Keep the internet available for free speech — for all of us | As It Turns Out

Want a slower, more expensive internet?

That’s exactly what we’re going to get. Few people appear to know and/or care about one of our most important issues today.

We don’t hear much about this from the mainstream media. It’s up to the smaller community papers to spread information about net neutrality.

Net neutrality means internet equality. Like the telephone company, everyone is and should be treated equally on the internet. Now, it’s being taken away from you and your family — right now.

This is an attack on our freedom of speech! It’s time to open our eyes wide — look, read, listen, talk with family and friends. Arm yourself with information.

Why are we ignoring the fact that our government is systematically being destroyed by clowns clumsily masquerading as politicians? Our members of Congress are slapping each other on the back while grinning like monkeys after trying to take health insurance away from billions of Americans, many of them elderly or handicapped — or allowing CHIPS, existing health insurance for millions of needy children, to expire.

We’re being forced to defend ourselves from our government. Our government and our country is in the midst of an enormous change and it no longer has our backs. Our own government is gleefully taking our rights away and taking rules and regulations away that were meant to protect us as individuals. Have you asked why?

We have turned our lives over to what used to be a more trusted government. It’s now become a government we can no longer trust, one that is no longer working for us, but against us. We’re forced to take action ourselves to get what we want — and fight against what we don’t want. We are learning how to use our political voices.

For those who aren’t familiar with what “net neutrality” means, it’s the regulations that keep internet service providers (ISPs) and the regulators overseeing them, from treating internet users unequally. As long as we’ve had the internet, we’ve been protected by rules and regulations so that we can all have equal access to websites and applications.

“Net neutrality is essential to education, economic opportunity, social movements and dissent,” Free Press reported.

Net neutrality is considered the First Amendment of the Internet because no one should be cut off the internet just to allow corporations like AT&T, Comcast, Charter and Verizon to make billions of dollars more. The FCC wants to allow these big corporations to make fortunes off OUR internet. And without the regulations of net neutrality they are able to “throttle or block content and charge content creators for speedier access,” Amy Kroin wrote for Common Cause.

Whatever site decides to pay ISP premiums has a direct advantage over other content providers (especially small businesses) that don’t pay that premium. “Some activists worry that ISPs could also block legal content that an ISP finds objectionable for whatever reason,” Bill Moyers wrote.

Net neutrality has long been popular with all Americans on both sides of the aisle, until just recently when it has become partisan.

“For most Americans, they have no choice for all the information, data, entertainment coming through their house, other than their local cable monopoly,” Susan Crawford, a telecommunications policy analyst, told Moyers. “And here, we have a situation where that monopoly potentially can pick and choose winners and losers, decide what you see, how interesting and interactive it is, how quickly it reaches you — and then charge whatever it wants.”

Former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said, “I remain convinced that the last presidential election we had was of, by, and for, big media. It made billions of dollars for these big media companies. We’re entering into a period where there likely will be more mergers than we’ve ever had before. The political and marketplace atmosphere that we have in this country right now favors them.”

This is the FCC’s second attack on existing internet protections. In case it slipped past you, Congress voted in March to allow ISPs to sell your browsing habits to advertisers. Did you agree to have your consumer habit privacy taken away?

“The Internet has given more people a voice than ever before, and we’re not going to let the FCC take that power away from us,” said Evan Greer, Fight for the Future’s executive director. “Massive online mobilization got us the strong net neutrality protections that we have now, and we intend to fight tooth and nail to defend them [again].”

How can free speech be important if you aren’t able to have the internet to make it heard? We must have the protection of Title II and net neutrality. Help however you can to keep the internet available for free speech — for all of us. Remember grassroots protesting to spread the word. We don’t have much more time on this and many other critical issues.

Call your senators anytime you don’t like what the government is doing. Remember to leave a message as to why you called and ask for a response from the senator (so the call will count as being made): “I don’t want to lose net neutrality.” Or, “I don’t want to lose my health care.” Or “I don’t want to lose my Social Security,” whatever your crucial issue.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, 202-224-3441; Sen. Patty Murray, 202-224-2621; U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, 202-225-5916. Remember, we are indeed fighting for our lives.

Marylin Olds is an opinion columnist who resides in Kitsap. Contact her with questions or comments at Google is already working against progressive websites.