Soundtrack: Phish, “Bouncing Around the Room”
Folks, Internet freedom is hanging by a thread right now. It’s getting scarier out there. Watch the Zuiikin Gals below weigh in on Net Neutrality. (Okay maybe not really, but as you watch the video, imagine them giving Net Neutrality opponents a piece of their mind.) And then think to yourself. Would you be able to see things like this if AT&T or Comcast influenced what you would see on the Internet?
Last week, the Senate Commerce Committee failed on an 11-11 tie to add any effective Net Neutrality provisions to the telecommunications bill under consideration in the Senate. One Republican joined ten Democrats in voting in favor of Net Neutrality, the remaining Republicans voted against it. Now Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is threatening a filibuster of the telecom bill unless effective Net Neutrality provisions are added to it. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) who is trying to push the telecom bill through, says he doesn’t have the votes to override the filibuster.
I wish that our Constitution could protect us against the likes of AT&T, Bellsouth, Comcast and Verizon, who are organizing arguably the biggest private taking of a public resource—the Internet. They didn’t build the Internet—our government did with taxpayer support, and none of the above companies were contracted for it. In fact, according to Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) AT&T turned down the opportunity when the government approached them about it. These companies did not invent the web browser or email, but they still want to act as the Internet’s gatekeepers.
Add to it the fact that AT&T, Comcast and Verizon appear to have been complicit partners in the U.S. government’s effort to build a database of phone calls made by private citizens, and we really have a lot to worry about on this Fourth of July. Call your Senator and let him or her know where you stand on Net Neutrality.