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December 14th is the last day that our government representatives can vote whether or not to continue the Internet’s protection under the net neutrality rules established in 2015. Without these rules in place, your data can be analyzed by your Internet service provider, and they are free to act on that knowledge and manipulate your Internet in support of their own interests.
From the beginning of our democracy, there are a few basic freedoms that all citizens have been given through the First Amendment to our Constitution: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly. Rolling back net neutrality rules would allow your Internet service provider to analyze your web activity and adjust what you are able to access to support their agenda--or more realistically, that of the highest bidder--infringing on those rights in order to make themselves a bigger profit.
We recently discussed this in more depth in a post entitled Net Neutrality: Everything Business Owners Need to Know. Make sure you give it a read for more context into this issue.
How this Affects You
Small and medium-size businesses have enough competition to deal with from large corporations as it is. Without these rules, however, ISPs could essentially allow large corporations to pay for prioritization, making their website’s user experience better than yours, encouraging users to go to them instead.
Your competitors could literally pay your service provider to give you an inferior service, slowly sending you out of business.
On a wider scale, the removal of these rules would also allow ISPs to deny access to any website whose agenda wasn’t in line with their own, censor content that they didn’t agree with, or block visitors from accessing a website belonging to a protesting labor union--all of which happened before the net neutrality rules were put in place, and will happen again if they are rolled back.
What You Can Do to Help
Regardless of your industry, this will affect you as a small- or medium-sized business owner. The time to act is now. Visit www.battleforthenet.com to contact your representative today and tell them to stop the FCC from doing considerable harm to the free and open Internet. Send an email, call their offices, make sure they know how opposed you--their constituent--are to this transparent attempt by the telecoms to abuse the Internet for profit.