FCC commissioner: ‘Net neutrality is doomed if we’re silent’

Onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt NY, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn urged the public to continue voicing their support for a free and open internet.

“Net neutrality is doomed if we’re silent,” she said.

Many have questioned the future of net neutrality under Trump-appointed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. The Republican-controlled commission has made its intentions known to strip away regulations surrounding net neutrality and privacy that were put in place by former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. In March, President Trump signed an order rescinding the Broadband Privacy rule, allowing ISPs to sell consumer browsing data.

Clyburn has been one of the most vocal supporters of consumer privacy protection and the open internet at the FCC. The best way to make a difference on these issues is to make your voice heard, Clyburn believes.

“[The internet] is the most enabling platform of our time,” she said. “The only way to defend something is to weigh in.”

The commissioner claimed that over a million people had reached out offering opinions on how the FCC should act; she also noted that researchers have suggested that 96 percent of those who have weighed in have done so in favor of an open internet.

[gallery ids="1491326,1491325,1491324,1491310,1491322,1491333,1491351,1491313,1491315"]

Net neutrality isn’t the only topic on the commissioner’s mind. Clyburn also took the time to discuss at length her efforts to improve the affordability of inmate communications solutions at private prisons and highlight the lack of protections available for families trying to get in touch with inmates. Expensive video call solutions from companies in the space are “disrupting families and lives,” Clyburn says.

Clyburn, who was appointed to the FCC by Obama in 2013, will be wrapping up her term as commissioner this year. She wouldn’t offer too many details in terms of what’s next, but did say she planned to continue speaking up for the issues she fought for at the FCC.

“Regardless of my title, I’m not going far.”