Pulling the plug on net neutrality.
Just because everyone’s against you doesn’t mean it has to look that way.
That appears to be the thinking of FreedomWorks, a conservative advocacy group behind the dubiously titled Unlock The Internet — a campaign urging average citizens to take internet reform into their own hands by demanding the FCC gut its 2015 decision protecting net neutrality.
This anti-consumer call to arms comes at the same time as the July 12 Day of Action in support of net neutrality, and is backed by a host of right-leaning think tanks all angling to give internet service providers like AT&T and Comcast the right to charge you more money to access certain parts of the internet.
But here’s the thing: Unlock The Internet is a joke. It’s a transparent scheme, under a freedom-first veneer, to combat the popularity of the Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Reddit-backed Day of Action. One look at their bare-bones website, registered on June 28, makes that clear.
What’s more, at least five listed participating organizations — Americans for Prosperity, American Commitment, Citizens against Government Waste, Center For Individual Freedom, and Americans for Tax Reform — have in the past received funds from the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (now known as the The Internet & Television Association), an industry group that has come out against the Title II regulations that net neutrality advocates say are vital to maintaining a free and open internet.
But far be it from us to suggest that money might influence the policy positions of a think tank.
Speaking of policy positions, let’s take a look at Unlock The Internet’s.
"In 2015, President Obama’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took the unbelievable step of applying the heaviest possible hand of government regulation to the Internet," the organizers note with (presumably) straight faces. "This shocking move by the federal government opened the doors for forms of online censorship, potentially new government taxes and fees, and resulting price hikes on consumers."
Notably, actual proven consumer advocacy groups like the EFF have come out strongly in favor of the very same rules Unlock The Internet wants to trash.
We reached out to every single organization listed on the Unlock The Internet site, and were able to confirm the involvement of FreedomWorks, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Less Government, and Citizens Against Government Waste. The gem of the group, however, is FreedomWorks — which appears to be the brains behind the operation.
You may remember FreedomWorks from a 2013 Mother Jones report noting the group produced a promotional video featuring an intern, dressed as a panda, performing simulated oral sex on a Hillary Clinton stand-in.
No? OK, well, then you’re probably familiar with the chairman of its board of directors, Joan Carter. Carter also happened to be the associate producer on the failed Atlas Shrugged movie adaptation. Not ringing any bells?
Well, regardless, you get the idea: These are serious people with serious ideas, and you should definitely take their arguments in favor of "Unlocking The Internet" just as seriously as they took that website’s design.