You’ve probably heard that Verizon censored text messages sent by the pro-choice group NARAL. They claim it was a glitch. And they feel really, really bad about it.
Sorry, Verizon. That’s not good enough. This is just the latest example in the long list of phone company efforts to block, filter or interfere with the free flow of information over 21st century communications networks.
In August, AT&T censored a live webcast of a Pearl Jam concert just as lead singer Eddie Vedder criticized President Bush. AT&T said it was a glitch.
Both Verizon and AT&T illegally handed over private customer phone records to the National Security Agency. The phone companies first denied it and then started a secret campaign with the White House to gain immunity from any lawsuits.
This pattern of abuse shows that powerful phone companies cannot be trusted to safeguard our basic freedoms. The democratic principles of free speech and open communication are too important to be entrusted to corporate gatekeepers. Whether it’s liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, pro-choice or pro-gun, the phone companies can’t pick and choose what messages get through.
Censorship by AT&T and Verizon shows us what we can expect in a future where these network gatekeepers gain control over the free flow of information. Congress must reaffirm its commitment to free speech on the Internet, on cell phones, on our airwaves — everywhere!
We’ve had it with phony apologies from phone companies. Congress must act now to protect free speech and the free flow of information.
Thank you for all that you do,
1. Spread the word. Tell your friends about this important campaign.
2. Support our work by contributing to the Free Press Action Fund today.
3. See what people are saying about Verizon’s recent efforts to block text messaging at the Free Press Action Network and SavetheInternet.com.