Thursday, December 14, 2017

Trump Administration Pushes FCC To Pass And Repeal Net Neutrality Furthering It's Attack On The LGBT Community

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), an independent agency of the United States government, voted today (14 December) to repeal net neutrality.
Though it’s a move objected by a majority of Americans, regardless of party affiliation, the organization went through with it. Even Republicans startled to bristle at the idea by the end.
The Commissioner of the FCC, Ajit Pai, appointed by Donald Trump, first suggested repealing net neutrality rules.
This morning, the rest of the commission voted on it and it went exactly as expected — along party lines. The three Republicans voted for reclassification, two Democrats voted against.

Now the fight really begins.
Net neutrality, in essence, is what makes the internet an equal and utilitarian space.
Barack Obama’s administration adopted net neutrality regulations in February 2015, essentially making internet companies utilities. They became classified as Title II or ‘common carriers’.
All this meant is every internet provider couldn’t restrict access or speed to website and apps, regardless of their source. In simpler terms: an internet provider couldn’t make it slower or more difficult to stream a movie on Netflix or access a certain site.
However, Pai prefers less regulations and stringent rules upon the internet providers and now that’s what we have. Going forward, it very well may become more difficult to stream movies and TV shows and fees could increase.

Ultimately, the internet is no longer a neutral zone.
The internet is an important place for the LGBT community. It’s often seen as a safe space for people within the community be themselves.
In 2013, GLSEN did a study of internet usage among the community. On a computer at home, 23% of LGBT youth spent more than 5 hours online.
The internet also helps establish communities. In the study, 16% of LGBT youth had one close online friend, 20% had two or three, 8% had four or five, and 6% had 6 or more.
Most of the respondents (47%) said their social support came from only in person interactions. However, 7% said they only had online support and 28% said they had support both in person and online. This shows there is a place for friendships and social networks online for LGBT people.
21% of LGBT youth in rural ares said they used the internet almost every day to connect with out LGBT people. In suburban areas, it was 19% and in urban areas, 17%.
As Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD said: ‘The internet is a lifeline for LGBTQ people to build community support networks and access LGBTQ resources on history, suicide prevention, and health—allowing broadband providers to regulate access is a direct and unconscionable attack on freedom of expression.’
It’s also place to find out crucial information about a variety of topics, such as health resources.
In the study, 81% of LGBT users sought out health or medical information within the last year compared to 46% of non-LGBT users.

Plus, there’s a lot of great, diverse content on streaming platforms that can only be found online.
Users likely won’t see any drastic changes immediately. However, over time, they could become more apparent and difficult.
With so many opposed to this result, it’s also a real possibility numerous lawsuits will emerge challenging the vote.

However, where the real victory lies is with Congress. Legislation could solve the problem of net neutrality once and for all. If legislation is proposed and passed with specific rules about net neutrality, this debate could be put to rest.

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