Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 228- Net Neutrality, or how I wax poetic about the Internet

For those who don't read my facebook and want a good laugh check out these comments from yesterday and Day 205. I'm gettin' schooled by a "real American"

OFA seems really concerned that I might not vote. For the record, even if I think this pledge is absurd, I encourage all of my readers to vote in every election, and I will be voting in 2010. If only OFA could provide some decently progressive candidates for me to vote for....

Dear Mr. President,

The amount of information we put out about ourselves on the internet makes it possible to feel like the people online might actually understand who we are. I often make the mistake of forgetting how easily I can be misunderstood, or how easily I can be found by those I would rather not find me. What we post on the internet feels anonymous, even as we risk exposure we cannot control. Angry, thoughtless words, outrageous opinions, even revealing photos all sent out for public consumption, haunting us when we least expect it. I believe these risks are the price I pay for whatever small role I play in the great abyss of the online community. For my connection to that unimaginably immense world. As your campaign continues to demonstrate, the internet can also be a powerful tool to organize, to bring people together. It's ability to empower individuals even when they are isolated physically to connect with others, to teach and learn from one another, has forever altered the way we approach the world.

Whatever the internet is or represents, its neutrality should not be threatened. The internet should not be governed by corporations, access should not be dictated by money or influence. Defending net neutrality was an important promise of your campaign and one you cannot afford to break. Congressman Jay Inslee has come out strongly in defense of net neutrality while discussing the recent Google/Verizon deal:
Google and Verizon are businesses trying to make a buck -- I guess that's their job. But it's now time members of Congress stand with me and tell the FCC to do its job.
Mr. Inslee is right- private companies have to tend to their profits, not to the interests of the people. The internet is too personal to be manipulated this way. This is a topic that has been explored far more eloquently by several (better-informed) writers than myself, and I hope that you are paying attention to them, and to laymen like me who just want to add our voices to the demand that our access continue without manipulation. As I'm sure you know, this isn't just the right thing to do; a grassroots group like Organizing for America couldn't capitalize on the power of individuals connecting and organizing online if corporations are allowed to bid for the best access to that power. Net neutrality is essential to a modern and free America- and I'm sure you know that re-election in 2012 will not be possible for you without it.

The internet is complex and challenging and maybe the most important technology of our time. Whatever it is, and whatever it will be, its power and beauty is a direct reflection of humanity's diverse and complicated nature, the unique strength, talent and genius that every person has to contribute. Keeping access to innovation and information free and equal is essential to keeping all of us free and equal. I have almost lost hope that we can wrest even this small part of our lives away from complete corporate exploitation; that money and power can't control the truth. If we trade away this freedom piece by piece to the highest bidder we will never get it back. We elected you to make sure this doesn't happen, and I hope that you don't let us down.

Respectfully yours,


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