World comes together for week of action pushing back against Big Telecom attempts to make Internet slower, more expensive, and more like cable TV
September 8, 2014 – Millions of Internet users from across the globe are standing together to defend the open Internet, and push back against attempts by large telecom conglomerates to undermine net neutrality and consign millions to an Internet slow lane. That’s the message of a new international campaign, Big Telecom -v- The World, launching this morning. OpenMedia International is collaborating with over 50 organizations from over 20 countries on a Week of Action which will rally Internet users, digital rights groups, and tech companies across the globe to show a united voice for net neutrality. Supporters of the campaign include BitTorrent, Boing Boing, Daily Kos, Electronic Frontiers Australia, Fundación Vía Libre, Greenpeace, reddit, SumOfUs, and many others.
“This is a crucially important time that could shape the future of the Internet for generations to come,” said OpenMedia Executive Director Steve Anderson. “What’s at stake is whether we’ll have an Internet that is shaped by users and innovators or one that is dominated by a handful of telecom giants who want to make the Internet slower, more expensive, and more like cable TV. It's time for policy makers to take a firm stand for our access to a fast and open Internet.”
Anderson continued: “Big Telecom giants want to force many of your favourite websites into an Internet slow lane, making them buffer sporadically, and return errors. Without net neutrality, telecom giants could slow independent websites to a crawl, forcing many out of business. That would be lucrative for Big Telecom but a disaster for Internet users. That’s why people everywhere are speaking up.”
Cory Doctorow, author and Boing Boing co-editor, said: "The cable companies and telcoms operators are multinational, global, and ruthless. There's only one Internet, and when greedy companies and captured regulators break it in one country, they weaken it across the planet. This is everybody's fight, and with Big Telecom vs the World -- initiated by the excellent Canadian activist group OpenMedia -- there's a tent big enough for all of us to fit in."
Steve Rio, CEO of Briteweb, said: “The internet was designed to democratize access to and publishing of information. The sinister motives of the Big Telecoms threaten to undermine that access of information. If they get their way, it will be disastrous for individuals, small businesses and incredibly stifling to the tech & innovation sectors of countries affected. It's critical that we ensure our governments know we won't allow them to be bought on this issue.”
Martha Allen, Director of the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press, said: "Net Neutrality is crucial for women's voices, information and perspectives to be shared. So much of corporate and commercial media is dominated by male perspectives and women do not want to lose the progress we are making through the openness of the Internet."
Paulo Rená, director of IBIDEM - Instituto Beta Para Internet e Democracia, said: "Although Marco Civil has already established net neutrality as a right for Internet users in Brazil, it still needs proper regulation in order to be fully assured. Once again, Brazilian civil society will face an open debate with the Telecoms over the future of Internet, but this time dealing with a lot more technical issues. Considering the central position of the USA, any bad sign coming from FCC would certainly be read as a throwback in our progress, invigorating those who defend fast lanes and a money driven technology development".
Toby Mendel, Executive Director of the Centre for Law and Democracy, said: “Access to the Internet and net neutrality have been recognised by leading international authorities as a human right. Undermining those values is no less illegitimate than engaging in discrimination or censorship. Those who believe in democracy and human rights must fight against attempts to create a two-tier Internet.”
Joan McCarter, Senior Political Writer at Daily Kos, said: “A new ecosystem of activist organizations, blogs, independent journalists, and new technology platforms was born with the Internet and has flourished because of net neutrality, both in the U.S. and around the world. The Internet is integral to society in profoundly meaningful ways—culturally, socially, and politically. It has enhanced democracy and injected vitality into the political process, creating vast new opportunities for everyday citizens to participate in public life. All of that is in jeopardy if a handful of companies in the U.S. are given gatekeepers' power over our messages.”
Felicity Ruby, ThoughtWorks Director of Internet Policy, said: "People around the world understand the battle for net neutrality is a defining moment for the Internet as a public good and knowledge commons. Losing net neutrality would end the era of democratic Internet access and cripple the most significant and disruptive engine of human progress the world has ever seen."
Ryan Dochuk, Cofounder of TunnelBear, said: “The internet is a better place when every website and every service is equally accessible. Creating artificial slow lanes is a concerted effort for Telcos to hinder competition and erode consumer choice. It's time governments around the world step up to protect both small business innovation and consumers."
"For over half a decade, the Measurement Lab platform has documented major shifts in how Internet traffic is being treated," stated MeasurementLab.net co-founder and X-Lab director, Sascha Meinrath. "Hundreds of millions of tests provide overwhelming evidence that the democratic potential of the Internet is under sustained threat: from outright censorship to discrimination against particular services and applications -- the open Internet is under cybersiege, not just from authoritarian regimes, but from dominant business practices of corporations spanning the globe."
