Friday, February 26, 2016

One Year Later: Hanging Tough for Net Neutrality

Originally published by

At the conclusion of the FCC's historic vote. Feb. 26, 2016
(photo: Timothy Karr)
A year ago, on February 26, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission voted to restore real Net Neutrality protections for Internet users across the United States.

The FCC action, reclassifying high-speed Internet access as a telecom service under Title II of the Communications Act, prohibits phone and cable companies from blocking and throttling Internet content or giving priority access to rich companies while relegating the rest of us to online slow lanes.

It would be hard to overstate just how important this decision is for Internet users. After years of debate in Washington and beyond, the issue came down to one agency, and one crucial vote.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Journalists Can Save Themselves by Advocating for Their Sources

Originally published by OtherWords.

The Obama administration’s ongoing crusade against government whistleblowers — which culminated last year in the imprisonment of CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling — has reignited a debate over the role journalists should play in defending their profession and the sources and networks on which it depends.

Sterling’s serving a three-and-half-year prison term for a conviction built primarily on circumstantial evidence — a heavy sentence, though less than the draconian 24 years the government originally sought.

Sterling’s alleged crime was divulging a botched CIA operation to New York Times journalist James Risen. While the Times and other news organizations fought for their own — hiring a team of lawyers to defend Risen against a government subpoena in the case — they did much less to advocate for the rights of whistleblowers, or to denounce the severe punishment meted out to Sterling himself.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Candidates, Lies and the Internet

"The Internet and technology are incredibly important," Carly Fiorina said in response to an audience member on a snowy Friday in New Hampshire.

Of course it is, but what would Fiorina do as president to ensure that Internet access is more affordable?

That's when Fiorina fishtailed into a ditch. "The first thing I would do, honestly, is roll back the 400 pages of regulation that the FCC just rolled out over the Internet," she said, referring to the agency's 2015 Net Neutrality decision, which protects Internet users by preventing access providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from blocking, throttling or otherwise interfering with our connections.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

It’s the Internet, Stupid

People are asking the candidates intelligent questions about the Internet. If only the candidates’ answers were as smart.

I've got some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that presidential candidates are starting to talk about Internet issues.

The bad news is that presidential candidates are starting to talk about Internet issues.

Since the 2012 election, the Internet has emerged as a widely discussed political issue. Advocates of an open and accessible Internet number in the tens of millions and include people of every political stripe living in every part of the United States.

This growing community supports Net Neutrality, worries about violations of their privacy by government spies and corporations too, and believes the Internet is a crucial platform that everyone should be able to access at affordable prices.

Whether you're one of the more than 10 million people who protested congressional efforts to pass Internet-censoring copyright legislation or one of the millions more who urged the Federal Communications Commission to adopt real Net Neutrality protections, you're part of a growing political base that expects our elected leaders to support our rights to connect and communicate.

That's a good thing, right? Here's the problem. Presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle haven't caught up with the rest of us. When facing intelligent questions about their views on important Internet issues, they just plain get it wrong most of the time.