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NH Congressional Delegation Speaks Out Against Repeal Of Net Neutrality, States Vows To Sue FCC

The FCC has just voted to kill the internet as we know it.  In a party line, 3-2 vote, the FCC voted to repeal the Obama-era Net Neutrality regulations.  

“I’m very concerned by the FCC’s decision to roll back net neutrality regulations, which will threaten equal access to an open and free internet,” said Senator Shaheen. “Net neutrality rules were put in place to protect rural communities, small businesses and consumers, and bolster innovation. Consumers are rightly worried that this ruling could significantly impact their online experience. There is broad public opposition to doing away with these rules and it’s disappointing that the FCC didn’t factor this into their decision. I urge the FCC to reconsider and recommit to upholding the principals of a free and open internet.”

Senator Shaheen is the lead Democrat on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship. Shaheen recently led a letter with several of her colleagues to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, emphasizing the importance of net neutrality regulations to small business interests. She also joined more than three dozen other Democratic senators on a letter to Chairman Pai on Tuesday, urging him to abandon his plan to repeal the FCC’s net neutrality rules. And last week, Senator Shaheen joined Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and other Democratic senators to call on Chairman Pai to delay today’s vote due to reports that bots filed hundreds of thousands of comments to the FCC during the net neutrality policymaking process.

“A free and open internet is essential to consumers, innovators, and our economy as a whole – and the Republican-led FCC’s vote to dismantle critical net neutrality protections hurts the American people and our economy for the sake of giving a huge benefit to narrow corporate special interests,” Senator Hassan said. “Undoing net neutrality gives broadband providers the power to discriminate against certain web pages, applications, and streaming and video services by slowing them down, blocking them, or favoring certain services while charging you more to access others. This is not acceptable. As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, I have joined my colleagues in pushing the FCC to reconsider this backward and harmful decision, and I will keep fighting for priorities that put consumers first and help small businesses innovate and thrive.”

“I strongly oppose the result of today’s shameful FCC vote, and I will work to restore the net neutrality protections American consumers expect and deserve,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. “Net neutrality is the simple principle that lawful content on the Internet should be equally accessible to everyone, and that Internet service providers should not be allowed to discriminate against some content providers. Without the guarantee of net neutrality, the Internet superhighway’s rules of the road will favor big businesses over newer startups. The Internet has allowed the proud tradition of American ingenuity and entrepreneurship to reach every corner of the globe. Its openness has enabled a new generation of New Hampshire innovators to turn a bright idea and a laptop into a business. We can’t stand by as the FCC and big corporations steal our right to equal access.”

“Today the Federal Communications Commission and Chairman Ajit Pai made a terrible decision in voting to roll back net neutrality regulations,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster.  “Internet service providers should not be in the business of picking winners and losers online. Ensuring everyone has equal access to services on the web helps support the flow of new ideas and innovation, which is critical to the 21st century economy. I will continue to advocate for net neutrality and stand up for the rights of every Granite Stater on the internet.”

As the news of the FCC was breaking NY State Attorney General vowed to take them to court over the repeal of the Net Neutrality regulations.

The NY Attorney General is not alone.

The battle will now move to the court system and we will have to see where it goes from there.

Shaheen Urges FCC Chairman Pai to Consider Importance of Net Neutrality Rules for Small Businesses

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the lead Democrat on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, led several of her colleagues in a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, emphasizing the importance of net neutrality regulations to small business interests. The senators urged Chairman Pai to fully consider the impact of any regulatory changes on small businesses before voting on any changes. The other senators signing the letter include fellow Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee members Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

“In advance of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) upcoming vote on proposed changes to the existing net neutrality rules, we are writing to emphasize the importance of an open and free Internet to the nation’s small business community,” wrote the senators. “The structure of these crucial regulations must maintain a level digital playing field for businesses of all sizes and we implore the FCC to fully honor the unique challenges that small businesses face in an online market and reject changes that could disadvantage this important sector of our economy.”

The senators continued, “The concept of a fair and open Internet prevents discriminatory practices that could favor larger companies online – like higher costs for faster delivery speeds or prioritization of provider content.  Small businesses are particularly dependent on high quality Internet services in order to increase their consumer base and expand their operations and are much less likely to have the resources to invest in this kind of ‘pay-to-play’ system… As the lynchpins of many local communities, small businesses deserve our support.”

The full text of the letter is available here and below.

Earlier this week, Senator Shaheen joined a letter led by Senator Hassan to Chairman Pai expressing concern over reports that bots filed hundreds of thousands of comments to the FCC during the net neutrality policymaking process and called on the Chairman to delay the planned December 14th vote to roll back net neutrality rules until an investigation of the state of the record is conducted.

