As the push for creating strong net neutrality rules here in the United States grows with millions of Americans voicing their support, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that net neutrality has quickly blossomed in the global open Internet debate.
Around the world, the Internet has fostered freedom of expression, access to knowledge, and a host of other opportunities, and the issue of protecting net neutrality is in its prime. From Latin America, to Europe, to the Middle East and North Africa, to Sub-Saharan Africa, to Asia-Pacific, and everywhere in between, digital rights organizations and advocates are fighting to maintain (and for some, create) an open Internet for all.
This Monday, Public Knowledge proudly joined more than 35 groups (Access, Derechos Digitales, European Digital Rights, Kenya ICT Network, Network Neutrality User Forum of Korea, Social Media Exchange, and more) from 19 countries to launch a website for a new Global Coalition for Net Neutrality at www.thisisnetneutrality.org.
The creation of this diverse global coalition clearly signals that net neutrality is just as essential for countries with robust Internet infrastructure as it is for those still building infrastructure. Even with the wide range of differences from country to country surrounding the legal, technical, and economic frameworks that foster or harm net neutrality, the diverse coalition has come to a common understanding of what net neutrality is. Simply put,
“Net neutrality requires that the Internet must be maintained as an open platform, on which network providers treat all content, applications and services equally, without discrimination.”
The Global Net Neutrality Coalition provides this definition in a dozen languages, including Spanish, French, Arabic, and Chinese, in order to make clear what our groups mean when we say we are fighting for net neutrality.
In fighting for net neutrality in local, national, and international contexts in the coming months and years, www.thisisnetneutrality.org will grow to become an important resource hub of informational materials and updates about net neutrality laws, policies, and advocacy efforts in various countries. By becoming a central resource on the global fight for net neutrality, www.thisisnetneutrality.org will help users, policymakers, activists, technologists, and others from the United States and around the world make informed decisions on behalf of the open Internet.
One example of a future resource on this website is a coalition report on the state of net neutrality in more than 18 countries and regions. Public Knowledge contributed to the crowdsourced final report, which is expected to launch in early 2015.
Creating and maintaining an open Internet is crucial for everyone. We anticipate that www.thisisnetneutrality.org will play an important role in the fight for global net neutrality.