Friday, July 7, 2017

Tech Gears Up for Net Neutrality Day of Action

Tech Companies and Activists will be Mobilizing Supporters of the Net Neutrality Rules on Wednesday for an Online "Day of Action."

Many Websites that have signed up for the Demonstration will show their Support for Net Neutrality by displaying "Alerts," warning the Public about how the Internet could change if the Rules are Rolled Back.

The Protest has already attracted some of the Web's biggest names. Amazon, Reddit, Twitter, Netflix, Etsy, Facebook, and Google are all expected to join in.

The Online Demonstration comes as the Republican Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Ajit Pai, is pushing a Proposal that would Roll Back the Legal Framework for the Internet Rules, which Block Broadband Providers from Prioritizing or Favoring certain Websites or Content. The Day of Action will be one of the most High-Profile Events in the Battle over the Rules. The Involvement of many Tech Giants has also heartened Activists who worried that many of those Companies would sit out the New Fight over Net Neutrality.

"We have not heard directly from either Facebook or Google, but we're glad to hear that these companies are listening to their employees and Internet users and will speak out for net neutrality with the rest of the Internet on July 12," said Evan Greer, an Organizer for the Event and Campaign Director for Fight for the Future.
"In previous years these companies have often been on the sidelines of these fights, so we hope that they plan to do something meaningful in the spirit of the protest and educate their users about what's at stake if we lose net neutrality protections that protect our online free speech, and give them opportunities to take action."

Along with the Web Companies, a Number of Public Interest groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Free Press, Greenpeace, and, are also taking part.

The FCC is currently accepting Public Comments on Pai's Proposal. The Plan has already received a record 5.1 Million Comments. The first Deadline to file Comments on the Docket is July 17th. The Net Neutrality Protest won't be the only Big Tech Item on the Agenda in the coming week.

On Thursday, one day after the Demonstration, the FCC will hold its July Open Meeting. Pai has declared July "Consumer Protection Month," and as part of that effort the Agency will be considering a Rule to Crack Down on Robocalls. Another Rule on the Meeting's Docket would look to Stop "Slamming and Cramming," a Deceptive practice where Consumers are Unwittingly Switched to a different Phone carrier. The Agency will also take up an item to Strengthen Rural Phone Call Quality.

Pai has a busy week ahead:

- On Monday, he will be attending an Event in West Virginia hosted by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WVA) on Improving Rural Broadband Infrastructure. The Two have been pushed for doing more to Bridge the Digital Divide between Rural Areas and Cities.

Lawmakers will also be back in Washington after their week-long July 4th Recess. Congress will be back for Three Weeks before Departing for a Month-Long Recess in August.

- On Wednesday at 10:15 a.m., the House Education and Workforce Committee will hold a Hearing on Barriers to Job Creation and Entrepreneurship stemming from Joint Employer Standards.

- On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the House Committee on Agriculture will hold a Hearing on Incorporating Technology and Innovation for Specialty Crops into the next Farm Bill. "[I]nnovation and technology will remain essential for farmers and ranchers to continue producing more food and fiber with fewer resources," said Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX).

- On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property will have a Hearing on the Impact of "Bad Patents on American Businesses". Patent issues have been at the Center of several Contentious Supreme Court decisions in recent Months.

CLICK HERE for more information about the FCC's Consumer Protection Month.

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