Verizon’s Blocking Content is a Cry for Government Action on Net Neutrality, Free Speech Advocates are Feeling the Big Chill

September 27, 2007 12:00 am

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Washington, DC –- The American Civil Liberties Union said that Verizon’s actions to block political speech in text messages do not bode well for free speech. While the ACLU appreciates that Verizon immediately changed course and allowed the speech after public outcry, Director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office Caroline Fredrickson said, “this is exactly why we need the Government’s leadership on net neutrality for a free and open marketplace of ideas to continue to thrive in this country.”

“The Verizon scare is a cautionary tale. Text messaging is an important venue for free speech for political organizations and non-profits, especially groups trying to reach younger generations.” she added.

ACLU legislative Counsel Marvin Johnson said, “If private companies can control what we see, hear, and say over “their” networks, in a world that runs on the Internet, free speech is lost.”

Johnson added that this fire drill with Verizon blocking text messaging content is an example of what will happen more and more often with convergence. A few corporate titans will decide what we all see and hear.

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