“Just as we are beginning to see the power that free resources produce, changes in the architecture of the Internet--both legal and technical--are sapping the Internet of this power. Fueled by bias in favor of control, pushed by those whose financial interest favor control, our social and political institutions are ratifying changes in the Internet that will reestablish control, in turn, reduce innovation on the Internet and in society generally.” - Lawrence Lessig
Members of the LGBT or GLBTQ community need to realize and better understand “the importance of an open Internet in furthering LGBT rights.” There is no doubt that internet, and the open culture it provides, has revolutionized what it is to be a member of the GLBTQ community. However, if Net Neutrality rules are eliminated, the individual voices of the GLBTQ community will be replaced by the voices of corporations that will inject into their targeted audiences what they want people to know and think about gay people.
Howell and Cummings (2014) explain that if the internet is not reclassified as a common carrier, carriage discrimination would be allowed. With the enactment of the “semisecret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a new globalization treaty requiring ISPs here and around the Pacific to read (a.k.a. deep-monitor) [all email and websites for “copyright infringement” in] the Internet and report violations to international law enforcement,” the telecom fat cats will have full discretion “to control controversial speech” by delivering some sites and services more quickly and reliably than others, for any reason or no reason at all.” And as history has shown, GLBTQ content is often the first to be judged.
In a May 2011 letter to the FCC, Jarrett Barrios, GLAAD’s former president, and Justin Nelson, President of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, stated that,
“The LGBT community has a longstanding commitment to all forms of social justice. That is why we look at the deployment of faster wireless Internet options not only from financial and technological viewpoints but also in terms of how this improves society.”
In light of the above, I want to urge members of the GLBTQ community to raise their voices with comments to the FCC, and with pacific and organized demonstrations that could show the FCC and the telecom fat cats that members of the GLBTQ community are aware of what it’s happening, and will do whatever it takes to take control of their freedom of speech, and therefore, of their voices and their images.
US democracy is changing. We are moving towards a plutocracy that would lead to an eventual anarchy. The current status of our freedom of speech gives power and momentum not to those who make the most noise, but to those who are the loudest. Thus, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, deviation or preference, education, political or religious beliefs, class, or social status, we all have to come forward as one society, and in a united front very loudly ask again- which side are you on Tom Wheeler, are you with the people or the telecoms?
Public comments on Net Neutrality are due on July 15.