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The Chamber of Commerce's Agenda: Killing Net Neutrality and Censoring the Internet

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With Aaron Swartz

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's attempt to throw next week's elections is cause for widespread alarm -- their agenda includes privatizing social security, undoing worker and consumer rights, blocking environmental protections, keeping banking regulations loose, and stymieing important health care reforms.

You can help Demand Progress fight back by
signing on to our campaign that calls on local chambers of commerce to disaffiliate from the U.S. Chamber.
The movement's already begun, with one New Hampshire chapter breaking off, and several others publicly distancing themselves from the national's shenanigans.

But if the Chamber's determination to implement a million regressive changes to our economy, social programs, and regulatory structures isn't enough to inspire you to fight back, there are at least two extra reasons why the Netroots and anybody who visits sites like this one should be especially infuriated by the Chamber's power-grab.

1. The Chamber wants to undermine Net Neutrality. For instance, it released a white paper asserting its opposition to "A variety of proposals [that] have been put forward to regulate the broadband sector under the guise of making the physical infrastructure more 'neutral' to the data flowing over it."

Earlier this year, it issued this statement, praising a recent court decision that asserts that the FCC has no power to enforce Net Neutrality:

It's good to see the D.C. Circuit clearly restate that the FCC's authority is limited to what Congress gives them," said William L. Kovacs, senior vice president for Environment, Technology, and Regulatory Affairs at the U.S. Chamber. "The Chamber hopes the FCC will stay on a sensible course to promote investment in competitive networks, which is the best way to preserve an open Internet.

2. The Chamber supports the Internet Blacklist bill that we told you about last month -- the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA). COICA vastly expands the government's ability to block access to certain websites -- in ways that run roughshod over due process rights and violate the First Amendment.

COICA came dangerously close to passing the Senate before Congress broke for the elections, but our organizing against it was (at least temporarily) successful. We expect it to come up again soon: last week the Chamber sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chair Pat Leahy demanding that he pass the bill during the lame duck session. You can help us fight COICA by joining the nearly 250,000 people who've signed our anti-COICA petition.

As everybody reading this already knows, as the corporatists accrue further power and gain more control over the airwaves and other modes of communication, the sorts of organizing and information dissemination that take place on the Internet will grow ever more vital to the workings of our democracy. It's imperative that we maintain an open, public Internet.

Will you help us send a message to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce? Fight back by urging your local chamber of commerce to sever its ties with national.