Censorship, net neutrality, and preserving the Internet

Online activist Aaron Swartz fought online censorship, championed an open Internet.

One week into the Trump Administration, did you ever think you’d be associating the phrase “rogue twitter accounts” with the U.S. National Park Service, NASA, and numerous other Federal agencies? In this odd new world, the free exchange of ideas once again is under attack. And with changes coming to the Federal Communications Commission, so, too, is net neutrality.

Without net neutrality, your data connection to the Internet will be limited, restricting your ability to freely access content as you do today; websites you frequent could become inaccessible, your Netflix connection could slow to a crawl, it could take longer for you to exchange email messages, some e-commerce sites will be more responsive than others, etc.

President Trump’s pick for FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, who openly opposes net neutrality,  brought to mind some recent documentaries on the subject, specifically Killswitch.

Directed by Ali Akbarzadeh, Killswitch (2104) provides a solid framework on the importance of net neutrality, featuring interviews with legal stalwarts Lawrence Lessig and Tim Wu, and also focuses on the persecution of computer programmer Aaron Swartz, who was at the forefront of online activism.

Another documentary from 2014, Citizenfour, is a compelling portrait of whistleblower Edward Snowden, and somewhat of a suspense film in itself that details his contact with Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, the journalists who met him, secretly, in Hong Kong to capture his story.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

And if you have yet to see Snowden, I highly recommend Oliver Stone‘s intriguing narrative on the Snowden saga. The multi-talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as Snowden, is among many of the excellent performances.

To object to anti-net-neutrality-FCC-nominee Ajit Pai, contact your representatives and tell them a free exchange of ideas is critical to our Democracy, as was the intent of the Founding Fathers.

 

 

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