David Cascino, CEO of Thunderclap, said: "Allowing ISPs to intentionally slow down access to a website (if that website doesn't pay them off) is the worst kind of policy. Ideas should compete on merit, not on which idea has a bigger bank roll behind it. Allowing this practice would be devastating to young startups which are a major source of job creation and economic growth."
The campaign launches at a decisive moment for the future of the Internet. Despite gains in some countries, decision-makers in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and the European Union are considering rules that could either safeguard the open Internet, or hand power to Telecom conglomerates.
In the U.S., there are just 7 days left for citizens to speak out against an FCC proposal that would allow telecom providers to force every service that can’t pay new “prioritization” fees into a slow lane directly affecting over 250 million U.S. Internet users. Over 128,000 people have used OpenMedia’s online tool to send the FCC a message.
In Canada, decision-makers at the CRTC are looking into whether large wireless providers are breaking net neutrality rules by discriminating against online content they don’t own. This follows revelations that Bell had been overcharging customers a markup of 800% to watch Netflix instead of Bell-owned content.
In the European Union, decision-makers are considering a proposal from the European Parliament to underpin net neutrality provisions into law, however this proposal is facing strong opposition from large European telecom companies.
In Brazil, citizens and decision-makers recently passed an Internet Bill of Rights called Marco Civil that enshrines net neutrality and helps set a positive example for the rest of the world.
The Big Telecom -v- The World week of action includes a resource-packed campaign website, an extensive social media campaign, and information on how people can connect with campaigns on the ground in countries around the world. Internet users are also invited to host their own net neutrality teach-in using Mozilla’s Maker Party Kit.
Groups supporting the international campaign include: Affinity Bridge, Arab Digital Expression Foundation, Backbone Campaign, BitTorrent, BlobgExpression, Boing Boing, Briteweb, Centre for Law and Democracy, Cheezburger, ColorOfChange, Consumer NZ, Council of Canadians, Credo, cStreet Campaigns, Daily Kos, Daily Sangbad, Diritti Digitali, Electronic Frontiers Australia, Ethics and Health Foundation, Fark, Fleurieu Communications, Fundación Karisma, Fundación Vía Libre, Gen Why Media, Green Laurels, Greenpeace International, Greenpeace U.S., GrowthLogic Inc., Hiperderecho, IBIDEM - Instituto Beta para Internet e Democracia, I-Vission (Cameroon), Iraqi Network for Social Media, IT for Change, Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet, Louder, May First/People Link, Microzip Data Solutions Inc., Million Monarchs, Movimento Mega, Other98, Popular Resistance, Public Knowledge, rabble.ca, reddit, Roots Action, SumOfUs, Top 21 Systemhaus GmbH, ThoughtWorks, Thunderclap, TunnelBear, Urban Integration Working Group, Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press.
People everywhere are speaking up to defend net neutrality at https://BigTelecomVsTheWorld.org
OpenMedia.org is an award-winning community-based organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy by engaging hundreds of thousands of people in protecting our online rights.
Campaign Coordinator, OpenMedia
Net Neutrality, Monopoly, and the Death of the Democratic Internet. Source: Motherboard
FCC's new net neutrality rules opposed by 100+ internet companies (update: vote still on schedule). Source: Engadget.
Internet traffic from around the globe passes through U.S. servers, peering, and content delivery networks. As a result, it’s likely that web traffic from outside the U.S. could get caught in the slow lane. Source: Motherboard.
Protesters set up camp at net neutrality rally outside FCC headquarters. Source: The Guardian.
OpenMedia fought for and won Canadian Open Internet rules that should prevent Big Telecom discriminating against competing services. We even flew in some of the original architects of the Internet to the CRTC hearing.
CRTC report shows Internet openness complaints went up in 2012 - see this media advisory.
OpenMedia.ca’s crowdsourced Casting an Open Net Plan calls for net neutrality audits and penalties for companies in breach of net neutrality.
CRTC will rescind ‘unlimited use’ Internet decision – or Ottawa will overturn it. Source: The Globe and Mail
OpenMedia.ca: Regulators pull back from usage-based billing after half-a-million Canadians speak out
"If using the Rogers 3G or LTE network, for only $5/month, customers can enjoy 10 hours of viewing on their device" (This means non-Rogers content is unfairly more expensive than Rogers-owned content.) Source: Google Play