Technology

Make the Internet a Priority, Groups Say to Political Parties

By / Jun 9, 2016 (iStock/Thinkstock)

A diverse coalition of advocacy groups is calling on the heads of the Republican and Democratic national committees to include internet access as an essential part of their party platforms.

Election season is quickly gaining momentum as both the Democratic and Republican parties are fine-tuning their party platforms ahead of their conventions in July.

And the internet has to remain a priority, a new coalition says to U.S. party leaders.

“Today, access to the internet is essential, not a luxury,” stated a letter sent by nearly 20 groups [PDF] to the heads of the Republican and Democratic national committees.

The Hill reports that the letters, sent to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, are pushing for political party platforms to include universal access to a free, open internet with privacy rights.

“As the process of developing your platforms continues, we believe it is vital that platform committees both understand the perspectives of the communities we advocate for and recognize how a free, open, and accessible internet supports so many of your policy goals,” the groups declared.

The letters were sent in advance of Monday’s meeting between the RNC and technology and telecommunications groups, U.S. News and World Report states, as the two parties held meetings organizing their platforms this week.

Internet for All

Come election day, these groups don’t want the internet to be swept under the carpet.

Some of the groups taking part in the effort—including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Center for Democracy and Technology, Free Press, Public Knowledge, and New America’s Open Technology Institute—aren’t too surprising, as they’ve traditionally supported an open internet.

But other groups that signed the letter—like the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Native Public Media, the Center for Rural Strategies, and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance—have more diverse interests.

“Students across the country rely on it to advance their education, and adults use it to find jobs, start new businesses, and participate in our democracy,” the groups wrote of the internet’s importance.

“A free and open internet is an engine of economic growth, healthcare modernization, and social movements and change, and it is crucial that we protect the personal information and rights of all Americans to communicate.”

The groups offered their expertise to each party on three pivotal issues: expanding universal and affordable internet access, preserving the openness of the internet, and ensuring online privacy and security.

“The policies that will ensure all Americans can leverage such a critical tool should be elements of both parties’ platforms, and the communities we represent must be part of the conversation in developing these policy planks.”

Patrick deHahn

Patrick deHahn is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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