Monday, February 16, 2015

The future of the Internet is being decided in the next two weeks.

The future of the Internet is being decided in the next two weeks, and big corporations are determined to kill it.
The US Government is about to establish new rules on how the Internet is protected, with huge global ramifications. Big corporations are spending millions to wrest control of the Internet from the public. They want to decide which websites we can access at fast speeds, putting anyone they don’t like (or who won’t pay them millions) into new Internet slow lanes.
With so many websites based in the US, the future of the Internet itself is at stake. This decision will have a lasting impact on the fate of free speech and social movements across the globe.
SumOfUs members in the US are already organizing to defeat this corporate attack on the Internet and save “Net Neutrality”. But around the world, we need to stand up and be counted too.
When hundreds of thousands of people have risen up in the name of democracy in recent years, like during the Arab Spring, a free Internet has been crucial to their fight. But imagine that instead of people organizing using technology to confront corrupt government, and instead of people around the world clinging to the edge of their seats, we were silent, isolated, and indifferent.
This is what could happen if we lose Net Neutrality. Big US corporations could decide whether or not we could easily and quickly access the sites we needed to -- or whether we get stuck with the corporate media they control.
The Federal Communication Commission -- the US Government agency responsible for regulating the Internet -- and the US Congress are making their decision on Net Neutrality this month. Because many of the world’s largest telecom giants and websites operate out of the United States, these rules have the potential to directly affect access to the free and open Internet around the world.
The good news is, that with SumOfUs members in the US joining with millions of others, we’re winning this fight. But we need to keep up the pressure to get us over the line and save the Internet -- which is why it’s crucial to hear from people around the world.
The momentum for Net Neutrality is on our side, and we’ve never had a better chance at winning. After massive public pressure President Obama has come out in favor of “the strongest possible rules” under what’s called “Title II” Net Neutrality -- exactly what we are demanding.
These rules would protect the Internet we all know and love. They would stop big corporations from requiring websites to pay them huge sums of money in order to get access to fast Internet lanes. If sites didn’t pay, corporations could effectively shut them down by making their sites super slow -- like a YouTube video that just won’t load.
The fight for a free Internet is too important to lose. Groups like SumOfUs only exist because of the open Internet of today. Under these new rules, new innovations would find it much harder to take off, because their superior design would be hidden behind an intentionally broken and slow connection.
Valuable resources like Wikipedia could disappear from public view or start plastering themselves in ads to pony up the cash needed to pay big US corporations like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon for the privilege of allowing us to access them. Crucial international moments, like the uprising in Tahrir Square could be censored. History could be hidden from view.
We can’t let this happen.
Thanks for all you do,
Taren, Paul, Nicole, Nick and the rest of the team at SumOfUs.org

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