Net Neutrality Protester ‘Throttles’ Traffic on Road Outside FCC Headquarters in Washington D.C.
“Restoring automotive freedom” by slowing everyone down.
A man protesting the FCC's recent decision to eliminate net neutrality came up with a creative way to demonstrate the potential consequences by blocking traffic—er, sorry, "restoring automotive freedom"—on the road outside the agency's headquarters in Washington and charging drivers money to use a special priority lane.
Despite all the controversy surrounding net neutrality recently, it can still a tricky subject for some to grasp. What does it mean exactly for internet providers to be able to control access and traffic speeds to certain websites and services? Activist Rob Bliss decided to bring it into the real world, staging his protest for three consecutive days in front of the FCC building on 12th Street in downtown D.C. Bliss put down traffic cones to block off the empty right lane for drivers willing to hand over $5 for a "priority access pass," then rode his bike slowly in the left lane to throttle traffic for all the non-paying road users.
As you might expect, drivers and FCC security guards were not amused. You can hear people beeping and yelling at him, though a few passersby offer words of encouragement for his protest. Police are eventually called on all three days and show up to shoo him away; they seem more weary than anything else. Bliss told The Next Web that the responding officers were "great" to him and demonstrated a huge amount of patience in their interactions.
And as funny as the protest is to watch, it's actually one of those conversations with police that lampoons the whole situation with brutal efficiency. An officer asks him if he intends to continue disrupting traffic. He replies by pointing out that if he let everyone go at a normal speed, no one would buy his fast lane passes. The officer looks slightly taken aback, then smiles as if he knows he's the punchline. "Well... I... Okay."