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11 May 2006

Librarians are for Net Neutrality. Don't get on their bad side.

a Librarian
(by artist Terry Moore)

Okay okay so you know what The New Yorker thinks about Net Neutrality, and you know that is spearheading a campaign to lean on Telecom-Friendly Congress to save Net Neutrality.

Here's another group that wants to save Net Neutrality: America's whacko crazy wild out-of-control Librarians.

Because of the big SILENCE sign in every library, we don't hear a lot of loud noise from America's Librarians. We should listen more carefully.

America's Librarians have, somewhat unexpectedly, become the most strident professional group trying to preserve the privacy rights of American citizens from the anti-freedom onslaught of the Patriot Act. When the FBI demands to snoop through your public library records without warrants to see what you like to read, the American Library Association Just Says No as loudly as they can. A library patron's reading habits are None Of The FBI's Goddam Business, our Librarians eloquently whisper.

(Bob has currently borrowed "Space Cat," a 1952 children's book written by Ruthven Todd and sublimely illustrated by Paul Galdone about a fairly ordinary-looking alley cat who takes a ride on a space ship to the Moon, and wears a space suit that has a special extension for his tail. I'm giving this library reading choice away for free to the FBI without calling the ACLU.)

I could sing the praises of the American Library Association until the cows come home -- they do lots of remarkably important All-American political and community things -- but here's their whacky goofy whoopee loony take on Net Neutrality.

Read it, join them in saving Net Neutrality, bring your books back on time, and please be quiet.

~ ~ ~

Net Neutrality Fight
Heats Up in Congress

Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced a bill in the House May 2 that would prevent telecom operators and broadband service providers from selling favored access to some websites or video stream connections for an additional fee. The Network Neutrality Act of 2006 (H.R. 5273) states that companies may not "block, impair, degrade, or discriminate against the ability of any person to use a broadband connection to access the content, applications, and services available on broadband networks, including the internet."

Drafts of several telecommunications bills aimed at enabling phone carriers to get into the video business are currently making their way through the House and Senate, Reuters reported May 2. None of them specifically address "net neutrality," or the idea that telephone or cable companies should provide services to all customers at the same cost, the system basically in effect now. Telecom companies have argued that they deserve the right to charge premium rates for faster, unrestricted service to make their investment in new technologies viable, the Cnet online news service reported May 2.

"Those who cannot afford the premium rates -- nonprofits, the public sector, libraries, schools, and colleges -- would be relegated to the equivalent of third-class mail," American Library Association Washington Office Executive Director Emily Sheketoff told American Libraries. "This legislation has an impact not only on libraries and their ability to deliver first-class service to patrons, but to the general public as well."

In introducing the bill, Markey said that broadband neutrality was threatened when the Federal Communications Commission removed a requirement for nondiscriminatory treatment by telecom companies in August 2005. He had earlier introduced a net neutrality amendment to the bill under consideration by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, but it failed April 26 by a 34-22 vote.

Posted May 5, 2006.


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