[Editor’s Note: Already know what’s going on? Join the Battle for the Net right now!]
One of Donald Trump’s most used catchphrases during the 2016 presidential election was “drain the swamp,” meaning he would get rid of the politicians and decision makers more beholden to lobbyists than their constituents.
As we have seen over the past seven months, that has not quite happened. We raged against Jeff Sessions’ record; we decried Betsy Devos’ level of experience; and the list goes on.
Yet the resistance to Ajit Pai has been relatively subdued.
Pai, the current chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, is a former lawyer for Verizon, who along with Time Warner, Comcast and AT&T, are the main lobbyists fighting net neutrality.
Why, when one man is threatening to completely rewrite the rules of the internet into a pay-to-play scheme, are we taking this for granted?
First, some background.
Net neutrality refers to the rule that blocks internet service providers from intentionally slowing down or blocking traffic to certain websites.
The big case here has been Netflix, which accounts for huge amounts of total streaming, fighting internet service providers from slowing down users’ connections to the website. In the end, it worked, and Netflix began paying extra fees to Comcast and Verizon.
Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, made sure to note his displeasure with the arrangement: “Comcast is double dipping by getting both its subscribers and Internet content providers to pay for access to each other.”
With Verizon launching its own streaming service soon, it’s easy to see what’s happening here.
Let us apply this to our industry.
If companies have the ability to pay for customers accessing their website faster, it leaves small operations at the mercy of large companies. How can an upstart marijuana business in Colorado compete when Marlboro starts pouring money into making their site the most accessible? Or, a step farther: ISPs would have the ability to block marijuana-related sites in states where possession is still illegal.
Here at HIGH TIMES, we want to sound the alarm.
It was only thanks to the freedom of the press industry, and the internet that we were able to make it to 500 (!!!) issues, hopefully doing our part to change public perception. Looking toward the future, we would love to make it to 500 more—but that’s only possible with a free and open internet that provides a level playing ground for everyone.
This is more than just a grassroots campaign. On July 12, we’re joining some of the biggest names on the internet to save net neutrality: Amazon, Etsy, Kickstarter, Netflix, Twitter, Reddit, Pornhub, Airbnb, OkCupid, Dropbox, Imgur, Soundcloud, Spotify, plus so, so many more.
So, what can you do? Click HERE to quickly and easily send a letter to the FCC and Congress.
In the marijuana industry, we’re used to getting the short end of the regulatory stick.
Not anymore. On July 12, we fight.