Net Neutrality: Gunowners, Moveon, Instapundit, and Vint Cerf Unite for

I've written a bunch about the importance of network neutrality. The pro-net neutrality coalition is launching on Monday with such participants as Instapundit, Gun Owner's of America, Moveon, and Vint Cerf (known as the 'father of the internet').

Libertarian Alex Curtis at Public Knowledge prepared the following two minute video clip, and it does a much better job than I could in explaining the stakes of this fight.

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Mike McCurry and Astroturfing Net Neutrality

Over the next few weeks, you're going to hear a lot more about net neutrality, which as I've described is basically the first amendment for the internet.  Now, I'm starting something called the 'primary project' to put more competition in the political system.  The primary project is mostly a list of Democrats who are out of touch and no longer listening to their constituents, and who might be vulnerable to a primary challenge in 2008.  One of the ways that I'm going to identify bad Democrats is by figuring out who votes against a free and open internet. But that's for another day, since net neutrality isn't actually a partisan issue.

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GMail Not Following AOL

It looks like AOL is going to be all alone in their pay-to-send email scheme.  Google isn't going to join them.

Leaving AOL further out on a limb holding its Goodmail playbook, Google said it will not be instituting a payment system to ensure email delivery to Gmail users. The power of email filtering, said the company, should rest in the hands of its users.

Until now, Google had been very quiet about AOL's controversial plan to implement Goodmail's CertifiedEmail system, one that would require approved bulk mailers to pay a small fee per email in order to ensure delivery to member inboxes.

Esther Dyson and AOL's corporate suite heard a lot from users that no one wants a two tiered internet.  So did AOL's competitors.  Yahoo is running away from their use of Goodmail, delineating a much more limited policy.  This was a clean victory for a progressive internet.  Next up is net neutrality.

For the record, I use Gmail.  And it's great.

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Net Neutrality: The First Amendment for the Internet

Cory Doctorow posted on net neutrality yesterday.  Net neutrality is the provision that says all speech on the internet must be treated equally, and no data packets get favored just because the data is traveling over different pipes.  It's the first amendment transferred to the internet.  

The telcos want to end net neutrality.  They want to turn the internet into another TV where those who pay a lot have the ability to broadcast, and those that don't get inferior degraded service.  It's dressed up in a lot of spin with Clinton hacks like Mike McCurry working for the telcos, but that's the basic dynamic.  

Joe Barton has a bill in the House that's going to allow telecom companies to do this, and Ed Markey's provision to strengthen net neutrality provisions was struck down in the the House Telecom Subcommittee.  It's going to move to the full Committee, the full House, and then the Senate.

One political problem we face is that the telcos have bought off a lot of people and political organizations. Another problem is that natural opponents of the cartelization of the internet like Cory don't have an answer for what to do about the issue, except to rail against big 'ole mean AT&T and encourage people to switch internet service providers.  

The libertarians in the tech world believe the market will take care of the problem, yet only 53% of the public has a choice in broadband options between DSL and cable.  This is by design.  You see, the telecommunications companies have consistently been undermining a free market in telecommunications services through mergers, regulation, and lawsuits.

We've gotten to this point in net neutrality because we've allowed cartels to destroy our free markets.  We need to reverse this and get more options in the market, and allow more job creation and entrepreneurialism in the telecom space.  But first things first.  The libertarians need to wake up and realize that if they want free markets, they are going to have to fight for them.

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Verizon Pays for Congressional Value

The following Democratic members on the Committee on Energy and Commerce have received money from the telecommunications industry in the rough amounts listed below.  I took the data from  The bolded members were on the subcommittee and have already voted against net neutrality.  The italicized members are the ones who are on the subcommittee and voted to protect the internet.

House Telecom Subcommittee Members

John D. Dingell, Michigan: $70,500
Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts: $175,000
Rick Boucher, Virginia: $71,000
Edolphus Towns, New York: $32,000
Frank Pallone Jr., New Jersey: $13,000
Bobby L. Rush, Illinois: $22,333
Anna G. Eshoo, California: $37,000 
Bart Stupak, Michigan: $35,233
Eliot L. Engel, New York: $53,713
Albert R. Wynn, Maryland: $30,912
Mike Doyle, Pennsylvania: $10,233
Charles A. Gonzalez, Texas: $36,349
Jay Inslee, Washington: $18,500 (2006 cycle)

Members on the Full Committee but Not the Subcommittee*
Henry A. Waxman, California: $15,500
Sherrod Brown, Ohio: $10,500
Bart Gordon, Tennessee: $20,500
Gene Green, Texas: $22,000
Ted Strickland, Ohio: $16,000
Diana DeGette, Colorado: $34,825
Lois Capps, California: $0
Tom Allen, Maine: $12,018
Jim Davis, Florida: $12,500
Jan Schakowsky, Illinois: $0
Hilda L. Solis, California: $8000
Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin: $15,673 (2006 cycle)
Mike Ross, Arkansas: $24,000

*Or they are on the subcommittee but didn't vote on the net neutrality amendment.

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