Photo courtesy of New America.
Garfield Senior High School

Mignon Clyburn speaks up for net neutrality

Out of all the different stories I have read regarding net neutrality, only one truly gives us a direct statement: Commissioner Mignon Clyburn’s delivery of Jerry Mcnerney’s speech about the issue.

Besides describing exactly how important net neutrality is, his speech makes a person realize that this particular case is putting profit before people. At one point in this speech Clyburn said, “A soon-to-be-toothless FCC is handing the keys to the Internet. The Internet– one of the most remarkable, empowering, enabling inventions of our lifetime– over to a handful of multi-billion dollar corporations.”

By getting rid of Net Neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission is giving the power to control internet connection to many huge corporations. According to an article on The Verge, T-Mobile and Verizon have already insinuated that they have plans on throttling our internet and using “fast lanes.”

Clyburn sure enough doesn’t fail to mention that companies like this will, “put profits and shareholder returns above, what is best for you.” Even so, this might not faze anyone; it’s not a big surprise that giant corporations would plan on exploiting their customers. What should bother people is how quick these companies are going about it.

Another thing worth mentioning is the way in which the FCC plainly ignored thousands of people’s reasons and requests to keep net neutrality. Clyburn said, “The sad thing about this commentary, it pains me to say, is what I can only describe as the new norm at the FCC: A majority that is ignoring the will of the people. A majority that will stand idly by while the people they serve lose.”

There are so many people who depend on the internet because it supports their business. Thousands of which are artists that sell their creations and in a certain way give art life.

Let’s take Etsy as an example. A website created by Rob Kalin in which people can turn their love of art and crafting into a small business. Etsy keeps art alive by supporting and allowing thousands of artists to sell their art to people around the world. It must be a great feeling to know that someone on the other side has obtained something you created, even if it’s something small. Others don’t do it for the “great feeling” though, they do it because it is has become their job.

If we lose access to sites like these, not only do we lose the chance to spread different art across the globe, but many people will also lose their jobs. All people have to pay to be on Etsy is the price of an internet connection; that shouldn’t have to change.

Rob Kalin, Chris Maguire, Jared Tarbell, and Jaim Schopppik, the people who run Etsy, declared a statement on net neutrality that said, “It is this democratic access that makes the Internet so revolutionary. It is what allows Etsy sellers to compete with much bigger and more established brands. As a community, we believe that the basic principle of net neutrality should be safeguarded, and we encourage policymakers to adopt clear rules that allow any business, including micro-entrepreneurs, to compete on an even playing field online.” It is just unbelievable that FCC members chose to ignore statements like these.

Clyburn was right; this is a majority that ignores the will of the people. The FCC majority chose profit over people. The most important part in her speech began when she said, “Particularly damning is what today’s repeal will mean for marginalized groups, like communities of color, that rely on platforms like the internet to communicate, because traditional outlets do not consider their issues or concerns, worthy of any coverage.”

The news indeed almost always fails to document anything worthy of coverage and, simply put, news is unreliable. Awareness is one of the reasons why the internet is so important. There are vast amounts of pages that cover controversial news.  

Undocumedia, a page on Instagram which gives any type of current news about undocumented people would be the perfect example. They have stories about families that are torn apart by ICE, about people who are deported even when they state that they are citizens. In essence, stories that are too real to show up on the news but are things people have to know nonetheless.

If we don’t have equal internet freedom, we will not be able to make a change because we simply won’t know what is going on. Jerry Mcnerney made a lot of good points about net neutrality in his speech, and although it’s a shame they denied him the opportunity to speak, Mignon Clyburn was more than willing to deliver the speech for him in order to give us the opportunity to give a voice to the many that were left unheard.