27 February 2015

Unsure about net neutrality?

Apparently there are still a few people unclear on whether net neutrality is a good thing for innovation and freedom of speech. Let me clear that up by looking at who’s on each side, excluding political mouthpieces.

Netflix, Google, Microsoft, Kickstarter, Reddit, Vonage, Amazon, Yahoo, eBay, Dish Network, Etsy, Facebook, Tumblr, Dropbox, Automattic (of WordPress fame), BitTorrent, Mozilla, and Level 3 (probably the biggest Internet backbone interconnect company) were all in favor of net neutrality. If you can think of an innovative Internet company, do a search and you’ll probably find they wanted net neutrality.

As well as being supported by practically every actual innovator and by the people who supply all the backbone bandwidth, net neutrality was also supported by the people who literally invented and built the Internet, like Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee, and by tech experts like Bruce Schneier.

Also in favor of net neutrality: Just about every group that campaigns for freedom of speech and consumer rights. Amnesty International, Consumers’ Union, Writers’ Guild of America, the EFF, the Free Software Foundation, and the ACLU.

Gun rights groups were initially in favor of net neutrality, but dropped support for purely political reasons — liberals were in favor of it, so they decided they had to be against it.

On the other side, Comcast, AT&T and Verizon were all against it, along with the tech companies like Cisco who sell equipment used to filter and censor your Internet connection. When Ted Cruz called it Obamacare for the Internet he was surprised when even his supporters turned on him — polls suggest that it’s not a partisan issue at the individual level, and Republicans favor neutrality as much as Democrats.

Of course, massive right-wing communications corporations like News International (Fox) are against net neutrality, but so far they haven’t managed to sway their audience, even though they’ve tried hard. The anti-neutrality forces also spent about 3× as much money as the pro-neutrality side trying to bribe politicians to kill it.

I think that should answer the question of which side to take, yes?

Internet cats unite for Net Neutrality
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