It’s heartening to see that people’s interest in preserving free access to the internet seems to be having an effect. The New York Times published an article about Columbia University law professor Tim Wu last weekend. Wu is credited with creating the idea of net neutrality. He has argued that the internet should be regulated like a public utility. The article is worth reading.
So is today’s piece in the Technology section, which explains that FCC commissioners are voting today on whether to publish Chair Tom Wheeler’s proposal and solicit public comment. Among other things, the piece includes images of folks who have camped outside FCC offices in Washington.
For information about many actions happening today, a number of organizations have put together a website with plenty of resources.
This will not be the last time people will have to come together to remind government that freedom of speech and freedom of the press require an open internet. So it’s a good time to take time to amplify our voices.
Nine days ago, I mistakenly made the post below a page on this blog. The information is still important, and tomorrow is still the day that the Federal Communications Commission will vote on the so-called “fast-lane” options that FCC Chair Tom Wheeler proposed at the end of April.
A lot has been happening in the interim, and folks are rallying at FCC offices in Washington, DC, and elsewhere to keep the pressure on commissioners to keep the internet neutral. According to sources I have been reading, at least two of the commissioners appear to be leaning towards neutrality. This is a particularly important issue for the free flow of information, and I will certainly be paying attention tomorrow, as will many of my friends and colleagues.
The page I intended to be a post on May 5:
Ten Days Until FCC Decision #netneutrality
Thanks to Adeline Koh and Jesse Stommel, I spent some time on the final weekend in April tweeting about the Federal Communications Commission’s plan for bringing an end to neutral access to the Internet by instituting so-called fast lanes with the alleged aim of optimizing streaming services. Many academics of the digital persuasion responded by speaking out, and a good sampling of that response can be found in Stommel’s Storify, Net Neutrality Will Not Go Quietly.
The comment period remains open before the FCC’s decision on May 15. The email address for messages from individual citizens is firstname.lastname@example.org . They work for us; we need to show them what the people think about our internet.
Come back tomorrow. I’ll be posting my letter and the FCC’s response.
Here it is, my email to the FCC and their response (which comes first because email):
Thank you very much for contacting us about the ongoing Open Internet proceeding. We’re hoping to hear from as many people as possible about this critical issue, and so I’m very glad that we can include your thoughts and opinions.
I’m a strong supporter of the Open Internet, and I will fight to keep the internet open. Thanks again for sharing your views with me.
Federal Communications Commission
——- Original Message ——-
Subject: Net neutrality
Dear FCC members:
Last week’s news about proposed rules that would allow internet service providers to tier services could not have disappointed me more. These proposed rules constitute a crushing blow to the very medium in which I educate my students and publish my intellectual work.
Tiered services would on the one hand privilege content providers who would pay for fast lane distribution and on the other disadvantage small websites like the ones on which my students share their intellectual work. One of the primary goals of the kind of liberal arts education to which I have dedicated my life is to teach students what they need to know in order to be responsible citizens in our digital age. On the open internet, young Americans practice the freedom of speech and access that are essential to the practice of well-informed citizenship.
The internet was built with public resources. It is a public utility and should be regulated as such. It should emphatically not be treated as a commodity to portioned out and sold to the highest bidder.
The proposed rules will hobble our nation’s democracy in the service of commerce. Please act in the public interest, as is your responsibility, and keep the internet open.
Sent from my iPad