A Net Neutrality Protest Is Coming July 12

Amazon, Mozilla, Reddit, Kickstarter, Etsy and more are participating

Headshot of Corinne Grinapol

The internet, or more specifically, the sites that live on the internet, have defended their way of life in the past. In 2012, there was the great internet blackout, in which participating sites like Google, Wikipedia and Mozilla darkened their web pages for 12 hours to protest SOPA and PIPA, two proposed bills whose efforts to go after piracy would have given the government censorship power over sites on the net.

The protest worked. “This is the first real test of the political strength of the Web,” Columbia Law professor Tim Wu told the New York Times then.

The web now faces another test, in response to the Ajit Pai-led FCC’s introduction last month of a proposal to roll back net neutrality rules established by the FCC under Tom Wheeler, which treat broadband companies like a public utility, preventing them from such practices like slowing down select sites or entirely blocking sites.

The online day of action is planned for July 12, and already has 53 participating organizations that include Amazon, Mozilla, Kickstarter, the Internet Archive, Reddit, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Nation magazine and the World Wide Web foundation, which was founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web.

The protest is a joint project of Fight for the Future, organizer of the 2012 internet blackout, Demand Progress and the Free Press Action Fund. The details are vague as of now, but the protest will involves participating sites enabling visitors to take action and contact Congress and the FCC.

In the press release, representatives from nine participating organizations described how the open internet has allowed diverse communities and businesses to grow and thrive in areas like advocacy and activism to innovation, both on and off line. Denelle Dixon, Mozilla’s chief legal and business officer, summed it up well:

Net neutrality is vital to a healthy Internet: it protects free speech, competition and innovation online. It’s also something a majority of Americans support — 76%, according to a recent Mozilla-Ipsos poll. By reverting to a Title I classification for ISPs, the FCC is endangering Americans’ access to a free and open web. The FCC is creating an Internet that benefits ISPs, not users.