May 22, 2013
Help Stop Destruction of the Free Internet Now
Posted on Dec 26, 2010
Presently, the Internet is an incredibly robust democratic forum. However, this level of democracy is inversely proportional to the amount of government-corporate control exercised over these information pipes. Americans have become accustomed to finding out things that they might not have known about had they not been permitted to freely surf the Net. When this freedom ends, a vital artery of democracy will be fatally severed.
But the time to react to this mounting exigency is not after the free architecture of the Internet is torn down. By then it would be too late. Instead, while it still exists, the free and open Internet can itself be used virally to create a mounting opposition to a pay-for-priority Internet.
So this is a plea to spread the news. The new FCC ruling is not good. The American people need to use the free Internet while it still exists to speak with one united voice. The message is that we the people of the free world will not sit idly by and allow the open and democratic Internet to be torn down. Collectively, we have power to stop this decline because these corporations can profit only if they have customers.
The will of the people must prevail and we must make our will known. There are several ways to do this. You can go to OpenInternet.gov, which is operated by the FCC, to express your dismay over the failure of the FCC’s new rules to unequivocally preempt a pay-for-priority Internet arrangement. You can write your elected representatives about it and advocate for passage of new legislation protecting net neutrality. You can organize peaceful demonstrations. And you can contact your Internet provider. In the U.S., you can contact Comcast here, AT&T here and Verizon here.
On New Year’s Day, between the hours of 2 and 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, we the people should go offline to express one unified voice against the creation of a pay-for-priority Internet system, the abolition of a flat fee for Internet access, and any attempt by Internet service providers to block, censor or otherwise interfere with Internet content.
In other words, we can and should show that people throughout the free world will not tolerate any attempt by any Internet service provider to tamper with the free, open and accessible nature and design of the Internet. As gatekeepers of the Internet, these companies need a demonstration of the power of the people. Collective action by the few is insufficient. In order to succeed, there needs to be an expression of worldwide, unified support for the continued existence of a free and democratic Internet.
Please post and pass this plea for collective action on to others.
We the people need to stand united and use this very forum to make it known that we will not be silenced. For democracy’s sake, spread the word.
Elliot D. Cohen is a media ethicist and political analyst. His latest book is ”Mass Surveillance and State Control: The Total Information Awareness Project”.
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