BitTorrent Claims Responsibility “Fastlane” Post-Net Neutrality Parody Billboard

June 10, 2014 | Sophie Weiner

When the mysterious billboard with the text “The future of the internet belongs to the highest bidder” appeared in San Francisco, it seemed satirical, but not unbelievable. The accompanying website Jointhefastlane.com advertised premium access to the internet — like the “35x faster” downloading speed on websites like “Videotube” and “Movieflix” — for a hefty fee. Today, BitTorrent contacted ANIMAL to claim responsibility for the parodic campaign, just like the billboards the “pro-NSA regulation” billboards last year.

ANIMAL spoke to BitTorrent’s CMO Jascha Kaykas-Wolff and their Director of Communications Christian Averill about the campaign, focused on bringing awareness to what would happen if FCC and corporate interest wins over net neutrality. Averill told ANIMAL that “everyone who uses the internet needs to understand” that the proposed changes to net neutrality would result in preferential loading speeds for certain websites as well as blocking of content. “We wanted to hold a mirror against what the future would look like,” he told ANIMAL about their realistic, unsettling parody site. “The future of the internet belongs to everyone,” the billboard now says.

The fake company Fastlane is intended as a call to action — to contact congress and the FCC. The internet isn’t completely free right now, with governmental and corporate control already in place at many levels, but BitTorrent is “a proponent of many of the aspects of the status quo now.” In other words, we can’t afford for it to get any worse.

BitTorrent’s representatives told us that they “take a technical approach” to issues threatening internet freedom — intentionally decentralized services, without “central servers, central controls and gateways” that could be easily compromised by government censorship and corporate control.

The Fastlane campaign has so far garnered some attention on social media. BitTorrent will be bringing these billboards to New York as part of their national campaign. (Image Courtesy BitTorrent)