The following email hit my desk two days ago. It is reason for great concern, I believe.
Because of the overall length of this document, I pasted the latter portion of the letter as a comment to this entry (it's the PS, the PPS, and the Sources).
From: Eli Pariser, MoveOn.org Civic Action [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 20, 2006 5:15 PM
Subject: Congress is selling out the Internet
Google, Amazon, MoveOn. All these entities are fighting back as Congress tries to pass a law giving a few corporations the power to end the free and open Internet as we know it.
Tell Congress to preserve the free and open Internet today.
Dear MoveOn member,
Do you buy books online, use Google, or download to an Ipod? These activities, plus MoveOn's online organizing ability, will be hurt if Congress passes a radical law that gives giant corporations more control over the Internet.
Internet providers like AT&T and Verizon are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutrality, the Internet's First Amendment. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more.
Amazon.com doesn't have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to work more properly on your computer.
If Net Neutrality is gutted, MoveOn either pays protection money to dominant Internet providers or risks that online activism tools don't work for members. Amazon and Google either pay protection money or risk that their websites process slowly on your computer. That why these high-tech pioneers are joining the fight to protect Network Neutrality1—and you can do your part today.
The free and open Internet is under seige—can you sign this petition letting your member of Congress know you support preserving Network Neutrality? Click here:
Then, please forward this to 3 friends. Protecting the free and open Internet is fundamental—it affects everything. When you sign this petition, you'll be kept informed of the next steps we can take to keep the heat on Congress. Votes begin in a House committee next week.
MoveOn has already seen what happens when the Internet's gatekeepers get too much control. Just last week, AOL blocked any email mentioning a coalition that MoveOn is a part of, which opposes AOL's proposed "email tax."2 And last year, Canada's version of AT&T—Telus—blocked their Internet customers from visiting a website sympathetic to workers with whom Telus was negotiating.3
Politicians don't think we are paying attention to this issue. Many of them take campaign checks from big telecom companies and are on the verge of selling out to people like AT&T's CEO, who openly says, "The internet can't be free."4
Together, we can let Congress know we are paying attention. We can make sure they listen to our voices and the voices of people like Vint Cerf, a father of the Internet and Google's "Chief Internet Evangelist," who recently wrote this to Congress in support of preserving Network Neutrality:
My fear is that, as written, this bill would do great damage to the Internet as we know it. Enshrining a rule that broadly permits network operators to discriminate in favor of certain kinds of services and to potentially interfere with others would place broadband operators in control of online activity...Telephone companies cannot tell consumers who they can call; network operators should not dictate what people can do online.4
The essence of the Internet is at risk—can you sign this petition letting your member of Congress know you support preserving Network Neutrality? Click here:
Please forward to 3 others who care about this issue. Thanks for all you do.
–Eli Pariser, Adam Green, Noah T. Winer, and the MoveOn.org Civic Action team
Thursday, April 20th, 2006