California State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), Democratic Congressional Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and other advocates held a press conference yesterday afternoon in downtown San Francisco to call upon Governor Jerry Brown to sign SB 822.
Better known as the Net Neutrality bill, SB 822 would establish the strongest open-internet standards in the nation. Specifically, “This act would prohibit fixed and mobile Internet service providers… from engaging in specified actions concerning the treatment of Internet traffic.” Furthermore, the Act would “prohibit, among other things, blocking lawful content, applications, services, or nonharmful devices, impairing or degrading lawful Internet traffic on the basis of Internet content, application, or service, or use of a nonharmful device.” (leginfo.legislature.ca.gov)
At the press event, Tom O’Connor, President of San Francisco Fire Fighters Local 798, stated, “when we are working our hardest we absolutely do not want to have to worry about having to communicate between each other because that data should flow freely and unimpeded.”
After thanking the California firefighters local division, Senator Wiener went on to add how “access to open internet is not a luxury, but that is it at the heart of the 21st century and our democracy.” He also described the Net Neutrality bill as individuals being able to freely decide where they want to go on the internet when accessing information versus being told or steered into accessing certain information. The Senator implied that this bill itself is what America was founded on and people should be able to freely choose how they use the internet.
Finally, Congresswomen Pelosi discussed how imperative it is that for the bill’s passage to not only prohibit internet providers from deliberately slowing down and blocking sites of their choosing, but also to “lead the rest of the country in internet progress.”
Despite the bill’s support from top elected officials including those mentioned above, there are many arguments to be made against Net Neutrality. The internet today is a free market, and opponents believe enforcing Net Neutrality will put control of the internet back in the hands of broadband providers. Furthermore, some argue the internet should not be regulated as it will stall innovation and investment in next-generation technologies
Either way, the Governor has just over one week left to decide if he wants to sign the bill. And while neither the Governor nor his staff has commented on the matter, it should be noted that before Pelosi’s closing remarks, she said she was “sure” he will sign it.
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