Last year the FCC quietly gave cell phone companies new powers to block and control your text messages. Carriers like AT&T can now legally block, delay, or charge more money for your selfies, or texts sent by schools, businesses, and activist groups. This is a massive power grab that threatens our right to free expression. Tell the FCC to overturn this decision and stop text message censorship before a key deadline Tuesday.
In December, Ajit Pai’s FCC classified text messaging as a Title I service under the Communications Act, effectively giving cell phone companies new powers to block, censor, or discriminate against certain text messages in exchange for new fees.
Just think of how this could be used to silence or shake down activists, businesses, or anybody who relies on text messages to communicate.
In 2007 action alert texts from NARAL were blocked because their messages were deemed “controversial.” In January 2019, Verizon threatened to charge massive new fees for a popular free texting service used by teachers and other community groups that actually threatened to shut the app down on Verizon’s network.
Cell phone users should not have their messages blocked because a telecom company disagrees with their point of view or wants to shake them down for more money. We cannot afford to let Big Telecom pick and choose which messages make it across their network.
Thanks to the hard work of our friends at Public Knowledge, the public now has until Tuesday, April 2nd to file a comment with the FCC asking the agency to reverse their terrible decision (docket WT 08-7). If we get enough people to speak out we can either convince the agency to reverse its course or use our numbers to show Congress–who is ultimately responsible for the FCC–that their constituents need them to step in and set this right.