Congress votes on the fate of the free and open Internet
Mon May 1, 2006 23:16

Congress votes on the fate of the free and open Internet
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Internet freedom is under attack
Date: Mon, 01 May 2006 21:06:23 -0400
From: R. J. Tavel, J.D.

Companies like AT&T want the power to decide which Web sites open properly on your computer—based on which sites pay them the most. This will distort the entire Internet.

Next week, Congress votes on the fate of the free and open Internet. Can you sign our petition to save the Internet?

Big Internet operators like AT&T and Verizon want the power to decide which Web sites open properly on our computers—giving them control over what we do and where we search online. So far, Congress has caved to their demands.

But because of intense public pressure, some members of Congress are starting to switch from AT&T's side to ours! In just a week, Congress saw over 250,000 of us sign a petition demanding the Internet stay free. Joining this call are tech pioneers like Google and Microsoft, diverse groups ranging from MoveOn to Gun Owners of America, and even some celebrities.

If enough of us stand up now, there's still time for the House of Representatives to do the right thing next week when it votes on whether to protect or destroy Network Neutrality—the Internet's First Amendment and the key to Internet freedom.

Can you join our petition asking Congress to protect the free and open Internet?

This petition will be delivered to your members of Congress, and everyone who signs will be kept informed of the next steps we can take to keep the pressure on Congress this week.

Companies like AT&T are spending millions lobbying Congress to gut Net Neutrality. A House committee voted to go along with AT&T's scheme last week, but we are fighting back hard before next week's full House vote. We want to raise public awareness of this issue and hand Congress 350,000 signatures.

To reach this goal, we're launching a contest: Ask your friends to sign the petition and you can win one of 10 iPod Nanos or one of 40 gift certificates. Start by signing the petition yourself, and you'll receive instructions to enter the contest., which monitors various causes that circulate on the Internet, recently explained this issue:

> Simply put, network neutrality means that no web site's traffic has precedence over any other's...Whether a user searches for recipes using Google, reads an article on, or looks at a friend's MySpace profile, all of that data is treated equally and delivered from the originating web site to the user's web browser with the same priority. In recent months, however, some of the telephone and cable companies that control the telecommunications networks over which Internet data flows have floated the idea of creating the electronic equivalent of a paid carpool lane.

If companies like AT&T have their way, Web sites ranging from Google to eBay to MoveOn either pay the equivalent of protection money to get into the "fast lane" or risk opening slowly on your computer. We can't allow the Internet—this incredible medium which has been such a revolutionary force for democratic participation, economic innovation, and free speech—to become captive to large corporations.

Join our petition asking Congress to protect Internet freedom by clicking here:

Thank you for all you do.

–Eli Pariser, Noah T. Winer, and Adam Green
Monday, May 1st, 2006

P.S. If Congress abandons Network Neutrality, who will be affected?
• Advocacy groups — Political organizing could be slowed by a handful of dominant Internet providers who ask advocacy groups to pay "protection money" for their websites and online features to work correctly.
• Nonprofits — A charity's website could open at snail-speed, and online contributions could grind to a halt, if nonprofits can't pay dominant Internet providers for access to "the fast lane" of Internet service.
• Google users — Another search engine could pay dominant Internet providers like AT&T to guarantee the competing search engine opens faster than Google on your computer.
Innovators with the "next big idea"—Startups and entrepreneurs will be muscled out of the marketplace by big corporations that pay Internet providers for dominant placing on the Web. The little guy will be left in the "slow lane" with inferior Internet service, unable to compete.
• iPod listeners — A company like Comcast could slow access to iTunes, steering you to a higher-priced music service that it owned.
• Online purchasers — Companies could pay Internet providers to guarantee their online sales process faster than competitors—if was much slower than that would distort your choice as a consumer.
• Small businesses and tele-commuters — When Internet companies like AT&T favor their own services, you won't be able to choose more affordable providers for online video, teleconferencing, Internet phone calls, and software that connects your home computer to your office.
• Parents and retirees — Your choices as a consumer could be controlled by your Internet provider, steering you to their preferred services for online banking, health care information, sending photos, planning vacations, etc.
• Bloggers — Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips—silencing citizen journalists and putting more power in the hands of a few corporate-owned media outlets.

Want to get more involved? Here's how to get started:

1. CALL Congress now (most important):

3. BLOG about this issue, or put the "Save the Internet" logo on your Web site:

5. MYSPACE: Add "Save the Internet" as a friend:

7. WRITE A LETTER to Congress:

9. VISIT our coalition Web site for more information:


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