The conservative activist grassroots group FreedomWorks engaged in nearly 300,000 online actions urging Republican senators to preserve Internet freedom during its “Digital Day of Action” on Monday.
FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon said:
Activists do not want to see a return to harmful Obama-era regulatory practices. A free and open Internet will boost investment in technology and infrastructure, and result in a better online experience for all. The level of engagement we are seeing today is undeniable. Grassroots conservatives are taking note of which Republicans are standing strong on their principles, and which ones aren’t.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officially published its net neutrality repeal last week, which will allow activists to sue the agency to attempt to block its “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” from taking effect.
Leftist activist groups such as Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, and Free Press Action Fund, along with companies such as Reddit, Tumblr, Etsy, and Medium will participate in a day of action to urge lawmakers to block net neutrality’s repeal.
The order reclassified the Internet as an “information service,” compared to the agency’s 2015 net neutrality order, which regulated the Internet as a public monopoly. Net neutrality proponents argued that the FCC needs net neutrality to prevent ISPs from unfairly blocking, throttling, or preferring some content, while conservatives argued that net neutrality would diminish the freedom of the Internet.
Congressional Democrats will have up to 60 legislative days to attempt to block the FCC’s net neutrality repeal using the Congressional Review Act. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) claimed in January that he has a 50-vote majority in the Senate to pass such a repeal through Congress’s upper chamber. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) also said that she supports keeping the agency’s 2015 net neutrality rules.
The online grassroots campaign launched by FreedomWorks targeted the following Republican senators:
- Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
- Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)
- Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
- Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV)
- Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK)
- Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO)
FreedomWorks’ Ken Cuccinelli argued during the FreedomWorks’ live stream:
I would venture to say that people who think they like the net neutrality that was imposed ultimately by the Obama administration’s FCC couldn’t actually point to a functional difference of the Internet that was any better. What we can point to is less investment, less innovation. We can identify companies who have said, ‘Now that this is out of the way and this threat is gone, we’re going to go invest billions of dollars back into the Internet.
American Action Forum Director of Technology Policy Will Rinehart argued, “What happened in 2005 with this [Comcast] event [that] really sparked everything, it wasn’t abundantly clear that the stuff we talk about now, ISPs benefiting their own content or slowing down content or speeding up content or throttling it or paid prioritization — the Comcast event doesn’t really fit within that. It’s not a great example of this problem.”