A total of 21 big-name leaders of the Internet world just published an open letter to the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, which oversees the FCC, asking them to request cancellation of the vote soon to be conducted by chairman Ajit Pai.
The FCC's vote on the proposed order is scheduled for 14 December, and it is expected to be approved, mostly because ignorance of how things work is pretty much a badge you wear with pride in the United States at the moment.
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"The technically-incorrect proposed Order dismantles 15 years of targeted oversight from both Republican and Democratic FCC chairs, who understood the threats that internet access providers could pose to open markets on the internet", the latter stated.
The agreement would see oversight return to the FTC, which will be able to investigate the activities of ISPs if they are considered to have deceived the agencies and customers over their practices.
In a statement to Ars Technica, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, described the FCC and FTC's plan as a "lackluster, reactionary afterthought", adding that it was "a smoke-and-mirrors PR stunt".
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Once the repeal is passed, the FTC will be tasked with going after internet providers that engage in unfair or deceptive practices, but net neutrality supporters argue that the agency is not equipped to prevent companies from abusing their power over web traffic. "Repeal of net neutrality regulations would not only allow telecoms to limit consumer choice for economic gain, but also allow them to pick and choose the content available - essentially, information gerrymandering". The five-seat body is now controlled by a Republican majority, and Pai's plans are expected to be approved with few issues. He said then that the 2015 decision was a mistake and that his proposal would have the federal government "stop micromanaging the Internet". NY attorney general Eric Schneiderman recently called the FCC to put off the vote due to these fake comments, claiming that over 1 million Americans had their identities falsely used on the forum.
The net neutrality debate has unleashed a torrent of public interest that rises well beyond the traditional bounds of inside-the-Beltway regulatory policymaking. Under the plan the FCC will review complaints from consumers about ISPs, and determine if they are disclosing bad behavior like blocking or throttling content.
"The FCC's new approach invites a future where only the largest Internet, cable, and telephone companies survive, while every start-up, small business, and new innovator is crowded out", said Electronic Frontier Foundation legal director Corynne McSherry, "and the voices of nonprofits and ordinary individuals are suppressed". Internet service providers will now have the unfettered ability to control the Internet.
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The prospect of repeal has also drawn criticism from major tech companies like Google, Facebook and Netflix, who fear the destruction of the "open internet".