Al Franken On Net Neutrality: ‘First Amendment Issue Of Our Time’

When you think the First Amendment, do you ever think about the ability to use the internet with no holds barred?

For U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), the issue of internet freedom has become a rallying cry in recent months and he took his message one step further Tuesday (July 8) when he said the proposed law was the “First Amendment issue of our time.”

For background, you need to first understand what net neutrality is. SaveTheInternet.com puts it into layman’s terms:

“On May 15, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission proposed rules that would allow rampant discrimination online.

“Under these rules, telecom giants like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon would be able to create a two-tiered Internet, with fast lanes for those who can afford it and dirt roads for the rest of us. These companies would have the power to pick winners and losers online and discriminate against online content and applications. And no one would be able to do anything about it.”

These are the rules that Franken said are a threat to a typical American’s right to free speech and a free Internet.

The Hill reported on Franken’s comments Tuesday to a Capitol Hill Forum hosted by Free Press, the same organization behind SaveTheInternet.com.

“‘It is absolutely the First Amendment issue of our time,’ Franken said….

“‘Do we want deep-pocketed corporations controlling what information you get at what speed?’ he added.

“Franken, who has been a critical supporter of the concept of net neutrality, said that other members of Congress simply don’t understand the way the Internet works.

“‘This has been the architecture of the Internet from the beginning, and everyone should understand that,’ he said.

“‘Some of my colleagues in the Congress don’t understand that…. You just want to go “Oh, come on,”‘ Franken said. ‘”Really, don’t get up and talk unless you know something.”‘”

The issue of net neutrality is one drawing some bi-partisan support, with The Hill reporting that some Republicans have said they are against further net neutrality regulations.

The fight over net neutrality has been brewing for some time, with The Inquisitr reporting last month on a monologue delivered not long after John Oliver started hosting his HBO program “Last Week Tonight.”

On the program, Oliver very clearly explained what he said the program with the FCC making the rules and the support it is getting by the big cable/Internet providers.

“The guy who used to run with the cable industry’s lobbying arm is now tasked with the agency tasked with regulating it. That is the equivalent of needing a babysitter and hiring a dingo.”

[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]