Today, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton will deliver a speech at George Washington University. The speech is being heralded as “a major address on Internet freedom,” originally scheduled for a few weeks ago, it was delayed, in part because of the mass mobilizations in Tunisia and Egypt.
During the speech Clinton is expected to “reaffirm U.S. support for a free and open Internet and underscore the importance of safeguarding both liberty and security, transparency and confidentiality, and freedom of expression and tolerance.”
Great. But what does that really mean?
As we transition to a new economy, the power to communicate, and therefore imagine a better future, should belong to everyone. But in December 2010 the FCC passed rules that provide only the most minimal protection to wireless users. These new rules have created a segregated Internet where wireless users are left with blocked and tiered service. The lack of consumer protections for wireless users directly disadvantages individuals already excluded by the digital divide. According to a report by the Pew Research Center, 18% of blacks and 16% of English-speaking Latinos access the Internet only from their cell phones, compared with 10% of whites.
Throughout history, our communities have been greatly harmed when we were unable to tell our own stories or control the mass dissemination of our own image. We know there is a correlation between how our communities are portrayed in the media and the government policies that place control of the media in the hands of a few. Today’s speech is one step… but so is the vote that Congress is getting ready to hold on the future of Net Neutrality.
As you get ready to watch Clinton’s speech, or follow the Congressional vote tomorrow—take a minute and ground yourself. Check out our roundup of blogs on Egypt—and see for yourself what the media can look like, when we have the power to communicate and disseminate our own stories in our own words.
League of Young Voters:
Song with M-1 in support of the protest
Blog about how the song came about
”Could what happened in Egypt Happen Here?”