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RIP Net Neutrality: June 11th, 2018

net neutrality

Doesn't it feel like the net neutrality debate has been going on forever? For those of us who live online, the new FCC rules are just a weak, corporate takeover of the last free space available to us, the people. On June 11th, we will officially lose the battle.

Although the rule was approved in December, entered into the Federal Register in February, and under ordinary circumstances would have taken effect in April, “Restoring Internet Freedom” had one extra step that needed to be taken.

The Office of Management and Budget needed to take a look at the rule because it changed how the industry reported information to the government, and under the Paperwork Reduction Act that authority had to approve the final version.

That approval was granted on May 2nd—the FCC explained in a news release—and June 11th was picked as the effective date “to give providers time to comply with the transparency requirement.”

The Congressional Review Act paperwork filed yesterday means the Senate will soon be voting on whether the rules can stay in place, but the likelihood of that bill passing the Senate and House and getting signed by the President is pretty much nil. Still, the votes will put proponents and opponents of net neutrality in the open and potentially make it an election issue.

Lawsuits alleging various flaws in the process or rule itself may eventually cause it to be rolled back, but that will take years, and lacking evidence of direct harm judges are unlikely to take the rules out of effect while considering the case.

Don’t expect much to happen immediately should the new rule take place; the industry is too savvy to blast out some new, abusive rules under the far more permissive framework established by this FCC. But as before, consumers will often be the first to spot shady behaviors and subtle changes to the wording of marketing or user agreements and spread the news when you see something.

In case you don't know, the end of Obama's net neutrality rules means that ISPs can slow or block any website they want (with notice). They can also up-charge on content. That doesn't seem so bad, right? Well, what if you like smaller niche services that infringe on large services that pay up? You might lose access to the web you love.

No matter what we do, the internet changes forever on June 11th, and there's a good chance you'll be pretty angry about it. Just don't smash your computer. It's the government's fault, not Apple.

Contains an excerpt from this article.