers and businesses. It classified Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Comcast and Verizon as common-carrier services, just like telephone companies. This gave us strong, enforceable “net neutrality,” meaning that ISPs, as the “pipes” between you and, Netflix, or Google, couldn't favor their own services over others, and pick winners. Now, that very same FCC, under a new chairman and former Verizon lawyer, wants to repeal these strong protections.

To be clear, there are no grassroots groups lobbying for this to happen. There are no calls from internet users to repeal net neutrality, because right now it means they have open access to billions of people and websites that they can access equally. There are no internet businesses complaining that they can't compete online, because right now anyone can come up with an idea and take on the largest competitors in the world.

So who is complaining? The biggest cable companies in the country, like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T. As they demonstrated when lobbying to repeal broadband privacy rules in March, these companies are trying to use their advantageous positions in the internet pipeline to be as valuable, and collect as much private data, as internet giants like Google and Facebook.

Repealing this rule does nothing good for anyone but big cable. In fact, more than 40 ISPs around the country recently wrote the FCC to tell them to keep net neutrality and Title II enforcement. And despite the lies peddled by the FCC chairman, Title II enforcement hasn't actually hurt big ISPs' network investment.

Since these changes could seriously affect us and the freedom of the internet we all enjoy today, we're proud to announce we're joining the tons of other companies protesting on July 12 in support of net neutrality and Title II enforcement.

What will this mean for you? On July 12, we'll display a message once for every US-based visitor, overlaid on most pages, that briefly explains the issue and urges readers to push the FCC to keep net neutrality and Title II enforcement. This will include showing the message on all free users' posts and blogs, but readers on posts and blogs of our paying customers won't see these alerts at all.

If you're a paying user and would like your site to participate in the protest, feel free to let us know and we'd be happy to include you. If you're a free user who'd prefer their blog wasn't included in the protest, this would be a great time to upgrade and support us! But if you'd prefer not to upgrade, remember: this will only happen once for each user, on this one day, and more generally only for these most important, existential threats we need to fight. And if you still would rather not participate, please get in touch and we'll try to work something out.

There is a lot working against us. But we've come together before, time and time again, to defeat these measures that aim to diminish our freedoms. The internet is a crucial technology and platform with incredible democratizing power. We must not let the entrenched interests take that from us.