**Opinion** Attack on Net Neutrality is political censorship

The Federal Censorship Commission is making a grab for power. Ajit Pai, the new FCC chairman hand-picked by Trump, put forth a plan to end Net Neutrality and the FCC voted this plan forward on May 18. Pai, appointed by Trump in January, has already abused his office in an attempt to censor the opposition. After comedian Stephen Colbert made a vulgar joke at Donald Trump’s expense, Pai announced that the FCC would investigate the comedian.

Net Neutrality is a regulation that was finalized in 2015, after several years of battling million-dollar corporate lobbyists, that says internet service providers (ISPs) may not block, slow or charge more for customers in order to block particular sources, products or websites. Before Net Neutrality, AT&T muted portions of a Pearl Jam concert because of songs the band wrote against then-President George W Bush.

Opponents of Net Neutrality have also advocated “fast lanes” and “slow lanes.” A “slow lane” refers to the minimum level of internet speed provided and a “fast lane” is a faster speed that they hope to use to shake down Netflix and YouTube. The minimum speed of the “slow lane” would also depend on “good faith” negations within the industry.

Service providers have incentives to block or slow traffic from some sources. In 2007, one content provider secretly violated an earlier version of the Net Neutrality law when it slowed and blocked the file-sharing application, Bit Torrent. This was meant to stop the spread of pirated media, but journalists at Fox News tested the ban and found that the ISP blocked the sharing of media that was not copy written, including The King James Bible.

The people trying to end Net Neutrality are giving the line that it will increase competition between providers. I wish I had a dollar for every time these people promised a growth in industry for what was really just a self-serving grab for money or power. Ending Net Neutrality is a gift to the government’s lobbyists and a blatant attempt to silence Trump’s opposition.

~Joshua Waddles