In the wake of yesterday’s news that FCC chairman Ajit Pai plans to undo the rules that protect net neutrality, online advocates are scrambling into gear. Fight for the Future, a digital rights nonprofit advocacy coalition, has announced plans to hold nationwide protests to send a message to the FCC and lawmakers. According to the group, protestors in at least eight cities–including Boston, Denver, New York City, and San Francisco–will congregate at a Verizon store on December 7 and then march to their lawmakers’ offices.
Fight for the Future seeks to make net neutrality an urgent, nonpartisan issue for people over the next few weeks. “This is very much a grassroots backlash in response to the news this week,” says Evan Greer, the campaign director of Fight for the Future. The FCC’s vote is coming up and, with Pai’s alleged decision, time is running out. “It’s pretty outrageous that the FCC is making such an important announcement during one of the busiest weeks of the year,” says Greer.
The FCC has a meeting scheduled for December 14, when the vote to dismantle the rules will likely take place. Until then, Greer and Fight for the Future will be ratcheting up their work. “The most important thing right now,” says Greer, “is for lawmakers to be getting phone calls.” The protests and activism will be targeted at lawmakers, who have oversight authority over the FCC.
“The FCC is obviously controlled by Verizon and ISPs,” says Greer. “The play here is with Congress,” she adds.