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Will the birthplace of democracy kill freedom on the Internet?
Submitted by jonathan on Mon, 2009-10-19 09:49
by Hannah Miller, Media and Democracy Coalition
This is almost impossible to believe - but it's actually true.
About a month ago, the Obama administration announced its intent to write policy that would protect, by law, the freedom that has allowed the Internet to grow and flourish.
It's no joke that such protection is needed. Repression of the Internet by the corporations that control it has already started.
Last month, Apple told a healthcare reform group that they wouldn't carry a healthcare reform app on their AT&T network for 30 million iPhones because it was "politically charged"...
...two years ago, it was Verizon refusing to transmit text messages from NARAL Pro-choice America.
...and in 2006, in the most famous case of all, the Comcast Corporation blocked Internet users from sending the Bible.
As with most other good things that the Obama administration is trying to do, this has been lost in a flood of lobbyists, all arguing that having unchecked corporate power over the most vital part of our economy, political life, social networks, communication tools, reference libraries, and grassroots organizing would be really great for America. (I have cross posted a great piece by Jason Rosenbaum below explaining this in more detail).
Last Friday, 72 Democratic house members signed on to a letter agreeing with the lobbyists.
Among them were members from my home state of Pennsylvania, where American democracy was invented, and the Bill of Rights was written - ensuring freedom of speech, freedom to assemble - all of the democratic powers that the Internet magnifies for millions more.
RTM note: the Democrats coming out against the future of the Internet include Rick Larsen (WA-2).
The rules being written now will shape the future direction of the Internet over the next 20 years. It could remain a village: fun, chaotic, free, humble, an experimental and educational space ... or turn into something that looks much more like a suburban strip mall: soulless, commercial, and cold.
I believe that Congress wants to protect the Internet. But they have a lot of pressure on them.
And they need to hear from you.article originally published at Media and Democracy Coalition.