Yesterday a landmark moment in the battle for freedom of the Internet was reached in the US when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 in favor of applying common carrier regulations to Internet service providers. Organizations and activists have been fighting for such regulations for over a year and yesterday illustrates the power of togetherness and a unified voice within the free Internet community.
The move is likely to not only affect the US but the worldwide Internet community. Access Now Advocacy Director Josh Levy said:
“The FCC has finally listened to the voices of millions of internet users. Its bold decision to use Title II to protect the open net means Net Neutrality for millions in the U.S. – and it clears the way for Net Neutrality for millions more around the world.”
The new regulations mean that Internet service providers cannot discriminate against or grant privilege to certain services, content or websites on account of payment or other factors, preventing the big cable companies from creating an Internet “fast lane” which would of course result in an unequal access to the Internet.
US President, Barak Obama, praised the decision by the FCC, declaring:
“More than 4 million people wrote in to the FCC, overwhelmingly in support of a free and fair Internet. Countless other spoke out on social media, petitioned their government, and stood up for what they believe.
I ran for office because I believed that nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change. That’s the backbone of our democracy — and you’ve proven that this timeless principle is alive and well in our digital age.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) declared the move a victory for free speech. Gabe Rottman, legislative council for the ACLU said:
“This is a victory for free speech, plain and simple. Americans use the internet not just to work and play, but to discuss politics and learn about the world around them. The FCC has a critical role to play in protecting citizens’ ability to see what they want and say what they want online, without interference. Title II provides the firmest possible foundation for such protections.”
IMMI is part of the Internet community fighting for Net Neutrality around the world, participating in the Global Net Neutrality Coalition organized by Access Now, consisting of more than 50 organizations and NGOs around the world, as well as supporting the action taken by Open Media and countless other organizations and companies such as reddit, Twitter, Fight for the future, EDRi, Free Press and many others, putting up an “Internet-countdown Jumbotron” with messages in support of Net Neutrality from organizations, NGOs and tens of thousands of Internet users around the world.
Meanwhile in Iceland, a parliamentary resolution on equal access to the Internet, based on the ideology of Net Neutrality is being debated at committee level where IMMI has given its observations. This major statement from the US for the protection of the freedom of the Internet is bound to have far-reaching effects, also in Iceland, Europe and the wider world community.
Featured image by Free Press (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)