Tech Pioneers Submit Open Letter in Support of Net Neutrality

A group of 21 notable Internet pioneers and technology experts have drafted an open letter requesting that the Federal Communications Commission preserve current net neutrality rules. The group — which includes high-profile individuals such as Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee and Steve Wozniak — is asking that the FCC cancel the December 14th vote scheduled by chair Ajit Pai to repeal net neutrality regulation. “It is important to understand that the FCC’s proposed Order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of Internet technology,” suggests the letter.

“These flaws and inaccuracies were documented in detail in a 43-page-long joint comment signed by over 200 of the most prominent Internet pioneers and engineers and submitted to the FCC on July 17, 2017,” the letter adds.


Last month, we reported: “With the repeal of net neutrality, Internet service providers would be able to block access, slow down or speed up access to websites as well as charge more for high quality streaming. Pai’s intent to repeal net neutrality is seen as a victory for telecom giants such as AT&T and Verizon and a loss for Internet titans such as Amazon and Google.”

According to VentureBeat, “FCC chair Ajit Pai scheduled a vote he hopes will remove the regulations that currently prevent telecommunication companies from creating a ‘tiered Internet,’ or one that would treat various kinds of online content differently.” However, many believe the “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” would counter efforts “to protect Internet users and preserve net neutrality.”

The Internet pioneers have written tech-related House and Senate subcommittees, requesting that they “urge FCC Chairman Pai to cancel the FCC’s vote.”

“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,” reads the letter. “It should be stopped.”

The following is a full list of the open letter’s signatories:

  • Frederick J. Baker, IETF Chair 1996-2001, ISOC Board Chair 2002-2006
  • Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman, Mozilla Foundation
  • Steven M. Bellovin, Internet pioneer, FTC Chief Technologist, 2012-2013
  • Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web & professor, MIT
  • John Borthwick, CEO, Betaworks
  • Scott O. Bradner, Internet pioneer
  • Vinton G. Cerf, Internet pioneer
  • Stephen D. Crocker, Internet pioneer
  • Whitfield Diffie, inventor of public-key cryptography
  • David J. Farber, Internet pioneer, FCC Chief Technologist 1999-2000
  • Dewayne Hendricks, CEO Tetherless Access
  • Martin E. Hellman, Internet security pioneer
  • Brewster Kahle, Internet pioneer, founder, Internet Archive
  • Susan Landau, cybersecurity expert & professor, Tufts University
  • Theodor Holm Nelson, hypertext pioneer
  • David P. Reed, Internet pioneer
  • Jennifer Rexford, Chair of Computer Science, Princeton University
  • Ronald L. Rivest, co-inventor of RSA public-key encryption algorithm
  • Paul Vixie, CEO, Farsight Security
  • Stephen Wolff, Internet pioneer
  • Steve Wozniak, co-founder, Apple Computer

The FCC Plans to Repeal Net Neutrality This Week — and It Could Ruin the Internet, Business Insider, 12/10/17
Congress Took $101 Million in Donations From the ISP Industry — Here’s How Much Your Lawmaker Got, The Verge, 12/11/17
Want to See a World Without Net Neutrality? Look at These Old Cellphone Plans, The Wall Street Journal, 12/11/17
Netflix Is in the Power Position Now in the War for Net Neutrality, Forbes, 12/12/17
FCC Chairman Pai Defends His Attack on Net Neutrality by Substituting Ideology for History, Los Angeles Times, 11/29/17
FCC Chair Calls Net Neutrality Uproar ‘Fearmongering’, Fortune, 11/28/17
FCC Chairman Pai Remarks on Restoring Internet Freedom, FCC, 11/28/17