'Internet Slowdown Day': World Wide Web Rises Up to Defend Net Neutrality

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'Internet Slowdown Day': World Wide Web Rises Up to Defend Net Neutrality

Online protest aims to show users what's at stake if key principle of the 'Open Internet' is destroyed by world's wealthiest telecom companies

Big ISPs want the power to slow (and break!) websites that fall outside their profit model. Take Action: tell lawmakers: “Protect Internet freedom. Defend net neutrality.” (Image: Battle for the Net)

Sites across the web are participating in what they've called "Internet Slowdown" on Wednesday, a day of action to defend the open internet and protest the efforts of big telecoms to create discriminatory internet slow-lanes.

Social media sites, internet freedom organizations, blogs, and media outlets are participating by displaying an internet loading "spinning wheel of death" symbol on their site. The image does not actually slow down the connection, but directs users to information about how to contact the Federal Communications Commission, Congress, and the White House with their concerns.

"We wanted to organize a protest that would actually show the world what's at stake if we were to lose Net Neutrality," Evan Greer of Fight for the Future, one of the groups organizing the day of action, told Common Dreams. "Do you want your favorite websites to load more slowly while corporate monopolies get to pick and choose which websites load more quickly?"

Over thirty organizations—representing more than 10 million people—have called for the day of action, with Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, Free Press, and Engine Advocacy playing a coordinating roll, according to Greer. Numerous websites that are household names are participating in the day of action, including Reddit, Netflix, and Etsy. According to Greer, the event boasts "tens of thousands of participants."

Earlier this year, the FCC—after heavy lobbying from the telecom industry—proposed new guidelines that would erode Net Neutrality, allow discrimination against online content, and give internet service providers the green-light to create fast lanes for certain sites while slowing down the rest. As the public comment period on the rules expires September 15, the organizations are urging supporters to contact the FCC and their elected officials to voice their opposition to the proposal and demand that Net Neutrality be defended. The FCC is expected to make a decision at the end of this year.

The day of action lasts until 11:59 PM.

Participants were using the #InternetSlowdown hashtag on Twitter to promote their support for the online action:

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