Trump Gets America caught in the Net
It is ironic that President Trump, a man who so thoroughly enjoys the Internet and the freedoms it provides including using Twitter to be able to insult foreign leaders, would favor the elimination of net neutrality. For those of you that are not familiar with the term, I shall elaborate.
The basic idea is that all internet data should be treated equally. Companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon are the conduits, through which the information passes, but they should not be able to charge different websites more money or less money based on whom they like or do not like, nor should they be able to slow down, speed up, or block any content, applications or websites. Net Neutrality is essential to protecting the First Amendment.
Imagine if your phone company told you who you could call and what you could say on that call. It’s pretty much the same premise. Net Neutrality helps preserve our freedom of speech by allowing us to say what we want, to who we want, online. President Trump knows that probably better than anyone else. Yet, the FCC’s Chairman Ajit Pai, who is heavily supported by the Republican Party, plans to destroy net neutrality protections.
Do we really want corporations dictating who succeeds in getting their message out online and who does not? Under those conditions, it is likely that those who can pay for preferential treatment will come out on top. That’s not good news for marginalized communities like woman, people of color, religious minorities and the LGBTQ community. How will they organize to fight back against economic inequality and other forms of discrimination? President Trump has a history of favoring any policy that negatively affects minorities and the 99 percent.
In 2015, the FCC adopted strong Net Neutrality rules based on Title II of the Communications Act, giving the agency the power it needed to prevent ISPs from blocking, regulating or interfering with web traffic in any way. This allowed for a level playing field, one in which people could surf the web freely, reading, writing, sharing and communicating any information they wanted. This freedom brought about a historic era of online innovation and investment.
Net Neutrality is very important for new businesses owners, small business owners and entrepreneurs, people you think President Trump would identify with as an entrepreneur himself. They rely on the open internet to advertise their products and services and to reach customers. Increasing economic development is good for the country. It creates jobs and bolsters competition and innovation. That can help make America Great Again.
Without Net Neutrality, we would not have companies like Google and Facebook, companies that most of us cannot imagine living without. They seem to connect us to everything and everyone. Information and people of every type and variety are just a few keyboard taps and mouse clicks away.
Eliminating Net Neutrality is not a far jump from how communist countries censor the internet. China, for example, has a system in place, which it calls the “Golden Shield,” and it blocks many thousands of websites including Facebook and Twitter, because it deems them unfavorable to the Communist Party’s agenda and control. Shutting out an entity that does not agree with the current political party’s message - sound familiar?
Let’s do every American a favor and not lead them down his road, President Trump. I think censorship of the internet should only be conducted by parents in their own homes in order to protect their children, otherwise, the government should keep its hands off the internet unless it involves criminal activity. Locally, Dennis Walcott, president and CEO of the Queens Library has blasted the plan to strip net neutrality stating that it could negatively affect the New York-area public library systems, impeding their ability to provide an open internet to people of all backgrounds who are seeking access to knowledge, education and opportunity.
The bottom line is that we cannot simply rest on our laurels while big companies become the gatekeepers of the internet. It’s dangerous and it must be stopped. Fortunately, Congress has the power to reverse the FCC’s vote. I encourage my fellow lawmakers to use a resolution of disapproval to overturn this madness.