Future Tense Newsletter: the Death Knell for Net Neutrality?

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai  

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Welcome back, Future Tensers,

While many Americans spent last week arguing with family over what to watch on Netflix after Thanksgiving dinner, internet activists were steaming about FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai’s announced plan to repeal net neutrality. As April Glaser explains, a repeal of the 2015 open internet rules would open a door for internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon to create slow and fast internet lanes. While Pai argues that a repeal would allow ISPs to spend more money on improving infrastructure for consumers (an argument Glaser has debunked), the past behavior of Comcast seems to point to a different future, one in which users’ access to content is stifled.

This week, a Pew Research Center study reaffirmed questions into the legitimacy of a significant portion of the nearly 22 million comments filed to the FCC during a call for comments from the public. The debate has led to vicious racist and personal attacks against Pai on the grass-roots level and ugly infighting among Trump supporters on Reddit. But it’s not too late to make your voice heard in the fight. Rabble rouse by sending comments to the FCC and reaching out to your members of Congress.

Other things we read while defending our Instant Pot purchase on Black Friday:

  • SCOTUS notice: On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear a case that could dramatically shift privacy law in the United States, but Jake Laperruque argues that the privacy threats technology poses are evolving too rapidly for courts to keep up.
  • Mac attack: Have a High Sierra OS? Read this post now on how to fix a systemwide security flaw that could allow anyone to access your computer.
  • Tech doing good: Facebook says its pilot project to use artificial intelligence to help intervene with suicidal users is a success. Will Oremus helps separate the technology from the hype in the company’s new push to use its tools for good.
  • Hashtag activism: Evan Urquhart explains how the #MeToo hashtag is changing the way Slate’s most trollsome commenters think about sexual assault.
  • Oculus whiffed: Virtual reality was supposed to be the “ultimate empathy machine,” but Inkoo Kang argues the gimmick-driven approach has failed at making us nicer.
  • A debate about drone policy recently showed up in an unlikely place: an episode of Teen Mom 2.

Ever wonder what happens to your online profiles after you die? You can read some both humorous and chilling accounts from Slate readers here.

Want to learn more about preparing for your own digital afterlife? Join us in Washington, D.C., or online for a happy hour event on Dec. 6. We’ll gather experts to discuss how the internet is changing the death industry and how to prepare for your postmortem online life.

You can RSVP online here.

Tonya Riley
For Future Tense

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University.