Take Action: Net Neutrality Day of Action
July 12 is the Net Neutrality Day of Action. Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers must deliver all information and data equally—regardless of its source or nature. These rules, which are controlled by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), prevent internet service providers from blocking, slowing down, inhibiting, or even privileging some websites over others. Net neutrality is the current status quo of the open internet; however, the FCC has recently proposed that these rules be changed. In response, digital companies, nonprofit organizations, and individuals are speaking out about these proposed changes on the Net Neutrality Day of Action.
The American Library Association (ALA) explains why net neutrality is so important for libraries:
The American Library Association is a strong advocate for intellectual freedom, which is the “right of all peoples to seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction.” Intellectual freedom is critical to our democracy, because we rely on people’s ability to inform themselves. The Internet connects people of diverse geographical, political, or ideological origins, greatly enhancing everyone’s ability to share and to inform both themselves and others.
Our libraries’ longstanding commitment to freedom of expression in the realm of content is well-known; in the context of the net neutrality debate, however, we believe it is equally important to stress that the freedom of libraries and librarians to provide innovative new kinds of information services will be central to the growth and development of our democratic culture. A world in which librarians and other noncommercial enterprises are of necessity limited to the Internet’s “slow lanes” while high-definition movies can obtain preferential treatment seems to us to be overlooking a central priority for a democratic society – the necessity of enabling educators, librarians, and, in fact, all citizens to inform themselves and each other just as much as the major commercial and media interests can inform them.
The ability of the Internet to spread and share ideas is only getting better. With modern technology, individuals and small groups can produce rich audio and video resources that used to be the exclusive domain of large companies. We must work to ensure that these resources are not relegated to second-class delivery on the Internet—or else the intellectual freedoms fostered by the Internet will be constrained.
On the day of action, various organizations and coalitions are urging constituents to write to the FCC asking for the current net neutrality principles to remain in place, which would maintain the open internet as we know it. Here are some tools that make it easy to send letters to the FCC:
Tell the FCC to Save Net Neutrality (via American Library Association)
Dear FCC, Save Net Neutrality (via Electronic Frontier Foundation)
Make your voice heard: Stand up for net neutrality. (via Mozilla Foundation)
- Two Million Strong for Net Neutrality (via SaveTheInternet.com)
Learn more about net neutrality in NYPL's collections.