Monday, August 4, 2014

How to learn more about Net Neutrality

Like many people, I wasn't really aware of the potential impact that opposers of Net Neutrality could have, or for that matter what net neutrality was, until I was introduced to the topic by John Oliver on his tv show Last Week Tonight. After hearing his explanation and comedic rant, I started to learn more about net neutrality. My colleague, David Steer explains net neutrality as the opinion that 
"Data, regardless of who it is from or who is receiving it, is treated equally by Internet service providers."
I like to think of it as opening up the door for 2 internets - one that comes at a cost, and another that is free. Sounds fine, right? You're like .. ok what's the big deal? I'll just use the free one. But just like many other free services that you have used that all of a sudden put up features behind a paywall, your free offering becomes crap - cluttered with ads, slower to use and just a poor man's version of the prime real estate - this too will happen with the Web. 

I believe that this issue is the most important topic for web users (globally), because without the neutral infrastructure of the internet, many freedoms that we take for granted in this hand crafted community - such as speech - become compromised in a privileged and gated web. Opposition to net neutrality threatens democracy, participation and free speech.  But this isn't a hopeless cause, there is actually something proactive that you can do to protect the Web that you love: you can learn more about Net Neutrality and explain it's importance to your small circle of the world why it's important. The goal is to create an educated groundswell that will be able to defend the open web.

Here are a few concrete ways to learn:

1. Attend the free Net Neutrality global teach-ins offered by Mozilla this week
2. Check out the the Net Neutrality kit
3. Do an activity  - here's a 1 hour activity
4. Join the conversation on discourse

I contributed to these kits by making a few activities:

I fight for #TeamInternet to save net neutrality because: You can make an internet meme explaining why you support net neutrality.

Superheroes for Net Neutrality: Calling all Superheroes! The Legion of Thorn has created 2 Webs - resulting in a dystopian state. Avenge them and defend Net Neutrality by crafting a league of superheroes to join Team Web, and remix a comic book webpage to show how they use their superpowers to save the day. 

This comic remix was made by a 7 year old

Regardless of how you learn about Net Neutrality, take some time out of your day to add it to your information diet.