The Barack Obama-era net neutrality protections have been repealed after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rolled back regulations which prevented internet and telecom service providers from blocking or slowing access to internet services or charging as they feel like for providing access to certain services.
The approval of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal in a 3-2 vote marked a victory for internet service providers such as AT&T Inc, Comcast Corpand Verizon Communications Inc and hands them power over what content consumers can access.
According to the Wired, the next course of action will be seen in the courts where advocacy groups such as Free Press and others will challenge the FCC decision.
The White House has also released an official statement saying that it backs the FCC move to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality regulations. It has also stated that it will continue to support free and fair internet. Clearly, there seems to be a disconnect there, as the current FCC decision and net neutrality do not seem to go hand in hand.
To drive this false promise of free and fair internet home, FCC chairman Ajit Pai released what can only be called a cringe-inducing video on conservative site The Daily Caller.
— к†и (@killthenoise) December 14, 2017
The video titled '7 things you can still do on the internet after net neutrality' shows Pai dressed up as Santa. If that wasn't appalling enough, he is wearing the sort of eclipse glasses, holding a fidget-spinner in one hand and a nerf gun variant in the other, as though cosplaying as some sort of bizarre deity.
The seven things you can do even after net neutrality regulations are lifted, according to Pai, are as follows: You can still Instagram your food; you can still post photos of cute animals; you can still shop for all your Christmas presents online; you can still binge-watch your favourite shows; you can still stay part of your favourite fandom; you can still ruin memes and everything else you always did on the internet.
While the FCC chairman is trying to allay fears about the abolition of Obama-era net neutrality regulations, the video seems to be bordering on mocking supporters of net neutrality. His arguments about what people can still do on the internet, clearly show a lack of understanding of how the internet works. According to Quincy Larson, a teacher at the freeCodeCamp academy, in this video Pai shows 'how dumb he thinks Americans are.' Pai's attempt to woo the internet users in a language they understand falls flat on its face. Pai enacting a Jedi with a light-sabre is just sad. In the Harlem Shake skit, a 'Pizzagate' conspiracy theorist is seen dancing alongside Pai, clearly adding a political colour to the whole debate.
Here's Ajit Pai, FCC chairman hoping to kill Net Neutrality today (tomorrow pacific) celebrating it's demise with a Pizzagate conspiracy theorist (via: https://t.co/NzIsVS6JPr) pic.twitter.com/K9LCf3ksjh — GEOTRILL🌐🔥 (@delmoi) December 14, 2017
Supporters of net neutrality are not foolish to understand that the seven things which Pai mentions can be done after the new rules come into play. Instagramming food, binge-watching your favourite TV show, shopping online and so on will continue — blocking that would amount to censorship, something that would not be tolerated by even the staunchest of Pai supporters. But Pai does not touch upon what the internet service providers or telecom services providers can do under this new FCC regime.
Say your favourite go-to streaming platform for binge-watching is Netflix, but the telecom service provider somehow decides to give their own video streaming service a higher priority and thereby throttles the speeds at which Netflix is streamed. Under the new regulations, this could be allowed. Of course, prior notification to subscribers has been mandated. Another feature called zero-rating, which does not count any data usage so long as you are using your ISP or TSPs services, could drive out a lot of competition which will be billed for data usage.
There has naturally been a lot of backlash regarding the video. The DJ and producer who had mixed Harlem Shake has said on Twitter that he will take action and do anything to 'stop this loser'.
And here's 5 new things ISPs can do under @FCC's anti-#NetNeutrality plan: 1-Block/slow disfavored content 2-Speed up favored content 3-Quicken access to sponsored content 4-Slow access to sponsor's competitors 5-Speed access to juvenile @AjitPaiFCC videoshttps://t.co/Z50yJWUATn — Chad Marlow (@ChadAaronMarlow) December 14, 2017
The White House has given its green signal for the new regulations, which won a 3-2 majority vote in the FCC. The opposing Democrat candidate Jessica Rosenworcel called the decision a rash one and one being on "the wrong side of history, wrong side of the law and wrong side of the American public."