Is Ajit Pai the New Jim Crow?

#DigitalCivilRights on Twitter

Starting in 1877, Jim Crow laws were state and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States.  These laws mandated racial segregation in all public facilities in the states of the former Confederate States of America, starting in 1896 with a “separate but equal” status for African Americans in railroad cars.

Public education was segregated in most of the South after the Civil War. This principle was extended to public facilities and transportation, including segregated cars on interstate trains and, later, buses. Facilities for African Americans were consistently inferior and underfunded compared to those which were then available to European Americans; sometimes they did not exist at all.

Will Repeal Mean a Financial Segregation?

The currently infamous Ajit Pai, Chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is seeking to repeal Net Neutrality rules that keep the Internet protected as a public facility.   Calls on social media today including Twitters #DigitalCivilRights hashtag highlight public concern that removing these rules will allow internet providers too much freedom in the way they charge for a service that should be considered a basic human right.


The concern is that when internet providers are allowed to do whatever they want, they will inevitably violate net neutrality in order to extort money from companies like Google and Facebook, and dictate what content users can see.  If you are unable to pay to be visible, then your little website or blog might as well not exist.

No regulation will essentially give internet providers the ability to decide for themselves what is fair and equitable for consumers, effectively protecting them from any repercussions.  The result would effectively segregate the have’s from the have-not’s in online financial terms.

Is this segregation of a basic civil right, or an extreme exaggeration?

What is net neutrality?

Net neutrality refers to a set of regulations that ensure all information flowing over the internet is treated equally. It means companies cannot block websites or offer certain companies faster loading speeds for money.

Losing these regulations could lead to having to pay an extra $10 per month so that YouTube streams fast enough to watch cat videos. Or that an app creator needs to pay Verizon millions of dollars so that new customers can actually access it on the company’s network.

Up until now, the FCC has regulated these companies as “information services,” which allows them to dictate what internet providers do—particularly in enforcing net neutrality rules.  Without these rules any debatable issues that destroy your quality of internet services or ability to compete online will probably tied up in the courts for years.

Expected Net Neutrality Overturn

The FCC is currently expected to do away with net neutrality law regardless of public opinion.  Do you think that this restricts rights in comparison to Jim Crow Laws?  Will we refer to them in infamy as the Ajit Pai Repeal?  Although this is normally a humor/satire site, we would love to hear what you think. Please tells us in the comments below.

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