Internet and tech giants to stage global net neutrality protest

The day of protest will go ahead on June 12.

Some of the largest internet and tech giants will next week stage a one-day protest to oppose the Trump administration's efforts to undo net neutrality regulations passed two years ago.

Amazon, Kickstarter, Reddit, Mozilla -- maker of the Firefox browser -- and several privacy and rights groups are among those who will on June 12 add banners and notices to their websites to raise awareness over the rollback of the rules.

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FCC's Ajit Pai. (Image: file photo)

Net neutrality is a hot-button issue, even if it's not always easy to understand.

Those in favor of net neutrality say the rules are vital to ensuring that all internet traffic is treated fairly, preventing internet providers from slowing down sites and services.

But opponents -- mostly internet providers -- say net neutrality stifles competition by preventing them from favoring their own services over rivals.

The rules were first brought in during the Obama administration, but now the Republican-controlled FCC wants to roll them back.

It's a controversial move that's put content providers -- like on-demand video streaming services and social networks -- at odds with internet providers.

"The FCC is creating an internet that benefits ISPs, not users," said Denelle Dixon, Mozilla's chief legal officer.

Mozilla, which argues net neutrality is a necessity to free speech and competition online, found in a poll that the majority of Americans "do not trust the US government to protect access to the internet."

"We believe net neutrality is integral to a healthy internet," the company said in a blog post.

Sam Altman, chief of startup incubator Y Combinator, said that he's "concerned that the cable and wireless companies that control internet access will have outsized power to pick winners and losers in the market," according to the The Washington Post, which first reported the news.

Etsy, Dreamhost, Patreon, and dozens of other large websites -- including a couple of news sites -- will also join the protest.

This protest is similar to a 2012 protest, in which Google, Mozilla, Wikipedia, and Reddit et al blackened their sites to oppose the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), an anti-piracy bill that the weight and power of a censorship law.

The FCC is expected to rule on the changes later this year.

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