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The Internet As You Know it is in Danger

In Laws & Regulation, US Politics on June 22, 2006 at 10:14 pm

My blog partner keeley wrote an article earlier today about how the internet is having a major effect on the way people vote in elections, vote in polls, and how campaigns are run. This is huge, and it doesn't even count all the other ways the internet and communication have allowed people to express themselves and spread the word about issues that are important to them, polical or not.
But if certain companies have their way, all of that is about to change.

The issue is called Net Neutrality. Up until now, the internet has operated under the concept of Net Neutrality, meaning that people can write and read about whatever they want, i.e. blogs and message boards, etc. It also allows for people to create a presence on the internet cheaply or freely and be on an even playing field with big companies and politicians. But big companies are spending big money on lobby campaigns to have more control on the way people use the internet, while some politicians are giving in as well as realizing that the internet can be a threat to them.
Hip Hop journalist and activist Davey D has been writing a lot on this issue, and has become a big advocate for working to maintain net neutrality. Here is some of what he had to say in an open letter he wrote to the hip hop comunity about why people should care:

"Here's what's happening folks. The house has gone and passed the COPE bill and rejected proposals to insure Net Neutrality. Those who sided with the Comcast and Verizon are well aware that the ability of ordinary people to communicate to the masses is a problem because its been the only thing holding them accountable. For the last 5 years, the biggest stories about government corruption, corporate swindles, global warming and no weapons of Mass Destruction has come through Internet bloggers who were able to push an issue to the masses and force Fox, CNN and other News outlets to pay some sort of attention."

"Anyone who is an activist and championed causes ranging from Election fraud and Diebold Machines, police brutality Freeing Mumia, Global warming, Media Reform and Saving the South Central Farm in LA just to name a few this is will especially hit you hard, because the Internet and its neutrality provisions have enabled many of us to counter biased mainstream media outlets get information out about particular causes all over the world."

"Yesterday that ability took one step closer to coming to an end. The mantra being sung on Capitol Hill is Shut it down, Shut that shyt down and redirect traffic to a handful of places and media outlets that they can influence and control."

This is big. But as expected, it's not getting as much attention as it deserves. Below are a few resources to find out more, get you started, and get involved. Anyone who is interested in blogs, message boards, political news sites, open publishing, or any other tool that can be used as internet activism should look into this.

  • savetheinternet.com – major coalition working on the issue. They have frequent updates and a large number of resources. Check out their FAQs page about the issue.
  • Davey D's website. Check here for more articles and updates from the Davey D standpoint.
  • Hillary Clinton's letter to Allhiphop.com. Good quick read. I don't always like Hillary, but she got it right here.
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  1. ouch, ouch, and ouch. I better say ouch a bunch more times before I can’t say ouch on here anymore.

    hellO? is anybody out there?

    wow, all this freedom is exhilirating.

    to think they might put in a net-McDonald’s on my net-corner and shut down mom and pop (and little sis too!)

    alla i wanna do is hoot and holla!

    better get your yodlin’ out while you still can!

  2. The Christian Coalition says to pray for net neutrality
    The group requested via email that supporters pray at 1pm on Friday, in support of Net Neutrality. From their email:
    From the email:

    If this bill does not pass, consumers will have to pay an additional fee to have a website. The cable and telephone companies will be dividing the Internet into a "fast track" and a "slow track". Our grassroots, who cannot afford the additional fees, will have to be on the slow track, which will mean that many of our websites will be passed by because the general public will not have the patience to go on the "slow track".

    MoveOn.org and Christian Coalition both back Net Neutrality.  Powerful forces are surely at work, in order for these two factions to align.

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