A major FCC ruling is coming up in 2018, and it’s likely to give ISPs even more power over your internet experience.
The Federal Communications Commission will vote next week on an order that will give ISPs more control over what websites you can and cannot see.
That decision is the culmination of years of FCC policymaking, and has the potential to open the floodgates to an unprecedented amount of censorship.
Internet freedom advocates are already fighting back against the ruling, and have called for a broad coalition of public interest groups to fight back in court.
On Monday, a coalition of major Internet freedom groups sent a letter to the FCC stating that it is a “disgraceful abuse of the courts” to allow ISPs to decide what websites can and can’t appear on the Internet.
“The FCC’s decision to permit the creation of a blanket rulemaking authority for ISPs is a gross abuse of judicial discretion and an unprecedented intrusion on the constitutional rights of Americans,” the letter reads.
“These are not the rules of the Internet, they are the rules that govern our lives, and they should be upheld.
In light of this blatant abuse of authority, we are writing to urge you to reject this misguided decision and to instead establish clear guidelines that will protect our Internet freedoms and ensure that we can continue to enjoy the benefits of the open internet without fear of being censored.”
The letter also highlights a number of issues, including the lack of transparency surrounding the FCC’s review of the order and the potential impact it could have on free speech online.
A majority of the signatories are led by the American Civil Liberties Union, a group that has been a strong proponent of net neutrality protections, and includes the American Association of University Women, The Internet Association, and OpenMedia.com.
The ACLU and the ACLU of Michigan have been among the strongest advocates against the FCC rule, as has the Internet Association and Open Media.
If the FCC approves the new order, it would be the first time in history that the FCC has sought to censor websites, according to a post on the ACLU’s website.
This could be the beginning of a massive censorship campaign, and in the wake of the recent court ruling, the FCC may have the opportunity to use this unprecedented power to further crush free speech and protect internet privacy.
“While the FCC is entitled to make its decision, it is imperative that it does so in the light of the very real risk that this could be used to censor online speech and threaten our fundamental right to online privacy,” the ACLU said in a statement.
“We encourage all Americans to call their members of Congress to oppose this misguided ruling.”