Coming off the Republican and Democratic National Conventions and with the Presidential election just over a month away, it is clear that both parties are paying attention to the importance of Internet freedom.
Just this week, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), came together from opposite sides of the political spectrum to pen an Op-Ed about the economic importance of Internet Freedom. It is a rarity during these partisan times for an issue to emerge with such strong support from the right, the left, and the center.
Both parties have begun to recognize the importance of Internet freedom. For the first time ever, both parties explicitly included Internet policy into their official party platforms. The Republican platform was particularly strong, reading in part, “The Internet has unleashed innovation, enabled growth, and inspired freedom more rapidly and extensively than any other technological advance in human history. Its independence is its power.”
President Obama participated in an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit and fielded a variety of questions, including some about Internet policy. Obama took this opportunity to preview the party’s platform on maintaining Internet freedom. During the one-hour, interactive session, Obama stated, “We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody – from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business.”
That message of freedom is why we are partnering with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian next month to launch “Internet 2012,” a ten city campaign-style bus tour promoting the beneficial impacts of a free and open Internet on jobs, economic growth and opportunity in communities across America’s heartland.
The tour kicks off in Denver, CO, on the day of the first presidential debate and concludes at the vice-presidential debate in Danville, KY. Along the way, we will be speaking to small business owners and entrepreneurs, highlighting examples of the Internet on Main Street.
Just as important, we will be inviting candidates for public office to town hall meetings with Internet voters – the hundreds of thousands of workers in the Internet economy and the millions of users who care about and have a stake in the future of the Internet. Politicians of all stripes need to hear directly from these voters and Internet voters want to know where their elected representatives stand on the issues.
Stay tuned for more details to come on this exciting event.
Important issues lay ahead when it comes to protecting Internet freedom. It is up to the online community to mobilize, join the conversation, and help educate Congress on how to navigate through these tough issues. We hope you’ll join us.