Following the announcement of its plans to undo the Net Neutrality rules put in place under President Obama, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been inundated with messages from citizens voicing their concern about the rollback of the rules—so much so that the website itself soon went down.
While privacy campaigners suggest that the site crashed under the weight of comments from the public, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai claimed instead that the site suffered a denial-of-service attack just after comedian John Oliver encouraged viewers to get in touch with the commission to voice their support for Net Neutrality.
Whatever the reason for the crash, the FCC have since announced that they won’t be accepting any more public comments on the issue of Net Neutrality—so they can “reflect” on the comments they’ve already received.
Under the Commission’s long-standing rules that apply to all proceedings, all presentations to Commission “decision-makers” that concern a matter listed on the Agenda are prohibited during what is known as the Sunshine Agenda period. This means that during this brief period of time, members of the public cannot make presentations to FCC employees who are working on the matter, and are likely to be involved in making a decision on it, if the underlying content of the communication concerns the outcome of the proceeding. Thus, for example, during this brief period of time, the Commission’s rules generally prohibit members of the public from submitting comments through the Commission’s website addressing the merits of the Restoring Internet Freedom Notice of Proposed Rulemaking or any other item to be considered at the May 18 meeting. The Commission adopted these rules to provide FCC decision-makers with a period of repose during which they can reflect on the upcoming items.
The Sunshine Agenda period for the Restoring Internet Freedom Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will begin on May 12, 2017, and will continue until the Commission releases the text of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking or removes it from the meeting agenda.
Some advocates of Net Neutrality consider this a move to silence the voices of those who are calling for the reinstatment of the previous rules.
So how can you make your voice heard?
Every internet user will be affected by the FCC’s rollback of these rules, so it’s only right that your voice is heard—even if the FCC try to stop you having a say.
Thankfully, the wonderful folks over at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have set up dearfcc.org to help you get in touch to tell them your comments. If you use the form, the EFF will hold your entry until the FCC is once again accepting comments, and submit them for you. Because they’re just helpful like that.
Make sure you have your say. Visit dearfcc.org today and let them know that you stand for Net Neutrality.