The Week in Tech – Net Neutrality Under Fire, Advertisers Hit YouTube Where It Hurts, and More!

There’s a ton of tech news to get to! Maybe you didn’t get to it all, because who’s got time for that? Well, that’d be us — here are a handful of stories from the week that was that might affect you!

Net Neutrality

On Tuesday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans to roll back 2015 regulations protecting net neutrality. Net neutrality is the principle that says all internet service providers — from cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable to wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon — must treat all web traffic equally. That means they can’t block access to certain websites or slow down access based on the site you’re trying to visit. Those in favor of the regulations argue that without them, internet providers will become gatekeepers that are free to censor certain websites or charge more money to guarantee faster connections to services like Netflix. They also argue that it would threaten small businesses that wouldn’t have the leverage to secure favorable deals with any of those providers.

Those in favor of repealing the regulations, including Chairman Pai and the aforementioned internet service providers, claim that without net neutrality, they will be free to offer more innovative products to consumers. That, as always, is infuriating vaguespeak, but what they’d ultimately be referring to are package deals that guarantee fast access to just the sites you usually frequent.

And, for what it’s worth, that’s not how it is in Portugal — the viral graphic of a Portuguese internet service provider’s package deals was misleading. Portugal is part of the EU, which strongly favors net neutrality — those package deals were optional add-ons on top of neutral wireless service (it’d be like paying for a regular 5 GB/month plan, then paying $10 more to get 2 GB extra just for Spotify).

The FCC will vote on whether or not to repeal the regulations sometime next month. Since announcement of the vote, tech companies like Google and Facebook have come out in favor of keeping the regulations. There’s also been a groundswell of popular protests online, including several petitions and plans for demonstrations in Washington, D.C. and outside Verizon stores (Ajit Pai was once part of Verizon’s legal team). There’s also been an op-ed published in the LA Times by a member of the FCC asking citizens to oppose her commission’s repeal plans, along with a blog post from New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman expressing concerns about the apparent fraudulent use of citizens’ names to submit anti-net neutrality comments to the FCC’s feedback page.

Basically, study up on this one, because you’re not going to stop hearing about it for the next two weeks, at least.

Next page: That was heavy reading! Let’s lighten things up with more Facebook-Russia news!

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