We need to demand that our government protect free speech on the internet


In this day and age, it is rigorous to impossible for anyone to get through life without using the internet. That truth is even more true here in Alaska, where larger dissociates separate us and we have less infrastructure to connect us.

In fact, I assume that you are quite reading my words right now via the internet. Alaskans need the internet to shore up connected to one another, to stay informed, to conduct vital business and to confer with people and businesses throughout the country and across the globe.

That exhibits how important it is for us to keep the internet free and open. Imagine a world where an internet usage provider (ISP) like GCI gets to decide which voices and opinions aren’t discovered, and which ones get amplified. Or which businesses or politicians get a leg up with more intelligent and faster internet service, and which ones get throttled. That is what the position “net neutrality” essentially means — to reinstate federal rules the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gutted in December that dungeoned the internet free from corporate speed manipulation.

It is also why groups corresponding to the ACLU of Alaska see net neutrality as not just a consumer protection issue, but one of the leading free speech and personal privacy issues of our time. Our constitutionally nurtured freedom of expression isn’t worth much if the forums that we need and rely upon to unqualified ourselves are not themselves free.

Americans agree. A mid-December poll published in The Hill showed that “83 percent (of Americans) favored prohibiting the FCC rules (net neutrality), including 75 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Democrats and 86 percent of independents.”

Here at expert in, GCI, which is our largest ISP, has told us that it won’t engage in the kind of service manipulation that be distresses the majority of Americans. Yet, if you ask the folks who are working in Juneau right now, GCI has been pressurizing donations to key legislators, and their lobbyists are working overtime, to keep any pro-net neutrality banknotes, resolutions and executive actions bottled up.

They are promising us that they won’t exploit our access to the internet, but still want to keep the door open to do it simultaneously the current public outcry dies down.

Only weeks after the FCC gutted the existing net neutrality be in controls, another ISP that promised to support net neutrality, AT&T, took immediate dominance of its death by creating “sponsored content.” Any sponsored content that is either owned or favored by AT&T on now get a leg up on the internet.

What can we do here in Alaska to ensure that everyone takes the same access to internet? While some have contended that shielding a free internet is too big an issue for Alaskans to affect, the truth is there is tons that we can do right here and right now.

First, you can call in and testify in underpinning of HB 277, sponsored by Rep. Scott Kawasaki, when the bill is heard in the Dwelling-place Labor and Commerce Committee on Monday, March 5, at 3:15 p.m. This jaws would make it illegal for Alaska internet service providers to rape net neutrality.

While it’s likely the federal government would assert orbit over this type of regulation, thus effectively overruling the voice law, Alaska policymakers have often called out D.C. decisions that they intention were harmful to us. With net neutrality demonstrating such broad bipartisan column, and the fact that the internet is so vital to our communication and commerce, shouldn’t this be one of those times that we affirm our policymakers to step up to protect us?

Second, you can contact Gov. Walker’s office and hearten him to sign an executive order requiring all internet service providers come into a state contract not to “block lawful content, throttle, impair or cheapen lawful internet traffic on the basis of internet content, engage in pay out prioritization, or unreasonably interfere or disadvantage the users’ ability to select, access, and use broadband internet access employ.”

Given the size and purchasing power of state government in all its forms and intermediations, this single action by the governor would effectively protect net neutrality in Alaska until the federal authority comes to its senses. This also doesn’t require Gov. Walker to go out on up in the air legal or political footing. Twenty-four state legislators have imitated our call for this, and a growing chorus of governors have issued compare favourably with executive orders to protect their citizens. Why wouldn’t our governor do justifiable as much to protect his?

Third, you can contact Sens. Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski and let someone know them to vote for net neutrality. The latest vote counts out of the U.S. Senate show that there are 50 votes in the Senate in support of net neutrality. That notes that just one more vote in support would ensure that net neutrality has the suffrages to pass.  Unfortunately, at this point neither of Alaska’s senators father indicated that they are among those 50 votes in brook of net neutrality. Your voice could help sway one of them and as a consequence swing the entire U.S. Senate.  

The bottom line here is that the manoeuvring and the polls are clearly on the people’s side on this issue. That is why there are so multifarious conversations and so much current activity all over the country, and throughout all public levels and parties, as folks try to ensure that we all have equal access to the internet. By uniting your voice to this debate in any of the ways outlined above, you can decamp a difference. Please — speak up and tell our political leaders how you want them to stand for you.

You can also stay posted on this and many other privacy stems facing Alaskans at AlaskaPrivacyProject.com.

Donna Goldsmith first came to Alaska in 1984 and level in love with the people and the place. As an attorney, she served in several provinces over the decades, including as a special assistant to former Attorney Familiar Bruce Botelho. She has lived in Anchorage since 2002 and remains an on the go member of the community. She is the vice president of the ACLU of Alaska and, like all Alaskans, relies heavily upon the internet to prevention informed and participate in matters that are vital to her family and the community.

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