Saturday, May 20, 2006

Keeping the Internet Equal

What is a more equalizing entity than the Internet?

Everyone has access to it, whether via home computers, laptops, mobile phones, library computers, cybercaf├ęs, schools--no matter who you are or how much money you have, there is a way you can use the Internet.

The Net is blind. It has no idea who you are when you access it. Pages load just as fast for you as for everyone else (everyone who is using the same technology, of course). No one sees your color or your gender or your spiked hair and lip ring. We can all, in the U.S., read the same information.

The blind part will always be true. The equality part may not. Major telecommunications companies are threatening the Internet as we know it. I recently signed a petition and contacted my senators. Here's a response from Rick Santorum, which describes the bill and its purpose very well:

As you may know, on March 2, 2006, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon introduced S. 2360, the Internet Nondiscrimination Act of 2006. This bill would prohibit the interfering with, blocking, degrading, altering, modifying or changing traffic on the Internet. S. 2360 would also prohibit the creation of a priority lane (tiered Internet system) where content providers can buy quicker access to customers, leaving those who do not pay the fee in the slow lane. The Internet Nondiscrimination Act of 2006 aims to ensure that network operators can continue to protect subscribers against unwanted spam, spyware, viruses, pornography and other programs. S. 2360 also provides provisions to help network operators respond to emergencies and court-ordered law enforcement needs.

S. 2360 has been referred to the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation. As I am not a member of this committee, I will not have the opportunity to vote on this bill in its current form. However, should this bill come before the full Senate for a vote, I will be sure to keep your views in mind.

That last line makes me mad, because it could be interpreted to mean "bills change by the time they get to the floor so I can't comment yet" but it could also be interpreted to mean "I'm against it."

Wanna learn more? Wanna get involved, so it doesn't take forever for this page to load because your neighbor is surfing Target and they paid?

Check out the Save the Internet Coalition, where you can see Moby and REM come out in support of the bill, and find easy ways to support it yourself.

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