The Democratic Activist
(Update: complete information about the Stanford FCC hearing on 4/17/08, including the precise campus location at which the meeting will be held, start and end times, a map with specific directions, and a meeting agenda – which DOES include a two-hour period for public comment – can be found by clicking here.)
Do you live in or near the San Francisco Bay Area?
If so, be sure to block off 4/17/08 on your calendar as a day to travel to the beautiful Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, California to attend the FCC hearing on Net Neutrality and the future of the internet.
Net Neutrality is the movement to keep the internet on a level playing field so that Joe's Bookstore can compete on an equal basis right alongside Amazon.com, and The Democratic Activist can be accessed just as easily and conveniently as The Washington Times. Preserving a free and open internet is perhaps the central free press issue facing America today, and is a critical economic issue, as well, for anyone who makes their living directly or indirectly through some form of online activity (isn't that just about everyone, these days?).
Here's the scoop ...
Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, and other giant corporations want to own the internet. Recently, they've have been caught red-handed, with their grubby hands deep in the cookie jar, blocking, filtering, and spying on your internet activities. They plan to turn the internet into just another profit-generating arm of the mainstream media, which, like radio, television, and cable, are off limits to ordinary people and smaller companies, available only to big guys with deep pockets. Should giant telecoms succeed in their effort to kill Net Neutrality, to steal the internet for their own private use and profit, it would literally mean the death of the internet as we've always known it.
The purpose of the FCC meeting is to address the question of "Net Neutrality" and the future of the internet from deep within the heart of the beast, in Silicon Valley, California. Internet industry experts will be giving testimony, and – in a rare move – all five FCC commissioners will be coming to Stanford to attend the 4/17 meeting, as well.
Unbounded corporate arrogance!
At the FCC’s first hearing in Boston, Comcast was actually caught paying seat-fillers to pack the room and keep out the public (read all about it, here)! Now is the chance show our support for Net Neutrality ... to make visible our commitment to preserving in law a free, neutral, vital internet as a public resource available equally to all people, all voices, and all businesses in America.
Can you make it to the meeting? Can you let others know about it?
Here's what you can do:
1. Attend the FCC meeting at Stanford on 4/17, if at all possible ... and bring others with you!
For the latest info on the event (including the precise location and time set for the meeting, a map with detailed directions, and an agenda for the meeting) click here or call: 877-888-1533, extension 204.
Note: there WILL be a two-hour period near the end of the meeting for public comments. Get your short, powerful, passionate speech ready ... and then deliver it live and in person to all five FCC commissioners!
2. File your own comment with the FCC ... whether or not you can personally attend the 4/17 meeting at Stanford.
Click here and fill out the form with your comment in support of Net Neutrality (your remarks will be automatically forwarded to the FCC).
Here's a sample message:
The internet is a public resource, built and birthed with public money, and today is used with equal access by all Americans. The free and open internet has strengthened, broadened, and enlivened American democracy and the American economy in countless ways. It should, by right, stay that way.
But the internet as we've always known it is now being gravely threatened by a few giant private companies that would rob the American people of this great national treasure and make it into their own private, profit-generating tool. Their plan is to steal the public internet for their own private gain, and turn it into just another arm of corporate mass media like radio, television, and cable.
The FCC must act now to protect the Internet from corporate gatekeepers that want to block, filter and discriminate against the Web sites and services Americans everywhere use every day, and create and enforce strong regulations that would permanently guarantee Net Neutrality -- the principle that all Americans should have equal access to the amazing miracle of the internet.
The internet in America should continue, in perpetuity, to be owned jointly by all Americans. All of us in this country have an equal right to utilize this phenomenal public resource to express our views, conduct business, and otherwise better our lives ... not just a few wealthy and powerful corporations and individuals!
Keep the internet free and open!
Support Net Neutrality!
3. Spread the word!
Send a link to this post to everyone you know who cares about a free and open internet. Let's fill the meeting room at Stanford on 4/17 with like-minded Net Neutrality advocates, and show the FCC how very much this issue matters to the American people!
At Thinking Out Loud, blogger Gail Jonas has posted a wonderful article on Ben Scott, head of freepress.net, the driving force behind savetheinternet.com and the Net Neutrality movement ... recommended reading for all Net Neutrality Ninjas.
Here is an article in the Stanford Daily about the 4/17 meeting, here is a flyer you can download and use to promote the event, and here is another action page you can utilize to "tell your friends."
Let's do it!
Pass it on.
The Democratic Activist