The Internet @ Risk . Resources . Sites
Below you'll find Web sites providing more information on the debate over net neutrality, community wireless efforts, internet studies and advocacy, and media consolidation.
For more information on matters referred to in "Internet @ Risk" and the MOYERS ON AMERICA Citizens Class, visit the Timeline, Glossary, and Documents sections.
CNET keeps tabs on all Internet and broadband-related legislative efforts.
Net Neutrality Legislation Advocates
Common Cause is a nonpartisan nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest. Common Cause's Media and Democracy Projects focuses on consolidation and net neutrality issues.
Consumers Union is a completely independent, nonprofit organization which focuses on testing and information organization serving only consumers. Consumers Union is the publisher of Consumer Reports.
The Center for Digital Democracy
The Center for Digital Democracy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the openness and diversity of the Internet in the broadband era, and to realizing the full potential of digital communications through the development and encouragement of noncommercial, public interest programming.
It's Our Net
The It's Our Net Coalition is a broad coalition of consumers, grassroots groups and businesses working together to preserve the Internet and Net Neutrality. Funded by Internet corporations such as Amazon, eBay, Google, and Yahoo!, this coalition sponsors ads, provides links to news, and congressional congress petitions and contact information for users.
Net Neutrality Activists Campaign
Jeff Pulaver's viral marketing campaign is a grassroots effort to protect net neutrality. Through the Web site and his blog, the Pulver Blog, Jeff Pulver has been organizing contests offering cash prizes for user submitted videos raising awareness on Net Neutrality.
Save the Internet Coalition
The SavetheInternet.com Coalition is made up of groups from across the political spectrum that have banded together "to save the First Amendment of the Internet: network neutrality." The Web site tracks the stance of politicians on net neutrality legislation.
Musicians Jill Sobule, Michelle Lewis, and Kay Hanley came together in Los Angeles to vent on internet-related issues, and out of their meeting came "God Save the Internet," a song about net neutrality that they wrote together. A free download of the mp3 is available on the Web site.
TeleTruth is a national, independent, customer advocacy group addressing telecommunications issues. They operate on the principle that "America’s telecommunications infrastructure are essential facilities to the collective economic health and growth of business in America and important to the quality of life for individuals. Like our roads and water systems these facilities are a public good and so should remain free from private control and manipulation."
Net Neutrality Legislation Opponents
Consumers for Cable Choice
Consumers for Cable Choice advocates for a system " based on competitive choice in the marketplace." The group, which has some funding from Telecom companies, opposes
"Unreasonable franchise rules that nurtured and protected cable video providers during the last century must make way for a new era in cable video based on competitive choice in the marketplace."
Hands Off the Internet
The group opposes federal regulation of the Internet, including any net neutrality legislation. Among their stated goals: "Support for an unregulated approach to Internet access in which consumers, not government, choose the method that is best for them; and Opposition to government attempts at regulating and/or taxing Net content or commerce."
Internet Innovation Alliance
The IIA's opposes net neutrality legislation on the grounds that it will stifle the creative force it regulates -- under the concept of "First, do no harm." Their mission statement reads: "The Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) believes that broadband Internet will improve Americans' lives by promoting innovation, next generation services and service providers, and more competitive U.S. jobs and firms. To realize its promise, however, public policy makers at the federal, state and local levels must allow the Internet the freedom to grow and develop."
MyWireless.org's Web site defines the group as "a non-profit consumer advocacy organization giving wireless consumers a powerful and unified voice to protect the freedom, value, security and mobility they enjoy with wireless services." MyWirelss has come in for criticism receiving funding from wireless companies while presenting itself as a consumer group. The group responds "MyWireless.org has the support of wireless companies because it empowers wireless consumers to make their voices heard on important issues like keeping taxes low, minimizing regulatory costs and hassles, protecting consumer choices, and preventing hurdles to new and innovative wireless products and services."
Progress and Freedom Foundation
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. "PFF's underlying philosophy combines an appreciation for the positive impacts of technology with a classically conservative view of the proper role of government." Among the causes PFF advocates " immediate deregulation of broadband services, and forbearance from regulation of wireless communications and the Internet."
Common Cause and Sourcewatch have been questioning the funding of some of these groups. Read their reports "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing" and
Network neutrality legislation.
Some municipalities are setting up citywide fibreoptic and wireless systems. Some such project have met with opposition from the telecom and cable industries and currently 14 states prohibit or make it difficult for municipalities to set up such systems. FreePress.org maintains an interactive map of projects and legislation.
