Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008 (HR 5353)

Recently, the House moved to pass a bipartisan bill that would preserve Internet freedom - Freedom of Speech. You can find out all about it here.

Here, you will also find the opportunity to send a canned message to your local representative that gives your support to this bill and requests the same from your representative. The system selects your representative based on the address information you supply.

You can edit the message how you see fit. Below is how I edited mine. Feel free to copy it in its entirety if you wish or alter it any way that you want:

"As your constituent, I request you co-sponsor the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008 (HR 5353).

This important, bipartisan legislation protects the Constitution's First Amendment of Free Speech.

Phone and cable companies are businesses and, as such, have a right to conduct their business in the manner they choose. However, they are not businesses that sell trinkets and everyday merchandise.

They are businesses that happen to be responsible for the access to something much greater than themselves, by their own choice. They have been entrusted with an unprecedented bastion of free speech.

The Internet is not just a means of communication. It is a location. It is a place where tens of millions of Americans make a living and provide for their families. It is a place where they grow the size and scope of knowledge and expand that knowledge's distribution. It is a place where they stand and speak aloud not only in the public square, but now on the global square. It is a place where they trade and participate in commerce. It is a place where they gain more control over their own lives.

Regulating the ebb and flow of access to such freedom will destroy that very freedom. We cannot, and will not, allow so very few who are already making a huge profit on such a privilege to begin dictating and controlling the outcome of that privilege and freedom, all for the sake of more profit.

Personal profit at the expense of destroying a level of freedom unheard of and unable to be comprehended by civilization until recent years is nothing short of criminal, particularly when reasoned against the First Amendment of our Constitution.

Please recognize the law - the First Amendment - and stand up for our freedom. Join Reps. Markey and Pickering in support of this effort to maintain our rights."


Cyraxote said...

Sadly, this bill contains no provisions for enforcement. It amounts to nothing more than a "suggestion" to any parties who are opposed to net neutrality.

D.K. said...

Do bills normally include provisions for enforcement? Or, does that happen separately of the bill?

Cyraxote said...

Yes, they do.

Whenever you hear something like "a penalty not less than $50 or to exceed $500" (which is the language in the law barring electioneering within a certain distance of a polling place), that's the provision for enforcement.

Congress has to specify for the executive branch [which is going to enforce the law by arresting people (eg, with the FBI; for a state law, the local police) who break it] and the judicial branch (which will judge innocence or guilt and, if the latter, the exact penalty to be meted out).

D.K. said...

If that's what bills usually contain, I find it odd that two, seperate Congressmen would forget to include such a thing.

Are you suggesting they did it on purpose? Or, could you be wrong about when the enforcement provisions to a bill are added?

Either way, if there is a problem with a lack of enforcement provision at this time, it seems as easy of a fix as simply making sure such a provision is added.

This is the request that could be added when and if you write your representative in support of this bill.

Cyraxote said...

Well, the bill can be changed at any time to make it more appealing to more representatives. I think that's how THIS bill got to be so toothless. By the way, another reason this bill is suspect is that the Republican cosponsor (can't think of his name right this sec) has been opposed to net neutrality for a while.

I have contacted my representative and urged him NOT to support the bill in its present form. Some people think it's better to have a law than not have one, but my feeling is that if they pass this, then they can say, "Well, we did something, see?" without having actually done anything real.

D.K. said...

I would rather see the bill corrected instead of trashed, if there is a problem.

It's a worthy that supports free speech and the actual law - First Amendment.

Any representative should be smart enough to make sure an enforcement provision is added, which would be an easy fix.

And any request we send to a representative to support this bill could easily contain such a reminder.