As the internet continues to mature, more obstructions seem to crop up. Last week it was the FCC’s defeat in court that threatens Net Neutrality — the idea that all content on the internet is equal, and should be kept that way. Last year the great attacks were the SOPA and PIPA bills in congress. On January 18th groups of activists made an effort to honor the SOPA blackout and created an Internet Freedom Day.
In fairness, the internet is by no means the ‘wild west’ it once was, but it’s nowhere near as mature radio, television, or print. There is, potentially, a great deal of money to be made online. When the debate about internet freedom, or the openness of the web comes up, it’s the ISP’s that hold the most power in that debate.
Internet Freedom Day was proposed by lawyer Marvin Ammori of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in January of 2013. He was shocked that there wasn’t already one “given that the internet is one of the most revolutionary technologies the world has ever known.” 7 million people signed various petitions against SOPA last year and, in addition to the blackout, almost 1 million calls to congress and a great deal of backlash. As a result the bill was eliminated.
But Ammori himself realizes that sustained advocacy is needed. In a piece on Slate he details how he’s been fighting the FCC on this issue since 2010, and the fight has been going on a lot longer than that. He notes that many are still willing to fight this fight to keep the internet free and open for all. Every now and then, perhaps at least once a year, we could all do with a reminder of just how important internet freedom is to everyone.
Image credit: DonkeyHotey