Sir Tim Berners-Lee joins fight to cancel net neutrality vote

Some 20 internet pioneers have slammed the repeal proposal
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Sir Tim Berners Lee

Sir Tim Berners Lee

Sir Tim Berners-Lee has condemned the repeal plan that US lawmakers are proposing. Berners-Lee joins a number of tech leaders who are telling US lawmakers that the proposal to end safeguards is based on misunderstanding of internet. The group is urging for a vote on the proposal to be cancelled or at least postponed until those voting have all the information.

More than 20 internet pioneers and leaders including Vint Cerf and the Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak have urged the FCC to cancel its vote to repeal net neutrality, describing the plan as ‘based on a flawed and factually inaccurate’ understanding of how the internet works. The letter calls for the vote, due to be held on 14 December, to be cancelled due to what the authors regard as a lack of transparency and a refusal to listen to critics of the plan. 

This vote will decide on whether to repeal an Obama-era law that protects net neutrality. The group claims that without laws protecting the principles, campaigners claim that internet service providers (ISPs) will have free reign to exploit certain types of internet traffic. To put it simply: net neutrality refers to the principle that all traffic on the internet is treated equally.

“The FCC’s rushed and technically incorrect proposed order to repeal net neutrality protections without any replacement is an imminent threat to the internet we worked so hard to create. It should be stopped,” said the technology luminaries in an open letter to lawmakers with oversight of the Federal Communications Commission on Monday.

The letter continues: “It is important to understand that the FCC’s proposed order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of Internet technology.”

Other signatories include Mitchell Baker, executive chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation; Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman, pioneers of public-key cryptography; Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive; and Jennifer Rexford, chair of computer science at Princeton University.

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