The Federal Communications Commission voted last month to begin rolling back net neutrality rules, and some major names in tech aren’t happy about it.
Several groups, Fight for the Future, Free Press and Demand Progress, have banded together to plan an online protest of the controversial move July 12, and among the participants are Amazon, Reddit, Mozilla, Y Combinator, Etsy, Kickstarter, Github and many others. It is unclear exactly what the group will do that day, but the group’s website says “websites, internet users, and online communities will come together to sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality. We’ll provide tools for everyone to make it super easy for your followers/visitors to take action.”
Net neutrality rules forbid internet service providers from slowing or prioritizing lawful internet traffic for money or other compensation. The existing regulations make it illegal for Verizon to speed up its own streaming video site while slowing down competitors like Netflix, for example. They also forbid internet providers from selling faster service to some companies at a premium.
Amazon is among the companies that stand to lose the most if net neutrality regulations are rolled back. The company is aggressively developing its video streaming product, which relies on speedy internet.
The concept of net neutrality goes back several years, and it has survived court battles, proposed sweeping changes and other issues. The Obama administration strengthened net neutrality with new rules in 2015 that recategorized the internet as a utility.
The rules appeared to be in danger as early as January when President Trump appointed net neutrality critic Ajit Pai to the top post at the FCC. May’s vote represented the first step in a long process that would rewrite the rules and return to a “light-touch regulatory framework” for internet service providers. The process will take months, and the FCC is accepting feedback on the plan.