Tech

Free Press and NTEN con nonprofits into supporting net neutrality

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Mike Riggs
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      Mike Riggs

      Mike Riggs is a staff writer at The Daily Caller. He has written and reported for Reason magazine and reason.com, GQ, the Awl, Decibel, Culture 11, the Philadelphia Bulletin, and the Washington City Paper, where he served as an arts and entertainment editor.

A representative for NTEN could not be reached for comment, but the news item currently leading NTEN’s homepage suggests that the big telecommunications companies are going to take away NTEN members’ internet access like, tomorrow. Entitled “What DON’T You Need the Internet For?“, the item says that “if the FCC doesn’t succeed in reasserting its authority, we may lose our open Internet — and millions more will just lose out on the Internet, period. We need clear rules of the road that will preserve the Internet and its potential to continue to fuel innovation and economic growth, and allow non-profit organizations to work for social change.”

Interestingly, groups like Free Press and NTEN like to publicly denounce letters with questionable signatories. In 2009, Ars Technica pointed to a letter that was supposedly authored by a group of senior citizens who supposedly had written Congress to oppose net neutrality. The group “forgot to strip out the ‘XYZ organization’ and replace the text with its own name,” reports Ars Technica, which caught wind of the letter from Free Press. “It’s unclear who was behind the letter, but it certainly looks like evidence of anti-neutrality forces rounding up an odd collection of allies on this issue,” wrote Ars’ Matthew Lasar.

Incidentally, it was just last month that Free Press, NTEN’s closest ally, was revealed to have written a letter that someone else (Democratic Rep. Jay Inslee) was circulating as his own thoughts.

McKinney isn’t sure where he stands on net neutrality, but thinks the Dr. Pepper Museum might be a signatory on the wrong letter. When The Daily Caller told McKinney that the Internet is not currently regulated in the same way that other forms of communication are, the proprietor of the Dr. Pepper Museum interjected, “– and thank god for that!”

When The Daily Caller explained that Title II reclassification would bring the Internet under the regulatory control of the FCC, as well as detailed some of the other ideas that Free Press is pushing in Washington, McKinney’s voice turned into a whisper. “Oh no. That isn’t good. Maybe somebody punched the wrong button? We’re the Dr. Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute. I think someone has usurped us on this.”