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Fight for a Free Internet

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During the last few days a sneak-mission on Capitol
Hill passed "fake net neutrality"–a significantly compromised version of actual net neutrality.  Although the Obama administration is calling it a victory for net neutrality, the new rules allow corporations to regulate the Internet in such a way that by 2011, you might not even recognize it at all.  These new rules:

  1. Enshrine different rules for wired and wireless Internet —
    allowing big corporations to slow down or block websites and
    applications on your mobile phone.
  2. They allow Internet service providers to set up tollbooths
    online, stifling new innovators who can't pay the fees the big
    corporations can.
  3. For the first time, they embrace a tiered Internet — a
    public Internet with publishing access for regular people vs. a private
    one controlled by major corporations, where they will shift future
    dollars for investment and innovation. In the new net,
    participation will based on the ability to pay corporate gatekeepers
    and not threatening their business interests. It will spell the end of
    the Internet as we know it.

Al Franken dropped everything this holiday season to help spread awareness on this issue:

Franken:
“[new rules] Will make it easier for large media conglomerates like
Comcast to do nothing short of controlling the Internet. The chairmen
of the FCC is calling this a net neutrality proposal but lets be clear
this is not real net neutrality…The internet was not created by
corporations. It was created using tax payer dollars and it has
dramatically altered our daily lives in more ways than any of us could
ever have dreamed…This is the first time the FCC has ever allowed
discrimination on the Internet. Let me give you an example maybe you
like Google Maps – well tough. If the FCC passes this weak rule Verizon
will be able to cut off access to Google Maps to the Google Maps Apps
on your phone and force you to use their own mapping program Verizon
Navigator even if its not as good even if they charge money…”

Without an open Internet we have no future. We only have “their” future.

Franken:
“Net neutrality the First Amendment issue of our time… if we don’t
protect Net Neutrality now how do think it will take before Comcast NBC
Universal or Verizon CBS Viacom or ATT&T ABC DirecTV or BP
Halliburton Wal-Mart Fox Dominos Pizza starts favoring its content over
everyone else’s…If you want to protect the free flow of information in
this country you have to help me fight this.

A
tried and true course of action in fighting these sorts of sorties is
AN AVATAR-LINK AWARENESS CAMPAIGN, or simply a forced meme war. One
changes their avatar to something relative to the problem. Type the
words “internet censorship” into Google Images and then comb for a new
avatar.You can also help make the issue a trend on Twitter. Link up with Save the Internet for other ideas about spreading awareness.

Though
many of us romance over ending genocide, starvation, disease, ecocide,
and other of the world’s problems, without a free and open Internet our
ability to tackle these global issues as a community will return to the
Victorian Age.

 

Image by jurvetson on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing

 

 

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