Internet, Unite!

An interview with We Are the Web's Riley Kane

| July 2007


The internet today is an information utopia. High-traffic giants like Google and eBay coexist peacefully with tiny blogs nobody reads. Netizens can access the arcane and low-budget just as easily as they can flashy, spendy sites.

But such freedom of access may not last: A contingent led by the telecommunications industry is lobbying to change the face of the internet by transforming it from an information highway to an information tollway.

These industry efforts fly in the face of the principle of 'net neutrality,' which contends that internet service providers should treat all websites equally. According to net neutrality advocates, service providers like Verizon and AT&T shouldn't be able to charge a premium for faster services.If the telecom companies are allowed ignore the principals of net neutrality, service providers could end up taxing websites and email, in effect creating a 'tiered' internet that favors websites with the money to pay for such services over the little guys that give the blogosphere its character. Some argue that telecoms could even block some content altogether based on who's sending it, what it is, or where it's going.

Not surprisingly, netizens are not eager to let their beloved internet fall into the hands of big business. Organizations like We Are the Web are sounding the alarm and letting folks know what they can do to keep the internet neutral. We Are the Web has tapped the creative possibilities of online media to deliver its message with a fun series music videos featuring internet-borne 'celebrities.' ?Each celebrity also gives a touching testimonial explaining what's at stake in the net neutrality fight. WeAreTheWeb.org has gained wide acclaim and was nominated for a 2007 Webby Award, one of the most prestigious awards on the internet.



Utne.com spoke with Riley Kane, cocreator of We Are the Web, about the music video, net neutrality, and what people can do to help.


How'd you come to make a music video about net neutrality?