Net Neutrality Finds Conservative Support

On February 26th the FCC will either vote to preserve Net Neutrality, or pave the way for Comcast and other ISPs (Verizon, AT&T, Cox, Time Warner Cable) to create Internet slow lanes. The encouraging news is that many Congressional Republicans are getting schooled by their own base on how this is actually a conservative cause. The New York Times reports,

. . . politics on the so-called net neutrality issue have shifted so much that House and Senate Republicans are circulating legislation that would ostensibly do exactly what the president wants: ban the blocking or “throttling” of web traffic and prohibit the creation of paid “fast lanes” for Internet content providers willing to pay for faster delivery.

This is in no small part due to the dogged efforts of online activists who in September (backed by many Internet companies like Reddit, Vimeo, Netflix and Tumblr) staged an Internet slowdown to draw attention to the cause, and have flooded the FCC with comments (over four million comments received so far, mostly in favor).

One of those unbelievably energetic and motivated activists is Dose founder Dave Segal of Demand Progress, who, in addition to his online advocacy, actually goes to Washington and meets with people, and changes minds. He’s pretty damn persuasive. In 2012 Demand Progress was instrumental in defeating the S.O.P.A. bill, foiling its powerful music and motion picture industry backers.

The Times piece concludes with Dave and his thoughts on recent developments,

“The libertarian conservative base is pretty astute at recognizing crony capitalism and understand how campaign finance and corporate influence affects policy,” said David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress, a net neutrality advocacy group. “And this is a pretty transparent moment for all that.”

So the next time I get impatient with Mr. Segal for not returning my calls, or not showing up to that thing that time when he was the one who told me to go there and then he never showed up, I just remind myself that he has been pretty busy saving the world.

(Still don’t understand Net Neutrality? John Oliver has explained it to over seven million people. This helped a lot.)

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