Category Archives: Internet Freedom

Digital inclusion and who controls the Internet

California Could Vastly Expand Affordable Broadband — If The Legislature Acts Now

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by Chris Witteman and Tracy Rosenberg. Originally published at 48 Hills.

Fourteen months of COVID quarantine made one thing clear: we need our broadband. 

It used to be only media activists who insisted that Internet access was an essential service; now it’s accepted wisdom. 

Unfortunately, the last year has also made clear that the current system is broken. Pictures of kids doing homework in parking lots because they have no broadband at home highlight the problem: The market has failed to deliver adequate broadband because there is no market. 

High-speed broadband in most areas is available only from the monopoly cable company, occasionally from the duopoly phone company.  It’s overpricedunreliable, and – even based on the carriers’ overstated reporting — simply not available to millions of Californians – certainly not at the bandwidth needed for today’s applications. 

People know this is so, despite industry propaganda to the contrary.  

Californians need fast, modern Internet. Gov Newsom has responded with a budget that allots $7 billion — from a mix of state surplus dollars and federal rescue money – to actually build public broadband infrastructure rather than just talk about it or continue to throw money at the incumbents.   

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Internet Choice for Oakland (And Berkeley)

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A coalition of Internet freedom groups, economic justice organizations and alternative ISP’s is working together to spread Internet Choice legislation beyond San Francisco.

Media Alliance is an anchor for the Oakland Internet Choice Coalition which includes the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Greenlining Institute, The Utility Reform Network, Color of Change, MediaJustice, Oakland Tenants Union and alternative ISPs MonkeyBrains, Sonic, Paxio and People’s Open Internet.

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Victory. Oakland’s City Council Unanimously passes internet choice

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originally published in Deep Links 10-21-21

Oakland residents shared the stories of their personal experience; a broad coalition of advocates, civil society organizations, and local internet service providers (ISPs) lifted their voices; and now the Oakland City Council has unanimously passed Oakland’s Communications Service Provider Choice Ordinance. The newly minted law frees Oakland renters from being constrained to their landlord’s preferred ISP by prohibiting owners of multiple occupancy buildings from interfering with an occupant’s ability to receive service from the communications provider of their choice.

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Net Neutrality

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Net neutrality is the principle that the company that your Internet Service Provider does not get to control what you do on the Internet, and that an Internet user should be able to access all content and applications equally, without discrimination by the ISP.*  This applies to everyone, including emergency first responders, teachers and students, city administrators, doctors and patients, and small businesses and their customers.

When the federal government eliminated net neutrality protections, California passed its own net neutrality legislation. 

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Amici Filed in Defense of Open Technology Foundation

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Media Alliance joined an amici (friend of the court brief) filed in the case of Open Technology Foundation vs David Pack (and the Trump Administration). Trump appointee Pack disbanded the entire board of OTF which creates and maintains encrypted software tools like Signal and Lets Encrypt, an open source website security protocol.

In an early win, the board was recently temporarily reinstated, overturning an earlier decision on appeal, but the lawsuit is still winding its way through the courts for a final determination.

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Media Alliance comments on Section 230

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Media Alliance filed these joint comments with Global Exchange on behalf of the Protest Facebook section in the FCC’s proceeding on Section 230 of the Telecom Act.

Section 230 exempts online platforms from liability for their content. It is one of the pillars of the Internet that has allowed alternative content to thrive on the Internet. And in an era of disinformation, we are seeing the dark side of freedom from liability.

Media Alliance categorically rejects that Section 230 should be abolished or ended. Just as categorically, we believe that tempered regulation of online platforms to address the viral spread of disinformation and online hatred is called for.

Here are the comments we submitted to the FCC.

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