'Astroturf' Groups Leading Drive to Kill Open Internet

The telecommunications industry is creating and funding front groups which pose as consumer organizations and aggressively lobby to kill net neutrality, journalist Lee Fang revealed in an article published in Vice on Friday.

“We’ve known since the beginning of the net neutrality debate that the phone and cable industry has been willing to spend limitless amounts of money on public relations firms, think tanks, and ‘astroturf’ groups who will then do their bidding,” Timothy Karr, senior strategy director for media justice organization Free Press, told Common Dreams in response to the report.

Industry front groups have led the drive to overturn net neutrality and block a grassroots push to reclassify the internet as a public utility—a designation that could bolster efforts to protect the open internet, Fang’s article revealed.

The American Consumer Institute, a professed consumer organization, has aggressively lobbied the FCC against such reclassification. As it turns out, annual tax returns reported by Vice show that this organization is financially backed by an internet service provider lobby group.

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