Kirk Votes Against Net Neutrality

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2006-08-27

In the recent Republican telecommunications "reform" bill -- already passed by the House, aided by Congressman Mark Kirk, the Internet, that free and open information highway that we've come to rely on for so much in our lives is in danger of being PRIVATIZED.

The Internet is free to anyone who has a computer. But the new bill, the "Advanced Telecommunications and Opportunities Reform Act" (still to be considered by the Senate) -- written on behalf of some of the largest corporate media giants -- seeks to change all that. The largest cable and media corporations such as Time Warner, Comcast, AT&T and Verizon have crafted a "reform" bill that would transform and change the free, open democratic Internet that we take for granted today to a privately run service that would charge a fee for almost everything we do online.

"Net Neutrality" is the name given to the principle that all users of the Internet are treated the same, the data delivered with the same priority and rate of speed. Whether you are a person with a website or "blog" or a large multi-national company, you get the same treatment. It's the principle that allows people all over the world to quickly and easily communicate using e-mail, and the principle that allows for the free exchange of all kinds of information no matter what political leanings they espouse in whatever format.

The giant media companies (with their friends in Congress, viz., Mark Kirk) want to legally abolish Net Neutrality and set up the equivalent of highway tolls on the Internet. If you want quick access you will have to pay extra fees tor that speed. Those who are independents or who cannot afford the extra fees -- which are now free -- either pay up or won't be allowed to easily or readily access independent media content -- thus striking a body blow to the variety and effectiveness and rich diversity of the Internet as we know it. The wealthy and entrenched media would benefit handsomely. The future of the Internet as we know it could rest in the balance.

The cautionary message we should draw from this bleak perspective of yet another regressive Republican "reform" law, this one threatening our freedom to easily get information freely is that we should vote out those who would support such a law -- and Congressman Kirk supports it with his vote. Just another example of Congressman Kirk's non-independence and his subservience to his corporate and non-constituent agenda.