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July 10 2017

Amazon, Google, Netflix and Pornhub Unite for Internet Regulations

by Patrice Lee Onwuka

What brings together the biggest search, streaming, porn, and shopping websites in the country? Saving President Obama’s internet regulations.

This week on July 12, major website companies will participate in an “Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality.” In between browsing for sandals, binging on tv episodes, and searching for X-rated videos, online visitors will see messages from the websites hitting Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai for getting rid of net neutrality rules. Visitors will likely be provided tools and links to contact Congress and the FCC to uphold these internet controls.

Along with progressive activists, major websites are expected to participate such as Google, Amazon, Pornhub, and Netflix. Other names of companies participating will be very familiar: Etsy, Vimeo, okcupid, Dropbox, change.org, youporn, and Funny or Die.

Many of the statements these companies have made in support ot net neutrality rules express the same sentiment: to create a free and fair internet or protect the free exchange of ideas. Those are lofty ideals, but not necessarilly what's behind this push to save net neutrality.

Many of these websites have something big in common: their visitors are heavy data users. From scrolling thorough images to downloading naughty videos to uploading large files, these companies have an interest in ensuring that Washington – and not the free market – decides how internet bandwidth is allocated or whether heavy users of data should have to pay more for their usage. The vice president of Pornhub said as much.

Efforts are underway though by new leadership at the FCC, to scale back the power grab that placed greater regulations on the internet. Under President Obama, the FCC changed the classification of broadband internet to be a utility, which granted it greater authority to pass rules on what internet providers could and could not do. Some of the rules it passed included prohibiting internet providers from blocking or throttling internet service to different websites.

With the reversal of these rules we expect more Americans to gain access to the internet. The unintended consequences of one-size-fits-all regulations over the internet was that investment in internet infrastructure by internet providers declined. That meant fewer homes are gaining access to faster internet service.

The internet – including all of the wonderful websites that plan to protest on July 12 – developed without Washington bureaucrats directing and controlling it. As one anti-net neutrality tech entrepreneur argues, government is the worst entity to manage the internet:

Proponents of Net Neutrality say the telecoms have too much power. I agree. Everyone seems to agree that monopolies are bad and competition is good, and just like you, I would like to see more competition. But if monopolies are bad, why should we trust the U.S. government, the largest, most powerful monopoly in the world? We’re talking about the same organization that spent an amount equal to Facebook’s first six years of operating costs to build a health care website that doesn't work, the same organization that can’t keep the country’s bridges from falling down, and the same organization that spends 320 times what private industry spends to send a rocket into space.

Be prepared after Amazon Prime Day tomorrow, for Amazon and many websites you visit to slow down your viewing time as they blast net neutrality propaganda on your screens. Just know that they have an agenda and it’s not necessarily yours.

Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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