Why I Fight: To Preserve the Internet's Level Playing Field

The Web:

An electronic tissue connecting us all.

A global brain activating ideas and knowledge, unleashing creativity.

These are some of the metaphors I use when I think about the Internet and its possibilities.

But as in any web, there are spiders — gatekeepers that monitor and control, repress and extract. Technology can be a tool of liberation or simply a new channel for old oppressions.

The world is facing major challenges — wars, ecological crisis, crushing social inequality — that will require a multitude of creative adaptations. To innovate, we need access to knowledge, ways to share ideas and space to collaborate with others. The Web’s level playing field gives us all of that. No gatekeeper should be allowed to block, throttle or restrict this vital resource.

This is why I fight. 

I want us to use the Internet to help meet the needs of the most vulnerable. I don’t want it to serve just as a steady source of profit for the world’s largest shareholders.

As an organizer at Free Press, I help bring the voices of people from all walks of life to decision-makers in Washington, D.C., who rarely leave their bubble. One attendee at New York Speaks, our recent Net Neutrality hearing, reminded me of why I do this.

“I refuse to grow old to look back and say, where was I during this fight?” he said. “My children will ask, ‘where were you when we sacrificed innovation for greed?’”

I often wonder the same thing. I want to be able to look back and say, “I was on the front lines. We never stopped fighting and we never will.”

The struggle for Internet freedom is not confined to one issue, decision or event, and everyone has a role to play. As Jefferson said, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”

Please fund the fight to help us continue doing this work as full-time advocates, day in and day out.

Photo: Julia Graber and Mary Alice Crim

Illustration credit: Julia Graber