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Who Owns the Net?

Rheingold warns us & ldquo;that the way we choose to use these technologies and the way governments will ALLOW us to use them are very much in question. & rdquo; &

We all know how the internet, with wireless instant access, has changed nearly every aspect of our lives. Things we would never have imagined have become commonplace. &

I am so accustomed to checking my email, favorite websites, and social networks, anywhere and at any hour, that if something interferes with my connection, I become instantly frustrated and anxious. & & ldquo;What do you mean YouTube is down? & rdquo; &


Yet this is exactly what happened February 24th & when the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority ordered 70 Internet providers to block Pakistan's access to because of anti & ndash;Islamic movies. & The result was that two-thirds of the global Internet population lost access for several hours, as well. Though this was a random event, it was an indication of how vulnerable the Internet actually is. &

And it's not comforting to realize that the world's largest telephone companies & mdash;including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and Time Warner want to control your access to the internet. They are all vying to be the Internet Gatekeepers , deciding which Web sites go fast or slow and which won't load at all. These companies have an agenda that includes reserving the & ldquo;express lanes & rdquo; for their own content and services, and they are spending millions of dollars lobbying Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to achieve their objective.

On February 13, 2008, U.S. Rep. Edward Markey (D-Ma) and Rep. Chip Pickering (R-Miss.) introduced the " Internet Freedom Preservation Act 2008 & rdquo; (HR 5353). This bill would protect Net neutrality and stimulate public conversation about the future of the Internet. &

Without a free and open net, the rest of our conversation is rendered meaningless. At that point we, the public, will be conquered, and what George Orwell feared most in his disturbing book, & rdquo;1984 & rdquo;, namely the ability of the state to control and suppress the masses, in this case the global masses, will be a reality.

As I expand my research I am heartened by the number of organizations I have discovered online who are working diligently to engage and integrate a wider and more diversified populace in order to solve our common issues. It is empowering to me, as one individual, to understand that there are millions out there who imagine that a self-monitoring collaborative internet can continue to exist and thereby insure that this social revolution we find ourselves in, will indeed expand and enrich our human experience. &


Call your elected representatives today and add your voice to support to this vital bipartisan action.

-Citizen Voices blogger Candace Suerstedt is a filmmaker and a mother of three who lives in Coronado.