Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke issued the following statement on the decision in Verizon v. F.C.C., which could undermine the security of American families and limit free speech on the Internet by allowing Internet providers to discriminate between websites, offering faster service for some and slower service for others.
The decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will allow Internet providers such as Time Warner and Verizon to charge websites for faster service, providing other websites with substantially slower service that effectively prevents access for users. Before the decision, the F.C.C. had required Internet providers to provide the same level of service for every website, referred to as “net neutrality.”
“The principle of net neutrality has implications not only for our ability to access news and entertainment, but also for the security of our families. In Hurricane Sandy and in other national disasters, people have used social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook to share safety information and to communicate with friends and family members. We cannot risk the access to the Internet on which our security depends,” said Congresswoman Clarke, a member of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications.
Congressman Clarke continued: “I also have serious concerns about the effect of this decision on the discourse critical to our politics. In effect, Time Warner could limit access to websites that support Democrats or Verizon could limit access to websites that support Republicans. As members of a democracy, we depend on free speech to develop our ideas, and to share these ideas with other people. I believe we should have free speech on the Internet.”
U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke is a member of the House Committee on Small Business, Ethics, and Homeland Security, where she is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies. She represents many neighborhoods in central and southern Brooklyn, NY which include Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, parts of Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.