access to the internet

From: Donat Agosti <agosti_at_AMNH.ORG>
Date: Tue, 30 May 2006 16:05:46 +0200

Though this is not just the subject of selfarchiving, it is at the base
of its unfolding and success. Thus, the two mails and call for attention,
if not actions, ought be read by anybody interested in the real of making
use of the internet for such important issues as open access and building
up global knowledgbases and archives.


Subject: Big Win for Internet Freedom

From:    "Josh Silver," <>

Date:    Fri, May 26, 2006 8:34






Thanks to your thousands of calls and letters, we took a major step
forward this week in the fight for Internet freedom.


A bipartisan majority on the House Judiciary Committee yesterday passed
the "Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act" -- a good bill that
would use antitrust law to protect Network Neutrality. Special thanks to
those of you who called the key members who cast the deciding votes.


The question before us is simple: Will the Internet remain in the hands
of users and innovators? Or will a handful of telephone and cable
companies determine which Web sites you see and which you don't?
Yesterday's vote -- a milestone for our movement -- would have been
unthinkable just three weeks ago.

But we've shown once again that organized people can defeat powerful


Our opponents spent untold millions on high-priced lobbyists, slick ad
campaigns and fake grassroots groups. But the voices of hundreds of
thousands of citizens -- your voices -- made the difference.


The Coalition led by Free Press now boasts nearly 700
groups that span the political spectrum, including, the
Christian Coalition, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU),
Gun Owners of America, Consumers Union and the American Library
Association. Thousands of blogs have taken up our cause. Yesterday, the
coalition's petition drive surpassed 750,000 signatures.


Our top priority is increasing the number of people who know about this
threat to Internet freedom.


One thing you can do right now: Get five friends to join the fight. Go to


The struggle in Congress isn't over. The full House will take up the
bipartisan Judiciary bill (H.R. 5417) -- as well as the massive rewrite
of the Telecom Act -- after they return in June.

The Senate is also considering major legislation that currently fails to
protect Net Neutrality, though a bipartisan group of Senators are lining
up behind the excellent Snowe-Dorgan bill (S. 2917).


Our work is not done. But momentum is on our side.


We couldn't have done it without you.




Josh Silver

Executive Director

Free Press


You can do more:


1. If you haven't done so already, sign the petition
and send a message to Congress. Go to


2. Check out the latest news on the blog. Go to


3. Learn the facts. Read our new report: Why Consumers Demand Internet
Freedom. Go to


Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.


If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for the Free
Press at:


This message was sent to To modify your email
communication preferences or update your personal profile, visit your
subscription management page at:


To stop receiving E-Activist Network, unsubscribe using the following


To stop ALL email from Free Press, reply via email with "remove"

in the subject line or use the following link:




The second is an op/ed from today New York Time


The New York Times


Editorial Observer


Why the Democratic Ethic of the World Wide Web May Be About to End














Published: May 28, 2006


The World Wide Web is the most democratic mass medium there has ever
been. Freedom of the press, as the saying goes, belongs only to those who
own one. Radio and television are controlled by those rich enough to buy
a broadcast license. But anyone with an Internet-connected computer can
reach out to a potential audience of billions.


This democratic Web did not just happen. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the British
computer scientist who invented the Web in 1989, envisioned a platform on
which everyone in the world could communicate on an equal basis. But his
vision is being threatened by telecommunications and cable companies, and
other Internet service providers, that want to impose a new system of
fees that could create a hierarchy of Web sites. Major corporate sites
would be able to pay the new fees, while little-guy sites could be shut


Sir Tim, who keeps a low profile, has begun speaking out in favor of "net
neutrality," rules requiring that all Web sites remain equal on the Web.
Corporations that stand to make billions if they can push tiered pricing
through have put together a slick lobbying and marketing campaign. But
Sir Tim and other supporters of net neutrality are inspiring growing
support from Internet users across the political spectrum who are
demanding that Congress preserve the Web in its current form.


The Web, which Sir Tim invented as a scientist at CERN, the European
nuclear physics institute, is often confused with the Internet. But like
e-mail, the Web runs over the system of interconnected computer networks
known as the Internet. Sir Tim created the Web in a decentralized way
that allowed anyone with a computer to connect to it and begin receiving
and sending information.


That open architecture is what has allowed for the extraordinary growth
of Internet commerce and communication. Pierre Omidyar, a small-time
programmer working out of his home office, was able to set up an online
auction site that anyone in the world could reach &#8212; which became
eBay. The blogging phenomenon is possible because individuals can create
Web sites with the World Wide Web prefix, www, that can be seen by anyone
with Internet access.


Last year, the chief executive of what is now AT&T sent shock waves
through cyberspace when he asked why Web sites should be able to "use my
pipes free." Internet service providers would like to be able to charge
Web sites for access to their customers. Web sites that could not pay the
new fees would be accessible at a slower speed, or perhaps not be
accessible at all.


A tiered Internet poses a threat at many levels. Service providers could,
for example, shut out Web sites whose politics they dislike. Even if they
did not discriminate on the basis of content, access fees would
automatically marginalize smaller, poorer Web sites.


Consider online video, which depends on the availability of higher-speed
connections. Internet users can now watch channels, like BBC World, that
are not available on their own cable systems, and they have access to
video blogs and Web sites like, where people upload videos of
their own creation. Under tiered pricing, Internet users might be able to
get videos only from major corporate channels.


Sir Tim expects that there are great Internet innovations yet to come,
many involving video. He believes people at the scene of an accident
&#8212; or a political protest &#8212; will one day be able to take
pictures with their cellphones that could be pieced together to create a
three-dimensional image of what happened. That sort of innovation could
be blocked by fees for the high-speed connections required to relay video


The companies fighting net neutrality have been waging a misleading
campaign, with the slogan "hands off the Internet," that tries to look
like a grass-roots effort to protect the Internet in its current form.
What they actually favor is stopping the government from protecting the
Internet, so they can get their own hands on it.


But the other side of the debate has some large corporate backers, too,
like Google and Microsoft, which could be hit by access fees since they
depend on the Internet service providers to put their sites on the Web.
It also has support from political groups of all persuasions. The
president of the Christian Coalition, which is allied with on
this issue, recently asked, "What if a cable company with a pro-choice
board of directors decides that it doesn't like a pro-life organization
using its high-speed network to encourage pro-life activities?"


Forces favoring a no-fee Web have been gaining strength. One group,, says it has collected more than 700,000 signatures
on a petition. Last week, a bipartisan bill favoring net neutrality,
sponsored by James Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin, and John
Conyers Jr., Democrat of Michigan, won a surprisingly lopsided vote in
the House Judiciary Committee.


Sir Tim argues that service providers may be hurting themselves by
pushing for tiered pricing. The Internet's extraordinary growth has been
fueled by the limitless vistas the Web offers surfers, bloggers and
downloaders. Customers who are used to the robust, democratic Web may not
pay for one that is restricted to wealthy corporate content providers.


"That's not what we call Internet at all," says Sir Tim. "That's what we
call cable TV."


Dr. Donat Agosti

Science Consultant

Research Associate, American Museum of Natural History and Naturmuseum
der Burgergemeinde Bern



Skype: agostileu


Dalmaziquai 45

3005 Bern


+41-31-351 7152

Received on Tue May 30 2006 - 16:02:29 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:48:21 GMT