Over the last few years, net neutrality has been one of the more hotly debated matters for government agencies and businesses. The latest news sees Comcast against a pro-net neutrality group over its website, which Comcast says bears a name that is similar to its trademark.
Comcast vs. The Internet
Comcast sent a cease and desist order to pro-net neutrality group Fight for the Future over a website owned and operated by the group. The website in question, Comcastroturf.com, has been flagged by Comcast as having a "confusingly similar" name, violating the company's intellectual property.
"[I]t sounds the same, looks the same, and is spelled similarly to Comcast," the letter points out.
Fight for the Future set up the website to help identify anti-net neutrality posts on the Federal Communications Commission website that, as the group claims, are fraudulent posts to try and bump up support for the FCC and chairman Ajit Pai's recent changes to net neutrality rules. These claims have already been proven true, with many posts flagged as spam or were posted under accounts without the permission of said person.
The letter requesting Fight for the Future to address the issue was sent through a third-party group, LookingGlass Cyber Security Center. Comcast said it has no plans of pursuing legal action at the moment.
"Like most major brand owners, Comcast protects our company and brand names from being used improperly on the internet by third parties ... After reviewing the site further, we do not plan additional action at this time," Comcast said in a statement issued to the Daily Dot.
In a counter-statement, Evan Greer, the pro-neutrality group's campaign director, went after Comcast, implying that it was part of several companies involved with the aforementioned comment spamming.
"If companies like Comcast are funding this type of illegal activity, their customers and the general public deserve to know about it," Greer said. "If they're not funding it, they should condemn these fake comments and tell the FCC to disregard them."
The Issue Of Net Neutrality
Fight for the Future is one of the more prominent protest groups that have been challenging Ajit Pai's efforts to overturn current rules and practices on net neutrality.
The rules in question came about as part of the FCC's 2015 order that reclassified internet providers, like Comcast, so that data was delivered at equal speeds and without censoring. Pai has been looking to overturn this decision, which has been met with support from internet providers, like Comcast.
The general fear is that, if the ruling was overturned and these companies didn't have a standard they had to meet, customers and users would suffer. The companies wouldn't have to provide an equal level of internet access to anyone paying for their service, instead internet speed could become part of packages used to sell.
More importantly, it would give these companies the ability to censor websites like Comcastroturf, essentially controlling what people could see and have access to when online. This, as one could imagine, hasn't been met with the most positive reception, and the debate doesn't look to be settled anytime soon.