American Library Association (ALA) President Julie B. Todaro made the following statement on April 26 in response to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to roll back net neutrality:
“ALA and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) firmly believe that preserving an open internet is essential to all Americans’ freedom of speech, educational achievement, and economic growth. Now that the internet has become one of the primary mechanisms for delivering information, services, and applications to the general public, and the primary means of collaboration and doing business, it is especially important that commercial internet service providers not be able to unilaterally control or manipulate the content of these communications. Those with information needs should not have to have their search delayed while companies with deeper pockets pay to have their content delivered first. For example, a researcher in Kansas should be able to access and share digital files from the Smithsonian or other nonprofit digital collection as easily as a commercial content provider with deep pockets.
“The FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order well defines an appropriate set of rules to ensure the long-standing principle of nondiscrimination in all forms of broadband access to the internet. That’s why it was supported by literally millions of individual, academic, and corporate commenters in unprecedented numbers and subsequently affirmed by a federal court. We are deeply dismayed that Chairman Pai has said he wants to eliminate the internet conduct standard, which will greatly hinder the FCC’s ability to protect consumers. And we are distressed by this announced attempt to vacate the 2015 Open Internet Order. ALA and ACRL will continue to fight aggressively against internet discrimination and will spare no effort to preserve equitable access to internet services for all of our millions of library users.”