With only a day left to weigh in on the federal government’s plan to kill net neutrality, Santa Clara County took a stand to protect a free, open internet.
The county Board of Supervisors today voted 4-0 on a resolution supporting net neutrality, the principle that prevents internet providers from speeding up, slowing down or blocking content. Without said principle, companies such as AT&T Comcast and Verizon would be able to hold uninhibited access to online data and ransom it for a cost.
Supervisor Joe Simitian introduced the resolution, which called net neutrality “necessary for the prosperity” of the local economy while also stressing the importance of defending free access to the world wide web.
“Especially here in Silicon Valley, the internet is a driving force behind our economy,” Simitian said in a prepared statement. “It creates jobs, fosters innovation, and connects us to each other, even across the globe. An open internet is key to the high-tech world we’ve built, and it’s up to us to help protect it.”
In 2015, Obama’s administration directed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to impose new protections that prevented companies from throttling information based on fees for service. But now, under the Trump administration, the commission is considering a rollback of those guarantees.
Mitch Stoltz, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), said the companies lobbying for that rollback have already proven their willingness to harm consumers. AT&T blocked data sent by Apple. Comcast slowed down online traffic for some apps. And companies routinely reroute searches to websites people didn’t request.
“Users pay them to connect to the internet,” Stoltz said, “not decide for them what they can see and do there.”
The FCC is taking public comment through Wednesday. The county’s board of supes will vote on the local resolution this morning.
- Supervisors will hear an update on the county’s efforts to combat human trafficking. Though the county allocated $2.86 million to address the issue, it only recently began putting together a plan to fight labor trafficking—a type of modern slavery that authorities say is harder to catch. Police and prosecutors in the region have almost exclusively focused on sex trafficking because of a persistent failure to devote resources to identifying and apprehending the perpetrators of other types of forced labor in restaurants, nail salons and other work places.
WHAT: Board of Supervisors meets
WHEN: 9:30am Tuesday
WHERE: County Government Center, 70 W. Hedding St., San Jose
INFO: Clerk of the Board, 408.299.5001
This article has been updated.