Harris Miller: Net Neutrality Becoming an Electoral Issue

Virginia Senate candidate Harris Miller signed onto net neutrality, as did Congressional candidate David Harris in Texas.  

There are votes here, and politicians are beginning to notice.

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A Free Internet Turning Into an Electoral Issue?

David Harris is challenging Joe Barton in Texas in a longshot bid for the seat.  Barton is the legislative force behind gutting net neutrality, whipping his fellow committee members in a humiliating and degrading manner (watch the video clip).  Harris is making the COPE Act and a free internet part of his campaign platform.  

There are votes here.  Americans like their internet, and they don't appreciate pampered CEO's like AT&Ts Ed Whitacre and sleazy lobbyists like Mike McCurry trying to take it.

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New York Times: Keep the Internet Free

The Times weighs in:

"Net neutrality" is a concept that is still unfamiliar to most Americans, but it keeps the Internet democratic. Cable and telephone companies that provide Internet service are talking about creating a two-tiered Internet, in which Web sites that pay them large fees would get priority over everything else. Opponents of these plans are supporting Net-neutrality legislation, which would require all Web sites to be treated equally. Net neutrality recently suffered a setback in the House, but there is growing hope that the Senate will take up the cause.

One of the Internet's great strengths is that a single blogger or a small political group can inexpensively create a Web page that is just as accessible to the world as Microsoft's home page. But this democratic Internet would be in danger if the companies that deliver Internet service changed the rules so that Web sites that pay them money would be easily accessible, while little-guy sites would be harder to access, and slower to navigate. Providers could also block access to sites they do not like.

That would be a financial windfall for Internet service providers, but a disaster for users, who could find their Web browsing influenced by whichever sites paid their service provider the most money. There is a growing movement of Internet users who are pushing for legislation to make this kind of discrimination impossible. It has attracted supporters ranging from MoveOn.org to the Gun Owners of America. Grass-roots political groups like these are rightly concerned that their online speech could be curtailed if Internet service providers were allowed to pick and choose among Web sites.

Here are ways you can help.

1. SIGN a Net Neutrality petition to Congress:

2. CALL Congress now:

3. WRITE A LETTER to Congress:

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

5. BLOG RESOURCES about this issue, including "Save the Internet" logo:

6. VISIT our coalition Web site for more information, SavetheInternet.com:

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Mike McCurry's Reiterates His Lies

Last week the Save the Internet coalition launched to stop the telcos from stopping internet freedom. This was the first attempt to raise popular awareness of what's going on; it is a warning shot, and the battle is now moving to the Senate. The politics here, of a lobbying effort versus the collective outrage of those who use the internet, is fascinating.

The coalition is moving forward, collecting more blogs and more friends on this cause. By contrast, the telcos have been quite taken aback by how much popular outrage there is at their land grab. Over 1500 blogs have rallied to the cause of internet freedom. They are losing, and they know it. I've had several disgusted insiders contact me about the low morale and dismay the lobbyists are feeling. They really don't know what to do, so they are going to the bag grab of tried and true dinosaur tactics.

First they threatened revenge on the tech companies opposing them, which failed miserably. Now they are having puppets like Mike McCurry trot out the same old nonsense. Here's McCurry responding to criticism:

During the Clinton Administration, there were repeated attempts to bring Internet regulation under the federal government's umbrella. To the President's credit, we consistently resisted the temptation - see Ira Magaziner's 1997 report, "A Framework for Global Electronic Commerce."

Well let's go the the report. 

[Gore] articulated several principles that the U.S. believes should be the foundation for government policy, including guaranteeing open access to networks on a non-discriminatory basis, so that GII users have access to the broadest range of information and services.

Net neutrality has been a foundational principle of internet governance since it was founded. The report McCurry cites as proving his point only serves to discredit it. Mike McCurry is simply lying.  There's no other way to put it. Only the weak lie. And that's what Mike McCurry, and his clients, are.

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Internet Freedom Opponents Propose Regulation of Search Engines?

This is amazing. Charlie Gonzales proposed and 10 other Congressmen voted for an amendment to investigate search engines.

Update: The bill passed 42-12, but not before AT&T got off its final counterattack, just before passage around 7 p.m. In the empty room, right before final passage, Gonzales, from the home town of AT&T, San Antonio, offered an amendment to require the FCC to make a study "competition in the Internet world," particularly what he called "special arrangements" between Web sites and other companies. It would be similar, he said, to the type of tie-in arrangements that proponents of Net Neutrality said will exist with telephone companies favoring content. Such arrangements between Web sites and others, Gonzales says, would make it hard for a "garage-bases startup" to make a go of it. Citing an article from Southwest Airlines' magazine, he noted that Google gets revenue from ads tied to searches and that Yahoo is "fighting for deals."

Democrats were flabbergasted. Eshoo, who represents Silicon Valley, said she was "baffled by the amendment, because Gonzales, who earlier said he was opposed to regulating the Internet. This, she said, "is about regulating search engines." Markey said he was preparing an amendment to expand the study to include the top five telephone companies and top five cable operators, but didn't get to offer it. The Gonzales amendment was defeated 11-43, but Google, and Yahoo! and the others should be on notice. This isn't over. They are squarely in the gunsights.

This is hardball.  Well guess what?  We've got a possible primary challenger to one of the Verizon/AT&T five.  I'll have more soon.

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