|Support NOW's Work | ||September 25, 2009 ||| Tell a Friend |
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Support Net Neutrality NOW!
Add Your Voice to NOW's Call for Open Internet
The Internet offers a platform for dialogue amongst feminists who might not otherwise have a chance to strategize together. It empowers women by providing them with information about their status, threats to their rights and opportunities for advancement. It presents a tool for democratic participation by allowing women's rights advocates to easily petition their elected officials and keep tabs on their records.
Without a doubt, the women's rights movement benefits immensely from the unprecedented power of an open and accessible Internet. But, can we rely on the big companies that bring us the Internet to preserve its open nature? The simple truth is: No, we can't.
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How exactly would they do that? By charging fees that would allow some websites and content to download via an exclusive fast lane, while those that can't afford these fees are relegated to the slow lane. Some websites and applications would be blocked altogether, as the phone and cable companies decide which content and tools they want to offer us.
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In fact, this is already happening. AT&T censored streaming video from a Pearl Jam concert. Comcast has blocked Internet software, and Verizon prevented a reproductive rights group from sending text messages to people who had requested them. Clearly, public policy is needed to ensure that the big companies can not discriminate on the web by censoring and blocking information we need to advance the issues we care about.
The beauty of the Internet, and its great innovation over conventional, mainstream media, is that it is open to everyone. An unlimited amount of information is available at everyone's fingertips when they access the web. Similarly, we can add our own content and voices to the web in a way that is not possible with radio, television and other traditional media.
But hundreds of lobbyists on Capitol Hill, employed by the telecommunications giants, are trying to change all that. Organizations like NOW could find their online efforts seriously impaired by this move to partition off (dare we say segregate?) the Internet.
Net Neutrality must become law to ensure that the Internet remains open to innovation, democratic participation, and a free exchange of ideas. The Internet Freedom Preservation Act is designed to ensure that this dynamic medium remains free from discrimination.
Don't let big business turn the Internet into another version of cable TV. This is OUR Internet, and we can save it.
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