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The Federal Communications Commission (#FCC) plans on voting to end net neutrality on December 14. #Net Neutrality was created in 2015 [VIDEO]to ensure that broadband services couldn't block websites, charge websites for faster service, or charge consumers for the use of anything from social media to Ted Talks. Losing it could have several drastic affects on the way we use the internet.

A vote against net neutrality could harm the economy and effect freedom of speech

While everyone would be hurt by the loss of free access and the sudden rise in internet cost, small businesses will suffer the most. Many small business owners can't afford an actual storefront, so instead, they sell their goods through an online company, set up on Etsy, eBay, or any number of other sites.

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According to the US Small Business Administration, over 80 percent of small businesses have only one worker, and many of these one person companies sell their goods online. Some small businesses that do have a store still rely on online purchases, since their online site is easier for most shoppers to reach. These small businesses, that are usually already struggling financially, would not have the money to pay if broadband started charging them for a higher processing speed. As a result, their site will become slower than the average consumer is willing to wait, and their business would fail. The American Sustainable Business Council sent a letter to the FCC explaining the effect this vote could have, and stating that the end of net neutrality would be disastrous for small businesses. The Small Business Administration also claims that small businesses make up 99.7 percent of all US businesses.

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If that large a percentage of total businesses start to fail it may affect the economy.

People who work from home, perform online freelance work, use the gig economy, or earn money through product renting sites could also be affected. Many gig-based and freelance companies are large enough to pay a fee, so their speed may not be affected. The companies aren't the only ones that could be affected though. If the vote passes people who work online could find themselves paying to gain access to the sites they work for. According to the Pew Research Center, 24 percent of all Americans make money through the digital economy. Without net neutrality, they could be charged to continue.

A blow to the economy isn't the only negative effect the loss of net neutrality could have; it would also give broadbands the right to completely block content for the purpose of stopping peaceful online protests. This is not a theoretical situation. In 2005, before net neutrality began, Telus cut its subscribers access to Voice for Change, a site for the Telecommunications Workers Union.

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In 2006 AOL blocked every email with a link to the petition against their company. They later claimed it was an accident, caused by a glitch. Without any strict laws saying that sites cannot be blocked, cases like this could happen again. Not just with sites or emails that make their company look bad, the broadband owner could theoretically block any site they disagree with.

The FCC has received fraudulent responses from both sides

There has been a widespread and aggressive public response against the vote; a public protest at Verizon stores has been scheduled for December 7 and over 22 million people have sent comments to the FCC. The New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has noticed something strange has been happening to these comments. Close to 50,000 complaints have disappeared, and many of the messages saying that we should get rid of net neutrality seem to be faked.

Consumers have been sending messages to the FCC saying that their names were stolen by someone to send messages. The attorney general's office estimates that there are several hundreds of thousands of cases of stolen identities used for comments in the New York area alone. There have also been comments made under the names of the deceased. Data scientist Jeff Kao estimates that over a million comments supporting the repeal have been faked. The FCC spokesman has stated that they will not be investigating every comment and has pointed out that some comments against the repeal of net neutrality are equally suspicious. Among them are 7.5 million comments that can be connected to the same email generator. With so much confusion over whether comments on both sides are real or fake, it seems like the largest deciding factor will be the in-person protests at Verizon. We shall have to wait until December 7 to see an honest account of the public's opinion. #identity theft