The Open Internet & the Freedom of Speech

The Internet is the epitome of freedom and neutrality.

The Internet, as we currently know it, is descended from the Bulletin Board Systems of the past. BBSes were the epitome of freedom for the first generation of home PC users. That same sense of freedom was shared with the internet by BBS networks such as Fidonet, as well as newsgroups. Ever since those days, the internet itself has come to represent "true freedom"- freedom from opinion and repression, freedom of thought and expression, freedom of mobility and communication, and freedom as consumers and producers, all within our respective laws.

I feel it is necessary, for the sake of the continuance of innovation, that the internet continues to remain free. By forcing us into choose where we can go and what we can do, for the sake of "who is willing to pay more for more bandwidth and mobility", will stifle innovation, and limit all the freedoms that we, the first cyber-pioneers, knew in our youth, and brought with us into the "World Wide Web". It is in *our* best interests that the Net remain neutral. If it cannot, then it will only be natural that we will create a new place where those freedoms can exist in an equally unrestrained manner.

"This is our world now... the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn't run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals." - Mentor, The Hacker's Manifesto, January 8, 1986

This is *still* *our* world. It is the world of the gamer, of the merchant, of the porn site, of the religious chatroom, for the left-wing and the right-wing, for the wealthy and the poor, for the eloquent and the trolls. We are not criminals, yet the ISPs who stand against Net Neutrality seek to limit what we do and where we go- they want to see us in shackles around our digital wrists and with ball-and-chain around our browsers' feet, and only if we pay more will they slightly loosen their iron-clad grip.

The day when ISPs tell us what server we can play on, or what site we can visit, or what posts we can make, or how many gigs we can download at their pre-defined speed, will be the day that the Internet will become as obsolete as BBSes.

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Idea No. 68