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Net neutrality activists set up protest camp outside FCC headquarters


  1. Outraged by a proposal that could jeopardize the democratic nature of the internet as we know it, a group of net neutrality activists have set up camp outside of the Federal Communications Commission's headquarters in Washington, D.C. 

    Their rally may not be as large as the ones seen during 2011's Occupy Wall Street movement, but these protesters are every bit as serious about equality -- and they plan to stick it out until May 15 when the regulator is expected to announce new formal rules that could give more control over the internet to large corporations.

    "We don’t have armies of paid lobbyists at our disposal but we can not let the freedom of the internet be hijacked by giant monopolies,”  Evan Greer of Fight For The Future, the group behind the protest, said to The Guardian. "The internet is as necessary to our society as shelter and water, people should have equal access to it."
  2. FFTF is one of 86 organizations asking the FCC to protect net neutrality by solidifying rules that would prevent a two-tiered internet system.

    It is their hope that the FCC will reclassify cable providers and ISPs as "telecommunications services" so that it can impose net neutrality rules upon them.

    "Right now there is no one protecting Internet users from ISPs that block or discriminate against online content," reads a letter written by the coalition of organizations. "Companies like AT&T, Time Warner Cable and Verizon will be able to block or slow down any website, application or service they like. And they’ll be able to create tiered pricing structures with fast lanes for content providers and speakers who can afford the tolls — and slow lanes for everyone else."

    More than one million people have signed various petitions in support of the letter, according to people-powered politics site Avaaz. And as decision day gets closer, an increasing amount of attention is being paid to the issue by citizens and media alike.
  3. The activists camped outside FCC headquarters are far from the only citizens trying to get the commission's attention right now.

    Reddit co-founder and internet activist Alexis Ohanian is running a crowdfunding campaign to erect a pro-net neutrality billboard close to the FCC's offices.

    "Let's defend the rights of the open internet and tell the FCC that it's not okay for them to side with an oligopoly of internet providers instead of the American people," he wrote on the campaign's page. "The open internet is a fundamental utility to our nation's economy and society -- let's keep it that way."
  4. Advocacy group Free Press will also be hosting a protest at the FCC's headquarters on May 15 and has encouraged attendees to bring "pots, pans or whatever else you can bang on so the FCC hears our message loud and clear."
  5. In other parts of the U.S., petitioners are calling on President Barack Obama to protect net neutrality — something he vowed adamantly to do during a 2007 MTV broadcast, but has said little about in the past few months as the issue comes to a head in Washington. 

    A group of protesters made their opinions known to the president as his motorcade passed them in Los Angeles Wednesday evening. 
  6. Private citizens and activists are now being joined by tech corporations in the fight.

    Nearly 150 leading technology companies including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix and Amazon wrote to the FCC in opposition of its proposed changes to net neutrality regulations this week, calling them "a grave threat to the Internet."

    Other signatories include Kickstarter, Tumblr, Reddit, BitTorrent, Foursquare, Codecademy and OpenDNS.

  7. What are your thoughts on the net neutrality protests in Washington and around the U.S.? Weigh in below.