Small Business Letter - FCC - 12.8.17

Shea-Porter And Kuster Vote Against FCC Giveaway Of Your Private Internet Information

Republicans in Congress just sold you out. They have just voted to allow all of your online activities and data to be sold to corporations by your Internet Service Providers (ISPs) without a consumer’s permission.

Both Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02)  voted “no” on S.J.Res.34.

“Today, I voted against rolling back Internet privacy protections. Allowing Internet companies to sell personal information flies in the face of the New Hampshire ‘live free or die’ values we cherish,” said Shea-Porter. “Congress should be doing more to safeguard our Internet privacy, not making it harder for law-abiding citizens to protect their own data.”

The legislation Shea-Porter opposed would overturn Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules that currently require ISPs to secure a consumer’s permission before selling their private internet browsing history and other sensitive information. It would also overturn rules that currently require ISPs to use “reasonable measures” to protect consumers’ personal information. For these reasons, leading privacy organizations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Consumer Federation of America, and Access Now opposed S.J.Res.34.

A staunch Internet privacy advocate, Shea-Porter previously introduced the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2014 to ensure consumers are notified quickly if their private information has been compromised, and help prevent cyber-attacks by addressing the underlying problem of lax security and a lack of accountability. She has also co-introduced legislation that would prohibit employers from requiring current and prospective employees from disclosing their personal passwords as a condition of either keeping or getting a job, and was a leader in 2014’s successful fight to defend net neutrality.

“It is unacceptable that Republicans in Congress are trying to roll back basic privacy protections for internet users. Instead of voting on a bill that will make it easier for Internet Service Providers to sell customers personal information, Congress should be working together to strengthen existing privacy protections for broadband users,” said Kuster.  “Today’s vote begs the question, who is Congress working for: Granite Staters and Americans who use the internet, or multi-million dollar Internet Service Providers? I’m disappointed by today’s vote and will continue to stand up for the right to online privacy.”

Our right to privacy should be protected, not sold to marketing firms and multi-national corporations.  

Without Net Neutrality Freedom Of Speech Is Lost

image by by  Jhaymesisviphotography (FLICKR CC)

image by Jhaymesisviphotography (FLICKR CC)

The freedom of speech is our most coveted right, and that right is about to be squashed by corporate greed if we do not ensure net neutrality.

Right now the FCC is accepting public comments on a rulemaking change that would threaten how we access the internet, limiting traffic to websites, and blocking internet content. 

“Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers and governments should not discriminate against or block legal content on the web. If a company like Verizon slowed access to or blocked a competing firm’s website on its networks, it would be violating the concept of net neutrality.” (Truth-Out)

The rulemaking change, which is expertly explained in this article from Truth-Out, shows how these seemingly small changes could have enormous impacts.

As a website owner I am not in direct competition with internet service providers (ISPs) however as a union activist, the content I push may not fall in line with what ISPs like Comcast and Verizon want you to see. Over the past few years the NH Labor News has covered stories about Comcast workers fighting for their right to unionize, and the major CWA – IBEW strike with Verizon workers.

Without net neutrality, Comcast and Verizon could very easily block their paying internet customers from viewing the NH Labor News website, therefor strangling my freedom to speak out against them. I am small potatoes when it comes to the possible union websites that ISP’s could be blocked for being against their business models. The Communication Workers of America, the IBEW, and the AFL-CIO could all be blocked for speaking out against Comcast or Verizon.

There are other potential outcomes if this new rulemaking goes through. Internet service providers could place limits on how much speed is dedicated to particular websites. In simplistic terms this means non paying sites would be slowed down, taking longer to load. Of course sites like Netflix and Google would be able to pay Comcast to ensure that they do not see limits on their content. This would create a two-tiered system of websites, one for the corporations who have millions of dollars to line the pockets of the ISPs, and the rest of us.

This is where we must speak out if we want to keep the internet from becoming another corporate controlled profiteering device. The ISPs want to continue to charge us to access the internet, and charge businesses from the privilege of letting their content be viewed on the ISPs network.

Our voice matters, and our voices are being heard.

Amidst public outcry, the commission added language to the proposed rules asking the public if “paid prioritization” deals could be banned outright, so a federal ban on “fast lanes” is still on the table.” (Truth-Out)

Make you voice heard by contacting the FCC and make sure that they keep the internet open and unrestricted.

“The FCC is taking comments on its proposal at OpenInternet@FCC.gov. The initial deadline for comments in July 15 and the deadline for reply comments is September 15, but the agency is expected to keep the inbox open until it votes to finalize the proposal.”

Whether you like what I have to say, or you are vehemently opposed to what I say, net neutrality ensures that I have the freedom to say it. That freedom is what is really important.

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