SUSAN STRONG: Digital Highway Robbery in progress

Thugs try to extort money from private citizens, and if we're lucky, the crooks are stopped. That's exactly what Congress should do about the digital highway robbery telephone and cable companies are trying to pull right now on all the rest of us. The would-be crooks want to abolish "network neutrality" --our right to access any internet site without the site owner being held up for special fees. (See SavetheInternet). They've already won a vote in a key House Committee, with their "slippery slope" frame, "the internet can't be free."

For the American people, the Web is a digital freeway system, serving the public interest in even more ways than our still "free to the public" interstate highway system. Like its namesake, the internet knits our diverse communities together, strengthens our democracy, fosters innovation, local economic development, and interstate commerce. These telephone and cable companies didn't create it, and we already pay them a fair price for connecting to it at speeds we are free to choose ourselves. No one should give them a license to hold individual web sites up for extra dough. That's a great big Trojan horse for de facto political censorship too. The Internet must stay "free" of this corrupt power grab.

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