Friday, May 25, 2007

Gore: Neutrality the Key to Internet Democracy

Former Vice President Al Gore extols the virtues of Net Neutrality in his newly released book "The Assault on Reason," writing "neutrality should be the central tenet that will set us on a path toward an open, democratic Internet where free speech and free markets are encouraged."

Gore applauds the grassroots efforts of the Coalition, whose many supporters used the Internet to save the Internet: "When the first skirmishes over net neutrality were fought in 2006, many in the Internet community who agree with the point of view I share mobilized and used the tools they had available on the Internet to defend its independence."

Al Gore

Fighting on Our Side for a Neutral Web

At that time, supporters were posting dozens of homemade videos on YouTube. College students created Facebook communities that grew to include tens of thousands of people while others crafted fliers and handed them out at their student unions. The movement had taken a life of its own – one that was limited only by the creativity of our online supporters.

Robin "Roblimo" Miller made one such video in his Florida back yard where he sums it up well: "The whole point of Net Neutrality is not Google. It's not Yahoo. It's about me and my little video here and you and any video that you might shoot getting out in an easy and fast and efficient manner."

Gore calls on Congress to lead the charge in protecting neutrality:
"More than one and a half million citizens contacted Congress and more than eight hundred organizations joined the SavetheInternet Coalition, organized by the upstart media reform organization Free Press, using innovative online mobilization tactics ... The public is finally involved in the debate about the future of the Internet and many are organizing to shape that debate."
Gore concludes in the final pages of his book that the key to redeeming our democracy is to ensure that we all are "well and fully connected" to an open, neutral and robust public Internet forum.

"I truly believe the most important factor is the preservation of the Internet's potential for becoming the new neutral marketplace of ideas that is so needed for the revitalization of American democracy," he writes. "People are not only fighting for free speech online, but they are also working to keep the Internet a decentralized, ownerless medium of mass communication and commerce."

As Gore's book climbs the best seller list, we can only hope that more Americans join this call for a more neutral, democratic and accessible Internet.

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