New International Open Letter Warns US Lawmakers over Net Neutrality Rollback

A growing network of international businesses and organizations are warning the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that a rollback of Title II net neutrality rules could create “significant social and economic harms.” Earlier this year, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans to roll back these rules that currently require US Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to treat all Internet traffic equally — even traffic that originates from overseas.

Businesses and organizations that operate from outside the US, including European Digital Rights (EDRi), Access Now, Reporters Without Borders and Dutch privacy search engine StartPage.com are expressing  their concerns over the rollback plans in a new letter addressed to Pai and the US Congress.

259347 world%20letter a0523d original 1506443592

Over 200 have already signed onto the letter and additional signatures are being added on a rolling basis.

While Pai has seemingly ignored overwhelming support for Title II in the over 20 million net neutrality comments filed by his country’s own citizens, it hasn’t deterred StartPage.com CEO Robert Beens from weighing in.

“The Internet is a shared world marketplace and forum that calls for international cooperation and diplomacy,” said Beens. “The US should solicit input from all parties that could be affected. It’s simply the right thing to do, and we hope that Chairman Pai will give our concerns serious consideration.”

If the US repeals net neutrality rules, signatories warn in the letter, it could harm or destroy global businesses and organizations by allowing US ISPs to decide what their US customers can see and do online while using their services, even discriminating against international traffic. ISPs would have the power to block sites and apps, and even force websites to pay expensive “prioritization” fees just to reach customers. Of course, this would have serious implications for freedom of information.

The group has released its letter to Pai and the US Congress in time for the September 26 FCC open meeting. It is available online at theworldfornetneutrality.com.

Download PDF
Download PDF