Net neutrality. A bland phrase capable of sparking a digital revolt.
In the United States it’s the hot-button Internet issue of the day, a threat deemed so grave to free expression it gave rise to a stunning right-left coalition and galvanized celebrities and rock icons like REM with church groups, rights groups, academics, the CEOs of Google and Amazon, web pioneers Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee and the 1.5 million Americans who sent a petition to Congress. (Not to mention providing the raison d’être for this hip short film primer on the topic.)
In Canada, on the other hand, the latest count on Kevin McArthur’s online net neutrality petition clocks in at, well, a paltry 217 signatures.
Today I’m embarrassed to be a Canadian. We should be ashamed of ourselves for letting this happen. This is an example of the kind of behaviour that will keep us in the business of digging stuff out of the ground and nothing more. This is not the kind of policy that will result in a vibrant Canadian new media culture. Given that everything is becoming more and more digital, this means that we will not have a vibrant Canadian culture. Anyone who has any interest in this country should pay attention to this issue and oppose throttling in any form.