ACLU of RI executive director Steven Brown issued the following statement today in response to Governor Raimondo’s issuance of an executive order requiring all internet service providers seeking contracts with the State to adhere to “net neutrality” principles:
“The ACLU applauds Governor Raimondo for taking this critical step towards insuring free speech and freedom from censorship. In this day and age, few of us can imagine getting through the day without the internet. Until recently, federal rules allowed us to take for granted that the information we have access to is open and equal to all. With the FCC vote to dismantle these critical "net neutrality" rules, the onus now rests on states to protect us. Few realize that net neutrality is critically important to free speech. It mandates that internet service providers provide non-discriminatory access to the internet, and prohibits them from picking and choosing the information that is made available and the speed that that information is delivered. Net neutrality ensures that the internet is treated like the public utility that it is – much like the phone company. We commend Governor Raimondo for taking a stand to protect free speech and access to information in Rhode Island."