Today, American Library Association (ALA) President Barbara Stripling responded to today’s introduction the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act of 2014. Introduced by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), the net neutrality bill would prohibit Internet service providers from giving preferential treatment to the traffic of online content, applications, services, or devices.
Stripling is rallying librarians to support the legislation:
An open and innovative Internet is essential to our nation’s freedom of speech, educational achievement and economic growth. Librarians in public, school, and academic libraries are dedicated to preserving the free flow of information over the public Internet, which is why the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act of 2014 is vitally important to preserving this cherished freedom. The American Library Association enthusiastically endorses the bill.
The Internet must continue to serve as a primary, open platform for information exchange, intellectual discourse, civic engagement, creativity, research, innovation, teaching and learning. The beauty of the open Internet is that every individual or entity, including libraries, can be both users and providers of information and Internet content. Unfortunately, paid prioritization allows only those who can pay more to maximize the Internet’s many benefits. We are deeply concerned that public broadband providers have financial incentives to interfere with the openness of the Internet by granting favorable transmission to their affiliated content providers or by discriminating against particular Internet applications based on the content of the information or the type of service being provided.
The ALA remains steadfastly committed to the Open Internet. We will work collaboratively with libraries and educational institutions nationwide to advocate for strong public policies enforce network neutrality and prohibit paid prioritization. It is critical for all to have equitable access to the Internet to support our nation’s social, cultural, educational and economic well-being.