Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Notations From the Grid (Special Edition): On the Forefront of Battle For the Net & #NetNeutrality

As we here at #Outsiders join in this call to preserve the open interent, we wanted to report on the leading lights on what they have done today to help preserve it thanks to the team at Politico:

By Li Zhou | 07/12/2017 10:00 AM EDT
With help from Steven Overly, Ashley Gold, Margaret Harding McGill and John Hendel
AND IT'S HERE - The net neutrality "day of action." Here's what some of the biggest internet names are doing early this morning:
Google sent an email to its "Take Action" network and urged people to contact the FCC via a net neutrality website created by the Internet Association. That email, which was also posted to the company's public policy blog, said: "It's an important chapter in this debate, and we hope you'll make your voice heard."
Twitter's public policy team tweeted a blog post to its 292,000 followers last night calling on the FCC to "abandon its misguided effort to obviate all the work that has been done on behalf of all Internet users." Twitter is now promoting hashtag #NetNeutrality and the blog post in its trending news column.
- A banner atop the Netflix homepage reads: "Protect Internet Freedom. Defend Net Neutrality" with a link to the Internet Association's advocacy website, where many of the group's members are expected to drive traffic today.
Airbnb, on its homepage, tells users it is "protesting the FCC's plan to remove common-sense regulations" and provides a form for them to contact members of Congress. It's rival, HomeAway, features a "Save #NetNeutrality" banner with a link to the Internet Association site.
-A pop-up on Reddit says, "The internet's less fun when your favorite sites load slowly, isn't it?" and says internet service providers shouldn't determine what you view online. It's also driving users to the "Battle for the Net" website.
-Consumer Reports is also taking the pop-up ad approach with one covering its whole homepage, while Vimeo and comedy site Funny or Die created net neutrality-related videos that call out FCC Chairman Ajit Pai by name.
Dropbox posted a blog of its own. Ebay added a banner to it's public policy website telling visitors that "the fate of net neutrality is being discussed in Washington" and encouraging them to learn more about the company's position. And Spotify greeted early-morning music listeners with a small banner.
- As Steven noted last night, the effort to marshal millions of internet users "mirrors the web 'blackout' deployed in early 2012 to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, which lawmakers dropped after receiving a flood of phone calls and emails." But he notes the strategy may carry less power in today's GOP-dominated Washington: "FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has vowed to roll back the rules requiring internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon to treat all web traffic equally, and he has the commission votes he needs, along with the support of congressional Republicans and Trump."
- Democrats plan to jump into the fray with a noon press conference on the Capitol lawn led by Sen. Ed Markey. He'll be joined by Democratic Sens. Richard BlumenthalRon Wyden and Al Franken and Reps. Frank PalloneAnna Eshoo Mike DoyleDoris MatsuiPeter Welch and Jared Polis. Mozilla, Free Press, Public Knowledge, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and many other groups will be there. Catch the livestream here and stay tuned for aFacebook Live led by Doyle at 2pm. Oh, and Sen. Brian Schatz will deliver a net neutrality speech on the floor and participate in a Facebook Live as well.
- What are Republicans saying? "We understand people have some passionate feelings on the issue, and we expect to hear those," said Rep. Marsha Blackburn. But she predicted the day of action will "only be another day of confusion for consumers and users" and criticized Democrats for refusing to engage on net neutrality legislation: "What I find interesting is that we have asked Democrats for years to come to the table on this issue, only for them to hide behind political excuses." Rep. Darrell Issa , for his part, welcomes the debate. "You can look at criticism as an opportunity to improve your own game or you can look at it as a nuisance," he said. Issa backs an antitrust approach to open internet protections relying on the FTC rather than the FCC.
- Will the FCC's website hold up under the expected deluge? The commission's IT staff "have taken additional measures to safeguard our comment filing system" and "will be on high alert over the next 48 hours," Pai said in aTuesday letter to Sens. Wyden and Schatz. He declined to disclose specific steps because it might undermine their effectiveness. The lawmakers had pressed Pai about the FCC's ability to accept a high volume of comments after the system sputtered earlier this year in what the agency later described as a "non-traditional" distributed denial-of-service attack.

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