On Thursday, 14 December 2017 the U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted in favor of big corporations and repealed the Net Neutrality rules that restricted internet service providers (ISPs) from discriminating against certain web content. What will this mean for internet users and developers, especially those from marginalized groups?
1.) ISPs can charge more money for access to high bandwidth services. This will not affect major players like Google, Facebook or Twitter but can potentially eliminate smaller internet companies from the market.
2.) ISPs can legally prevent users from accessing content that the corporation deems unfit. This can potentially lead to censorship of marginalized segments of the population i.e. people of color, LGBTQ persons and women if their content does not adhere to the objectives of the corporations.
3.) ISPs now have the option to legally discriminate against political doctrines and/or people based on factors such as race, gender or religion.
4.) ISPs can legally hinder the speed of websites and applications developed by their competitors.
The silver lining is that the U.S. Congress has the power to overturn the FCC’s decision during the next 8 weeks. So to everyone who is opposed to this corporate crackdown on freedom of speech and expression, now is the time to take action! Call your representatives and let them know that you are strongly opposed to the FCC ruling.
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