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Internet Freedom Threatened

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Internet Freedom Threatened - by Stephen Lendman

Congressional bills threaten Net Neutrality.

Candidate Obama promised to "(s)upport the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet." 

As president, his FCC and congressional extremists threaten it. On May 12, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D. MN) introduced "S. 978: A bill to amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes."

Referred to the Judiciary Committee, June 22 hearings were held. So far, no further action was taken. If enacted, loosely defined unlicensed online streaming becomes illegal, punishable by up to five years in prison.

On May 12, Senator Patrick Leahy (D. VT) introduced "S. 968: Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PROTECT IP)." Referred to the Judiciary Committee, May 26 hearings were held. So far, no further action was taken. 

Leahy calls it a measure to "protect the investment American companies make in developing brands and creating content and will protect the jobs associated with those investments."

In fact, it introduces new censorship provisions that violate First Amendment freedoms, without which all others are at risk. 

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If enacted, Internet service providers (ISPs), search engines, and other "information location tools" will have to block user access to sites accused of very loosely defined copyright infringement.

On February 6, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R. TX) introduced "SJ Res. 6: A joint resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the Federal Communications with respect to regulating the Internet and broadband industry practices."

The bill was referred to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. So far, no further action was taken.

On January 5,  Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R. TN) introduced a similar House measure:

"HR 96: Internet Freedom Act: To prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from further regulating the Internet."

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The bill was referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. So far, no further action was taken.

Reportedly, Obama's also considering a so-called "three strikes" censorship deal, requiring ISPs restrict bandwidth speed, limit web access, and be educated about copyright infringement to prevent piracy.

Candidate Obama made many promises. As president, he broke all major ones that matter, including protecting a free and open Internet. Instead, he made intellectual property protection a priority over Internet freedom.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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