Alliance for Community Media
The Alliance for Community Media is committed to assuring everyone's access to electronic media. The Alliance advances this goal through public education, a progressive legislative and regulatory agenda, coalition building and grassroots organizing.
A nonprofit, national membership organization founded in 1976, the Alliance represents over 1,000 Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) access organizations and community media centers throughout the country
Lafayette's Fiber Film Festival
One of the first of its kind, this online film festival, split between professionals and amateurs, was started to raise awareness about the fiber optic battle in Lafayette. Videos and films from the festival are available on the site.
TriCity broadband is the joint effort of the Citizens of Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles, Illinois to create and maintain a locally owned and operated broadband utility to serve the future of our communities with no taxpayer dollars at risk.
The Prometheus Radio Project
The Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to free, low power FM radio. Prometheus was also involved in the famous Prometheus v FCC case in which the Prometheus Radio Project challenged the relaxation in media ownership rules.
INTERNET STUDIES AND ADVOCACY
Berkman Center for Internet & Society
A center for "exploring cyberspace, sharing in its study, and helping to pioneer its development," the Berkman Center for Internet & Society is a branch of the Harvard Law school which contains their "Sharing Knowledge" blog as well as links to other studies and projects.
Electronic Freedom Foundation
A coalition of lawyers, policy analysts, activists, and technologists, the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) has been fighting for digital rights and protections since 1990.
Media Access Project
The Media Access Project is a non-profit public interest telecommunications law firm which makes legal filings, holds events and gatherings. Their Web site provides informative press releases and documents on their cases.
PEW Project on the Internet and American Life
The Pew Internet & American Life Project produces reports that explore the impact of the Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life.
Public Citizen: Internet and Free Speech
Public Citizen Litigation Group, founded in 1972, is a public interest law firm that litigates cases at all levels of the federal and state judiciaries. They have recently taken up the "Internet Free Speech" issue, and have provided legal outlines as well as links and information for the average citizen to better understand the current situation.
Center for Democracy and Technology
The Center for Democracy and Technology advocates on issues of Internet privacy and free expression. The Center is working to foster widely-available, affordable access to the Internet. In addition, the Center is pioneering the use of the Internet to enhance citizen participation in the democratic process through the Internet to afford citizens the immediate, broad access to government information necessary to the full practice of democracy.
The Center for Public Integrity
The non-partisan watchdog group recently released a new study on the workings of the FCC called "Well Connected." The study contains several items of note:
- A Travel report documenting FCC trips and expenses paid for by industry groups.
- Databases enabling you to find out who owns what media outlets in your own neighborhood.
- A survey of the media ownership in the hometowns of the five FCC commissioners.
- Documentation on how the FCC gathers and disseminates its data on media ownership.
Colombia Journalism Review: Who Owns What?
"Who Owns What?" by the Colombia Journalism Review (CJR) features a list of media conglomerates and what they own. The page also provides a selected list of articles from the CJR archive on media
Consumers Union: Nonprofit Publisher of Consumer Reports
The Consumers Union Web page, devoted to telephone-telecommunications regulation, provides a long list of articles, studies, and research describing how the deregulation of the telecommunications industry in 1996 has hurt consumers.
Economic and Political Consequences of the 1996 Telecommunications Act
Thomas Hazlett of the American Enterprise Institute argues that the 1996 Telecommunications Act resulted both in benefits to consumers and in "megamergers" that have benefited stockholders and market function. He contends that increased competition in the market had an effect on the political process, where the Telecommunications industry outspent all other industries in political contributions.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
The Federal Communication Commission is an independent government organization accountable to Congress. The FCC regulates "interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable" within U.S. jurisdiction. The FCC Web site features a special section on media ownership which includes information on the Broadcast-Newspaper Cross-Ownership Rule and the Local Radio Ownership Rule in the form of announcements, press releases, and policy studies.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996
This Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Web page is devoted to the landmark Telecommunications Act of 1996, which promoted deregulation of the telecommunication industry (cable, long distance telephone service, local telephone service, and broadband) to create a competitive communications market and deliver better services and prices to consumers. The Web site features the complete text of the legislation and provides relevant FCC materials related to the implementation and guidelines of the Act.
Free Press is a national nonpartisan organization working on media policy. Free Press favors "a more competitive and public interest-oriented media system with a strong nonprofit and noncommercial sector." The Web site contains information on its net neutrality and anti-media consolidation efforts.
Eric Klinenberg spoke with Bill Moyers about media consolidation as part of "The Net at Risk." Klinenberg is an Associate Professor of Sociology at New York University and the author of FIGHTING FOR AIR: THE BATTLE TO CONTROL AMERICA'S MEDIA.