Internet Slowdown: Was It Effective or an Empty Gesture?
Organizers behind Wednesday's symbolic "Internet Slowdown" in support of Net neutrality are dismissing criticisms from some outlets that the level of participation from some companies was weak or meaningless. The daylong, online protest was joined by more than 10,000 Web sites and resulted in over 722,000 e-mails from site visitors.
"Yesterday was a massive and resounding success," said Evan Greer, campaign manager at the advocacy group Fight for the Future, one of several organizations behind the protest. "It was an astounding testament to the power of the Internet."
Greer told us organizers were still working Thursday to forward all the e-mails they had received to the Federal Communications Commission, because the agency's servers were having trouble handling the volume of comments. The "Internet Slowdown" action also resulted in more than 300,000 phone calls to Congress, Greer said.
'Unassuming' and 'Easily Missed'?
Some news outlets covering Wednesday's protest questioned the effectiveness of the strategy, in which participating Web sites displayed a message in support of Net neutrality along with an endlessly spinning "site loading" icon.
Newsweek, for example, contrasted the bold home page message on Kickstarter with the "unassuming" and "easily missed" box that was displayed by Netflix. Writer Lauren Walker asked, "Does the small nod most participating Web sites gave to today's action mean they have given up on Net neutrality?"
Declaring that the slowdown was a "bogus, empty gesture," VentureBeat suggested, "An effective protest would degrade or cut service altogether." Compared with the content blackout that many sites like Wikipedia participated in during the 2012 campaign against the proposed U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), writer Fletcher Babb complained that in Wednesday's Internet Slowdown, participants were "settling for the electronic version of a flag lapel pin."
'Internet Spoke for Itself'
Greer countered that the relative visibility of the Net neutrality support message on any one Web site paled in comparison to the large numbers of people who sent e-mails or made phone calls in response to the campaign. He added that his organization and others were "going to continue to keep the pressure on the FCC" ahead of the agency's deadline Monday for public comment on the issue. Live demonstrations in a few cities are also being planned for Monday, he said.
The FCC's proposed changes to the "open Internet" rules could open up the possibility of "fast-lane" services for companies willing and able to pay a higher price for network access. Opponents are urging the FCC to reclassify Internet service as a utility-like service in which all users have the right to equal access.
The volume of e-mails submitted to the FCC has pushed Net neutrality ahead of the previous record-holder for public comments to the agency: the "wardrobe malfunction" during Janet Jackson's 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. That resulted in 1.4 million comments, compared with the 1.47-million-plus that the FCC has now received on Net neutrality since July.
"We're just riding high from the whole day," Greer said. "The Internet spoke for itself yesterday."
Posted: 2014-09-13 @ 1:58pm PT
Wheeler the weasel has more than made his priorities clear. A former Comcast lobbyist mind you. He wants to exploit the open internet for profit specifically for monopolies. Monopolies are now becoming the government folks. They cannot be regulated, governed or fought. The net has been a boon for mankind for reasons related to openess. Wheeler tries vehemently to exploit it for Comcast for profit at great peril on our backs. If anything, Comcast should be split up. They have not split up monopolies for many, many years. Thank you Republicans for your vision of selfishness. Wheeler was a clear mistake that needs to be lanced like a cyst and removed forciblt. He is corrupt and slighted. We must stand firm against this all. It is the very air we speak in freely they are trying to exploit. There now is a feeding frenzy fighting for a piece of our clear air. The government's responsibility is to stop this and fight for us as we get exploited by the few, the greedy, the powerful lusting for yet much much more. By any means neccessary, we should fight for our free air if we are to be worth anything at all.
Posted: 2014-09-12 @ 10:28am PT
The slow internet speed drove me to the point of considering changing my ISP to the only other alternative in my area (Guess who?) So, How effective is that?