Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Strange Bedfellows

A truly bizarre coalition has sprung up to support Save the Internet, a group dedicated to maintaining "Network Neutrality". As has been reported in Newsweek and elsewhere, telephone and cable companies including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner would like to establish a tiered system for the Internet in which priority information delivery would be afforded to websites that pay for the privilege. Sites that don't pony up would be relegated to an Internet "slow lane" and vital sources of information and illumination (such as this here blog) would load like molasses (more so)—assuming it would load at all.

According to SavetheInternet.com, the phone and cable companies are all about the profit.
They want to tax content providers to guarantee speedy delivery of their data. They want to discriminate in favor of their own search engines, Internet phone services, and streaming video—while slowing down or blocking their competitors.
The principle of Net Neutrality holds that the Internet is for moving information, and no company or companies should have the right to grant special privileges to certain providers of information. Save the Internet says that Net Neutrality is "the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet."

And their support is broad-based. In addition to search engine giants like Google and Yahoo!, supporters of Save the Internet include this motley crew:
  • Gun Owners of America
  • Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.com
  • Super-blogger Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame
  • Anti-war rabble-rousers MoveOn.org
  • Right-wing media watchdog Parents Television Council
  • Citizen advocacy group Common Cause
Very strange bedfellows, indeed. Like they say, I may not want to see sausage being made, but that sure won't stop me from frying up a few succulent links of Internet freedom. With hashbrowns.

Check out SavetheInternet.com for more info on what's at stake and what we can do to preserve freedom on the Internet. They even have a handy one-stop contact-your-senator page taken right out of the PTC playbook.
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