FCC chairman scraps rules that protect the freedom of the internet

Privacy advocates and conscientious citizens are advised to provide comments “on whether a codified no-blocking rule is needed to protect such freedoms.”

On Thursday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai released a 58-page draft document that details the reversal of the landmark “net neutrality” rules set by former U.S president Barrack Obama. The FCC also disclosed that it may withdraw “bright line” rules barring internet companies from throttling, blocking, or giving “fast lanes” access to some websites.

Nominated by U.S. President Donald Trump, the FCC Chairman also disclosed his plans on scrapping the 2015 internet conduct standard and as well as an ombudsman position created to hear complaints of net neutrality violations.

His plans have also asked if network disclosure requirements should continue to remain in force for internet providers.

The plans face an initial May 18 vote.

Pai also stated he wants public comments on whether the FCC should keep its “bright line” rules, saying his decision on the rules would partly depend on the comments the agency receives.

Tech giants including Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc have backed the rules saying they guarantee equal access to the internet. However, ISP, such as Comcast Corp, AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc have complained against the Obama-era rules saying they make it harder for them to manage internet traffic.

Mignon Clyburn, the FCC Commissioner as well as Terrell McSweeny the Federal Trade Commissioner have opposed Pai’s plans saying it “would allow broadband providers to erect barriers or charge tolls to any application, connected device, or website that the broadband providers’ customers want to reach. It would allow broadband providers to favor their own content over others, and pick winners and losers on the internet.”

According to Pai, the open internet rules were not required since large ISP did not block websites before they were imposed.

“We were not living in some digital dystopia before the partisan imposition of a massive plan hatched in Washington saved all of us,” said Pai.

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