Keep the pressure on Congress to protect net neutrality

day of Action Libraries Transform image. Reads: Because ISPs shouldn't have VIPs.Nearly 9,000 advocates have raised a library voice in favor of net neutrality over the past week, adding significantly to the outcry over the FCC’s draconian draft order rescinding 2015 protections. According to our action center dashboard, 27,319 emails have been sent and, thanks to you, every member of Congress has received at least one email from us. If you haven’t had a moment to write or call your member of Congress, it’s not too late. Go here.

In fact, some members have already spoken out in favor of preserving net neutrality. Maine Senator Susan Collins was the first Republican to oppose the draft order and has been joined by a few other Republicans and many Democrats. If you’re not sure where your member of Congress stands, you can check out the scorecard from our friends at Fight for the Future.

We also are working with other net neutrality allies to focus attention on Energy and Commerce Committee members, who most directly oversee the FCC. The ALA has signed on to this letter. Your institution can join, as well, via this form. The deadline to sign on is Friday, December 8 at 12 p.m. EST.

We’ve seen great activity and received some good questions from you. The most frequent question is why we aren’t targeting grassroots action toward the FCC commissioners who have the most direct power over whether or not these draft rules will be adopted. The FCC was our first stop for activism, with ALA comments joining millions of others from librarians and other advocates. The majority of comments filed before the end of the public comment period that makes up the foundation for rulemaking favored preserving enforceable network neutrality rules. The draft order dismissed these arguments in favor of other legal and economic readings of the issue. The draft order already has been supported by a majority of Commissioners, so it is almost certain to pass unless there is a meaningful intervention.

One possibility is a legal argument to the FCC, which the ALA has supported in a joint letter. Since the FCC order abdicates enforcement to the Federal Trade Commission, this argument is new and highly relevant. Concerns about the integrity of the FCC’s public record for this rulemaking also are significant. But even these concerns may not move a highly partisan FCC. Congressional outcry is the most likely to bring a pause on the intended vote.

Please keep up the pressure and continue to share your questions and ideas for activism. We’ll be back with more news and action items next week.

About Larra Clark

As Deputy Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), Larra’s responsibilities include overall management of OITP’s telecommunications portfolio and day-to-day management of America’s Libraries for the 21st Century (AL21C) projects and those in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Previously, she served as the project manager in the ALA Office for Research & Statistics for three years.

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