Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Great Victory For Net Neutrality

Internet freedom activists are cheering the announcement by Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler that he's on board with their demand to reclassify the internet in a way that makes it easier for the FCC to keep it free and open to all.

As Wheeler, a former cable company lobbyist appointed by President Obama, wrote in a Wired Op-ed piece today:

This week, I will circulate to the members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed new rules to preserve the internet as an open platform for innovation and free expression. This proposal is rooted in long-standing regulatory principles, marketplace experience, and public input received over the last several months.

"Public input" refers to more than four million comments the FCC received about the last set of new rules Wheeler proposed that opened the door to privatization of the internet. Republicans will still try to sell off the internet to cable companies and other telecommunications companies with legislation, but for now this is great news.

The internet, of course, has revolutionized communications. Anyone can be a publisher. Factual errors and outright lies in traditional media outlets are immediately jumped on by thousands of people on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and are quickly corrected. Th potential of the internet as a platform for organizing people has hardly been broached but has already proved invaluable.

It's important to keep the pressure on the FCC and our elected officials to make sure the new rules go through and aren't diluted by telecommunications industry lobbying that continues nonstop, and there are several easy ways to pressure your congress member. Big business has been trying to privatize the internet for years and concerned activists have managed to beat them back every time, so far. This is an ongoing battle, ongoing until greed is no longer a human characteristic and until Capitalism is replaced by something better, but for now this is a great victory for we the people.

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