As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Save the Freakin' Internet

Last month bloggers were worried that Congress was fixing to take away the ability for bloggers to freely organize, opine, and contribute to candidates online. We banded together, fought back and obtained what amounts to a journalist's exemption. It was an important moment.

Multiply that by about 10,000 and that's what we need right now.

Save The Internet has the details. Basically Congress is in the midst of trying to pass a bill that would abandon "network neutrality": the idea that every site on the Internet has the right to the same access. Basically this would set up a toll road on the "information superhighway," wherein telecom companies like AT&T and Verizon, who own the pipe through which the Internet is largely sent, could charge websites a premium for delivering their services faster. This will create one neighborhood on the 'Net for established, big-money sites, and a ghetto for any startup site, which won't load as fast. As the Internet rapidly evolves to incorporating audio and video, this will kill those efforts at innovation for everyone but the largest companies. Innovation will die, the vibrancy of the Internet will die.

It's disgusting that Congress is trying to push this through, seeded with campaign dollars from telecom companies. If we do nothing this will absolutely pass. My representative, Henry Waxman, supports network neutrality and the "Markey Amendment" which would preserve it. Yours must do the same. If you're on this site, you believe in the power of the Internet. Time to get off your ass and do something about it.

Read about the Markey Amendment here and become a citizen cosponsor.

Call your representatives.

Keep going back to Save the Internet.

MoveOn has a site about this as well.

UPDATE: The House Eneregy and Commerce Committee just voted to kill the Internet. We have to keep the pressure on for the votes in the full House and Senate. Five Democrats joined every Republican but one on the committee. There's a slogan for '06: "Save your Internet; vote Democratic!" These five turncoats should pay a price in the fall.

Matt Stoller writes that the tide is moving in our favor:

It’s too bad we lost the vote, but we expected that loss. What we did not expected was the narrow margin. By way of comparison, the subcommittee vote was 23-8, which means we should have gotten blown out of the water. We did not. All four targeted Dems by McJoan on Daily Kos flipped to our side, and many of the Congressmen both for and against this campaign mentioned the blogs and angry constituents.There’s a white hot firestorm on the issue on Capitol Hill. No one wants to see the telcos make a radical change to the internet and screw this medium up, except, well, the telcos. And now members of Congress are listening to us.

I think the telecom companies wanted to do this under cover of darkness, like so many other bills in Washington. The problem is they messed with the Internet, the ultimate sunshine generator. Let's keep going on this.