A Democratic member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) warned that rolling back net neutrality rules shows a “contempt” for American citizens who spoke up against it and said the Republican-led FCC would be on the wrong side of “history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American people.”
In a dissenting opinion posted on Twitter Thursday ahead of a contentious FCC vote to repeal net neutrality, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel referred to net neutrality as “internet freedom,” writing, “I support that freedom. I dissent from this rash decision to roll back net neutrality rules. I dissent from the corrupt process that has brought us to this point. And I dissent from the contempt this agency has shown our citizens in pursuing this path today.”
— Jessica Rosenworcel (@JRosenworcel) December 14, 2017
The FCC is expected to vote Thursday along party lines to give the green light to Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to dismantle the Obama-era rules that require internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally.
“The future of the internet is the future of everything. That is because there is nothing in our commercial, social, and civic lives that has been untouched by its influence or unmoved by its power,” she wrote.
“And here in the United States our internet economy is the envy of the world. This is because it rests on a foundation of openness.”
Rosenworcel said that openness is “revolutionary” and it’s important that it be preserved.
The existing Obama net neutrality policies are wildly popular, she argued.
“But today we wipe away this work, destroy this progress, and burn down time-tested values that have made our Internet economy the envy of the world,” she wrote.
She warned that the committee’s decision would not benefit consumers, businesses or anyone who “connects and creates online.”
“Moreover, it is not good for American leadership on the global stage of our new and complex digital world,” she wrote.
“Everyone from the creator of the world wide web to religious leaders to governors and mayors of big cities and small towns to musicians to actors and actresses to entrepreneurs and academics and activists has registered their upset and anger,” she wrote.
“They are reeling at how this agency could make this kind of mistake. They are wondering how it could be so tone deaf. And they are justifiably concerned that just a few unelected officials could make such vast and far-reaching decisions about the future of the internet.”
The public, she said, has been “making noise, speaking up, and raising a ruckus.”
“Finally, I worry that this decision and the process that brought us to this point is ugly. It’s ugly in the cavalier disregard this agency has demonstrated to the public, the contempt it has shown for citizens who speak up, and the disdain it has for popular opinion,” Rosenworcel wrote.
“Unlike its predecessors, this FCC has not held a single public hearing on net neutrality. There is no shortage of people who believe Washington is not listening to their concerns, their fears, and their desires. Add this agency to the list.”
She urged her fellow Americans to “persist.”
“Let’s fight. Let’s not stop here or now. It’s too important. The future depends on it,” she wrote.
A poll released this week showed 83 percent of American voters support keeping the current FCC’s rules in place.