Doctorow: reign in ISPs to foster innovation

Writing for The Guardian, Cory Doctorow explains why net neutrality is essential and dispells myths about billing to show us we need a free and open Internet to allow for innovation:

Take filtering: by allowing ISPs to silently block access to sites that displease them, we invite all the ills that accompany censorship – Telus, a Canadian telcom that blocked access to a site established by its striking workers where they were airing their grievances. Around the world, ISPs co-operate with censorious governments in their mission to keep their citizens in the dark: for example, ISPs in the United Arab Emirates are blocking access to stories about a UAE royal family member who was video-recorded torturing a merchant with whom he had a business dispute. As a matter of policy, Transport for London isn’t allowed to block us from riding the tube to a rally in support of striking transit workers; British Gas doesn’t turn our heat off if they suspect we’re housing a benefits cheat; and BT doesn’t divert our phone calls if we’re ringing up a competitor to change carriers. Giving an ISP censorship powers — and then layering censorship in secrecy and arbitrariness — we make the internet a less trustworthy and less useful place to be.

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