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Net Neutrality Advocates Gearing Up for July 12 Day of Protest Against FCC Reversal

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WASHINGTON, July 6, 2017 – A range of advocates for net neutrality gathering under the banner of Fight for the Future have teamed up to host an online protest, “Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality” on Wednesday, July 12.

Reddit and Public Knowledge are among the more than 100 companies and advocacy organizations that have agreed to join the protest.

On July 12, the participating organizations’ websites will put an alert on their homepages that purports to “show the world what the web will look like without net neutrality.”

They will choose from several difference advocacy messages with differing texts, such as telling users the website has been blocked or asking users to upgrade their internet service plan.

The advocacy website argues that the internet has been successful because of net neutrality, which makes the internet a place for creativity, free expression and exchange of ideas. Without net neutrality, it argues that the internet will become more like cable television where the content is restricted to what the provider decides to show.

The group has mobilized in opposition to the proposal by Federal Communications Commissioner Chairman Ajit Pai to reverse the Obama administration FCC’s classification of broadband internet access service as a utility regulated under Title II of the Communications Act.

“We all rely on dependable broadband access in our daily lives, and our efforts with our allies here will be just one step in our vigilant efforts to defend this most essential platform for innovation, economic progress and democratic discourse,” said Kate Forscey, associate policy counsel at Public Knowledge.

“This action will provide a glimpse into what could happen if Chairman Pai’s plan becomes reality — where the gatekeeper broadband companies control access with impunity.”

“Reddit is proud to join forces with our community on the day of action on July 12,” said Melissa Tidwell, general counsel of Reddit. “We have always been strong advocates for net neutrality, and we will communicate that to all relevant agencies and Congress.”

The American Civil Liberties Union is also joining the protest. When asked about it, Thomas Dresslar, media relations associate for ACLU, said the event was not a protest, even though the website refers to itself as a protest.

Speaking of Pai’s proposed reversal of the public utility regulation, ACLU said that it “would be devastating to civil rights organizations and activists, who can’t afford to pay corporations to make their voices heard. The internet has been a vital tool for scrappy campaigns and movements, but they may not have enough resources to survive in Chairman Pai’s pay-to-play model.”

(Photo of net neutrality protest by Backbone Campaign used with permission.)

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