Internet Freedom

 
 
The Internet is not a luxury, it is a necessity.
— President Obama

The keys to our future will be determined by the quality of our Internet. In the digital age, the Internet has become inextricably intertwined with our economy, important services, and our own personal lives. The Internet is not a luxury, rather it is becoming a critical element of American Freedom. It must be protected.


Net Neutrality is the cornerstone of a free and open Internet. It is, in essence, the First Amendment of the Internet, allowing freedom of speech and thought independent of any governing power. Title II of the Communications Act provides the legal foundation for Net Neutrality and Net Freedom. Without a strong Title II, Internet providers could censor and control what we see and do online.

As the recent actions of the unelected and, thus, undemocratic board of officials in the FCC demonstrated, we cannot rely on such officials to protect our Net Freedom. Congress must pass a bill classifying broadband as a Title II communication service.


Congress must take steps to protect your Internet Privacy. Right now, corrupted officials in Congress are pushing through a law that would allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to sell your browser history. We are typically more honest with our Internet searches than with other people, so if ISPs are able to sell your browsing history to unknown sources, then that will grant these corporations unfiltered access to your life. Congress must stop ISPs from selling your browsing history and pass laws to protect your Internet privacy.


We must not allow only cities to have the best Internet -- we need to build up our Rural Internet Access. If Internet access is the key to success in a 21st century economy, then Internet access must become a right available to all. We can achieve this by creating a Rural Internet Act. Similar to the Rural Electrification Act of the 1930s, this act can provide low-interest federal loans to communities and co-ops to bring high-quality Internet and jobs to rural America.


The monopolization of our economy is one of the great challenges of our time. Unfortunately, much of our Internet access has been monopolized as well. We must break up the regional monopolies dominating our Internet. Many communities only have one or two Internet Service Providers (ISPs) because of mergers and regional concentrations. The free market is only free when it is fair, and right now monopolies are gaming our system. The way we can disrupt these monopolies is by giving low-interest federal loans and legal protection to local ISPs to build the infrastructure needed so that they can adequately compete. We must encourage fair competition for the sake of our Net Freedom.


Let me be clear: our Internet is too slow. The USA is 46th in the world with mobile Internet speed and 9th with fixed (wired) Internet. For the nation that created what would become the Internet, this is an indignity to us as a people. Congress should provide federal loans to increase our Internet speed to match the top speeds in the world.


Lastly, our government must do more to protect our cybersecurity. We have to protect ourselves from cyber-aggressors, both domestic and foreign. As things stand right now, rogue regimes, such as North Korea, don’t need nuclear weapons to harm our homeland; rather, their hackers could take down our power grid. Most Americans would be frightened to learn about the lack of security of our electronic infrastructure. We must do more to protect ourselves.

We also must do more to protect our data and to protect Americans from online fraud. It’s all too easy for hackers anywhere in the world to steal your identity, ruin your credit, and harm your livelihood. Not only that, but every year American companies lose millions of dollars because of data breaches. Congress must secure our data, our identities, and protect our livelihoods.

 

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