"We wanna be free! We wanna be free to do what we wanna do. We wanna be free to surf the net. We wanna be free to visit websites and access information freely without being hassled by The Man!"
It seems fitting to paraphrase the recently deceased actor Peter Fonda, whose character Heavenly Blues utters the above (slightly-modified) famous monologue in 1966's biker b-movie The Wild Angels. While not as popular as Fonda's Easy Rider, which would speed and burn rubber into theaters 3 years later in 1969, the themes of an individual's freedom still rings out in both.
Users of the "Information Superhighway", a.k.a The Internet, were dealt a blow to their freedoms last year with the repeal of Net Neutrality rules and laws by the FCC.
Again, for a quick refresher or those out of the know: In its simplest terms, Net Neutrality is the basic principle that prohibits internet service providers from speeding up, slowing down, or blocking any content, applications, or websites you want to use. It preserves everyone's right to communicate freely online.
With an election year forthcoming in 2020, net neutrality proponents have already begun to challenge presidential candidates to sign pledges to restore open internet rules and to not accept campaign contributions from the broadband industry and its lobbyists.
As part of Banned Books Week, today is Banned Websites Awareness Day, which strives to bring attention to the overly restrictive blocking of legitimate, educational websites and academically useful social networking tools in schools and school libraries. Other partner organizations familiar with the fight against censorship include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF).
As a library, we have and will always advocate for the "comprehensive collection of recorded knowledge, ideas, artistic expression, and information in a variety of media, including current technology..."
Our Digital Learning Portal provides access to databases full of resources to help promote critical thinking and teach information literacy skills. Our Digital Media Portal provides access to ebooks, audiobooks, and streaming movies and music, all at the swipe of a touchscreen or virtual button press on any number of electronic devices.
And in an age of new online account breaches every day, we respect your privacy and consent in regards to your personal information.
If you have used a computer or our free Wi-Fi with your own electronic device at a neighborhood library and were unable to access a particular website or content that you think should not have been blocked, let us know in the comments, or please use our Contact Us form.
Without net neutrality, corporations and internet service providers have the power of censorship at their fingertips. Everyone should be able to access information on the web without hindrance or censorship.