Feminist Majority Foundation Supports Net Neutrality

The Feminist Majority Foundation joined dozens of other groups by sending a letter to the FCC in support of Net Neutrality. The group's letter follows:

Dear FCC Commissioners,

The Feminist Majority Foundation urges you to stand with us in support of Network Neutrality, the principle that protects choice of content and equal opportunity on the Internet. It’s because of Network Neutrality that the Internet has been such a powerful engine for free speech and civic participation since its inception.

Right now, Washington is in the midst of a critical debate over whether the Internet will continue to serve as a fundamental tool of engagement. In this debate, the Federal Communications Commission can be a strong voice on behalf of an open and neutral Internet, where everyone can play a part in our democracy.

Opponents have suggested that a Network Neutrality rule would give the government the power to “become the Web’s traffic cop, shutting down free speech on the Internet.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Without rules to prevent discrimination online, Internet service providers would be free to choose whose voices are more important and whose views will be heard. Network Neutrality promotes the widest possible dissemination of speech.

The fight for Network Neutrality itself offers a textbook example of online civic participation. Since it began more than three years ago, nearly two million Americans have signed petitions, reached out to their networks, and asked their members of Congress to get behind Network Neutrality. Most of this organizing has taken place online by a coalition of more than 850 groups (including the Feminist Majority Foundation), and through MySpace and Facebook accounts, e-mail outreaches, Twitter feeds and independent blogs. People have been using the Internet to mobilize and build support for the Internet.

This new wave of political empowerment is the gathering force of a more engaged democracy, and it all relies upon our ability to freely access information when we go online. Whether you’re campaigning for a local candidate, participating in open-government forums, or organizing people in response to new legislation, Network Neutrality preserves the network's greatest strength: giving everyone the chance to get informed, speak out and be heard.

It’s a mistake to assume that the Internet is already a space where free speech is protected and ensured. Under current law, or the lack thereof, Internet service providers can block Web sites, content, services or applications they don’t like. And they have, most notably when Comcast secretly interfered with users' ability to access popular video, photo and music-sharing applications; when AT&T censored a political speech by the band Pearl Jam’s lead singer; and when Verizon blocked text messages between a pro-choice organization and its members.

And we are seeing more troubling behavior in the marketplace. Internet service providers have stated their intention to deploy discriminatory “deep packet inspection” technology that would allow them to monitor and control the Internet. This dangerous technology would give network providers unprecedented power over Internet users, and it presents a serious threat to online privacy.

The FCC must take action now to affirmatively safeguard the free flow of information on the Web before it’s too late.

Sincerely,

Katherine Spillar
Executive Vice President

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good