Net Neutrality. In our American-centric Western part of the world, these words have been used a lot in recent media. They sort of sound emotional or personal. Like the “repeal of Net Neutrality” is a signal that The Net of Inter has decided enough is enough and now it wants to take a side. And in a way, that’s kind of right.
Net Neutrality is a concept and set of laws passed in the Obama era in 2015. The purpose was to stop conglomerates from being able to control internet traffic – so that the same people making a profit from a company couldn’t also have the power to prioritise traffic to their website and hinder their competitors with slower traffic. It was a way of keeping all internet traffic equal, something we don’t even really think about. Net Neutrality prohibits internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from speeding up, slowing down or blocking any content, applications or websites you want to use. It keeps the internet free.
On Dec 14. 2017, the FCC’s republican majority (which is the Federal Communications Division) approved Drumpf-appointed Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to disembowel Net Neutrality. It means that Drumpf’s friends can now control what you see on the internet in America. What you are allowed to access, and what you are not allowed to access. Y’know, like China. Just as your phone company shouldn’t be allowed to decide who you call and what you say on that call, your Internet provider shouldn’t interfere with the content you view or post online.
Now the highest bidder can slow down their competitors’ content or block political opinions they disagree with. They can charge extra to the few sites that can afford to pay for preferential treatment — which demotes everyone else to a slower class of service. Including small businesses, like mine.
The biggest consequences of this are going to be felt by marginalized communities, whom the richest media outlets in America such as Fox News fail to represent or actively discriminate against. The LGBTQIA+ community, people of color, indigenous people, sex workers, activists, all rely on an open internet to organize, to share experiences, to try and change the world for a more equal society. Without Net Neutrality, this is going to be infinitely harder, or impossible. Just a few days ago the protests in Iran were being tackled through the blocking of the communication app Telegram. The Arab Spring is almost solely credited to organizing through social media. Black Lives Matter rely heavily on social media, and the #MeToo movement was a hashtag activism that has shifted the conversation on sexual assault in Hollywood drastically and permanently.
And my company. We are a tiny business – and luckily for us, Net Neutrality only affects America. For now. But this worrying trend is spreading like wildfire and in a world where many businesses like my own rely purely on the internet and organic traffic, we can’t compete with the conglomerates. My mission is to get more people watching my work and other ethical adult sites. What will happen when there is a fee of millions of dollars to allow traffic to be directed towards my site? Mainstream porn sites will be able to pay it, and I won’t, and that will be the end of ethical porn.
If you want to add your name to the protest and write to Congress in America with one simple click, head here.