It seems like a month can’t go by with a telecom promising to protect free speech on one hand, and then violating it on the other. The latest example comes from Verizon, which blocked a request from Naral Pro-Choice to send text messages to its supporters. Verizon said it doesn’t allow issue oriented programs to use its network. But when its denial became public in late September, Verizon reversed its course. Here’s a full rundown from the New York Times.
Verizon’s transgression comes after ATT censored Pearl Jam’s political statements during a webcast of the band’s Lollapalooza show in Chicago. These moves are significant violations of free speech, but they also call into question the telecoms’ commitment to remaining unbiased arbiters of Internet content. After all, they want to be put in charge of prioritizing web traffic. If Verizon can’t be trusted to deliver a simple text message without censorship, why should they be trusted to determine which web sites have the best service? Verizon’s actions strongly make the case for net neutrality. Pearl Jam, REM, Boots Riley and many others have joined Rock the Net the campaign for net neutrality. For more on the campaign, go here.