This week, businesses, information providers and civil liberties groups decried the federal court ruling to strike down net neutrality, the principle that prohibited internet service providers from blocking web traffic, giving preferential treatment to certain Internet services or applications, and steering users away from certain web sites based on their own commercial interests.
The American Library Association (ALA) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) were vocally opposed to the court ruling. In a statement, ARL President Carol Pitts Diedrichs stated:
The intellectual freedom that libraries, colleges, and universities have long championed would be threatened if network operators act as gatekeepers, bar access to competing or nonprofit voices, or relegate unpopular or non-commercial expression to the Internet’s slow lanes. We look forward to working with the FCC in considering the avenues available to ensure effective network neutrality and open Internet rules going forward.
Additionally, ALA President Barbara Stripling stated:
The ability of the Internet to spread and share ideas is only getting better. With modern technology, individuals and small groups can produce rich audio and video resources that used to be the exclusive domain of large companies. We must work to ensure that these resources are not relegated to second-class delivery on the Internet — or else the intellectual freedoms fostered by the Internet will be seriously constrained. ALA will work with policy-makers and explore every avenue possible to restore the long-standing principle of nondiscrimination to all forms of broadband access to the Internet.
As long-time partners, both library organizations look forward to working together on net neutrality in the future.