interweb freedom

(formerly Stop Usage Based Billing)

welcome to Interweb Freedom (the blog formerly known as Stop Usage Based Billing)

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on January 21, 2012

No Usage Based Billing

Usage Based Billing

The usage based billing issue that prompted me to begin this “Stop Usage Based Billing” blog — where Canada’s telecommunications regulator, the CRTC, was going to compel independent ISPs to charge UBB from their customers on behalf of the backbone carriers — has been laid to rest.

Although usage based billing issues may remain between customers and ISPs, that is a very different issue than regulatory compulsion, and I think awareness of the issue has been raised enough that others can continue these fights as needed.

changing lanes

Screen capture of the Stop Sopa Dark Screen

Through creating and writing this blog over the years, I’ve learned an enormous amount about the Internet, and in particular, how incredibly important it has become to all of us.

I’ve written about other serious threats to Internet freedom here, and so I think that this will be the new thrust of this blogspace. These days I’ve come to consider myself both a netizen and an Internet freedom fighter, and so, over the next while I will reorganize and update this blog allow it to regain its effectiveness.

So many parts of our lives, no matter where we live, have become bound up with these interwebs. Because that’s what the Internet is. A network of websites stretching around the world.

I was pleased to see that so many of us are thinking of ourselves as netizens. Although led by some of the bigger websites, an incredible array of smaller webpages run by ordinary people — people like me and you from around the world — made huge swatches of the Internet go dark on Wednesday. The protest was not only carried out in the United States, but around the world. Because the Interwebs belong to people around the world. Netizens.

The enormous SOPA/PIPA protest has stopped those two pieces of American legislation that would have put the entire framework of the Internet at risk.

For now.

Special Interests

ACTA logo

The problem is that although the battle has been won, we haven’t actually saved the Internet. There are powerful interests that seek to control the Internet. If they succeed, it will have the effect of repressing Internet freedom.

The ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) that I’ve already written a fair bit about here has been quietly signed by Canada and most of the other countries involved in the secret treaty’s negotiation, and the few who have not signed have indicated that they plan to. This in spite of the fact that the finally negotiating round left serious issues unresolved. Yet ACTA is every bit as bad as SOPA and PIPA.

hand holding flaming torches aloft

The Internet is actually a double edged sword. On the one side, it provides the tools that could help us to build better democracies. But the cutting edge on the other side has the power to repress civil rights and any notion of personal privacy by allowing both corporate and governmental surveillance of citizens unprecedented in the history of the world. This has brought us closer to the dystopia that George Orwell warned of in his cautionary novel 1984.

It is imperative that we remain vigilant.

The Internet exists to facilitate sharing. So as I become aware of threats to these interwebs known as the Internet, I will continue to share such information with you here, as I hope you will continue to share important information with me. The mainstream news media has let us down, so it’s up to us to make do.

Best of luck to us all.

laurel l. russwurm, January 21st, 2012


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