As society continues to evolve the battle ground for Civil and Human Rights has shifted to a digital theatre. With as much information that is broadcast on a daily basis, the idea that access to this information should be prioritized by Internet Service Providers to who is willing to pay most to have their content featured while other content is suppressed by the creators inability to afford priority access creates obvious disparities that the internet has long since equalized in society.
We all must research and educate ourselves on how critical Net Neutrality is to a fair and equitable society and freedom of speech & expression. At present Civil Rights activists have taken up the cause, and are defending Net Neutrality as it is essential to our free and open Internet.
Here’s what you need to know about Civil Rights groups and the cause for Net Neutrality:
- A number of groups that are critical of internet service providers like Comcast argue that the rules, known as net neutrality, are essential to prevent such companies from giving premium access to content providers willing to pay for it. But opponents of the rules say they are unnecessary government meddling in a space that has flourished precisely because the government has kept its hands off of it.
- In an interesting twist, the debate has drawn the interest of civil rights activists. The most notable is Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization.
- The group and its supporters say that it is simply seeking to ensure that all voices are heard on the internet, in the long tradition of civil rights.
- Leaders at the Color of Change argue that repealing the rules would devastate Black communities.
- “Net neutrality is essential to protecting our free and open Internet, which has been crucial to today’s fights for civil rights and equality,” the Color of Change writes in an online petition. “Our ability to have our voices heard in this democracy depends on an open Internet because it allows voices and ideas to spread based on substance, rather than financial backing. We will not stand by silently as [FCC Chairman Ajit Pai] solidifies his role reigning over [Donald Trump‘s] FCC by following through on Trump’s campaign promise to dominate the web by closing the open Internet.”
- Pai, a former Verizon attorney, has proposed to overturn a 2015 Obama administration decision that empowers the commission to regulate the Internet much like a telephone company. Opponents say the plan would allow broadband providers like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast to throttle or even block content or charge content providers to prioritize their sites. It could come up for a vote as soon as October.
- But proponents of the measure are suspicious of the movement and point a finger at liberal billionaire George Soros. The Color of Change and its PAC have been recipients of Soros dollars, according to published reports and donor records, which proponents argue has enabled them in part to wage attacks on internet service providers whose goal they believe is to restrict access to the web.
- Political commentators like Hazel Edney recently noted in a Black Enterprise OP-ED that Soros believes in big government or that the federal “government is the preferred arbiter of the flow of internet content.” She and others also argue that the protest movement is a red herring for economic interests, not racial justice.