11 August 2016

The Internet’s New Gatekeepers? Net Neutrality and Libraries

Net Neutrality is the term used to describe the principle by which all traffic over internet connections – films, music, documents – is treated in a non-discriminatory way. It is compromised when service providers seek to give preference, unfairly, to one source or type of traffic over another, effectively restricting choice and determining which parts of the internet people will find easiest to use. Inevitably, the most powerful will be better placed to optimise the performance of their content.

For libraries, whose mission is to give access to knowledge equitably, the idea that access should be controlled or made harder for reasons which have nothing to do with fundamental rights is a worrying one.

In an open session organised jointly by IFLA's advisory committees on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE) and on Copyright and other Legal Matters (CLM), participants at WLIC2016 heard more about what net neutrality is, what it means for librarians and library workers, and IFLA's new statement.

Speakers included:

  • Corynne McSherry, Electronic Frontier Foundation, United States (presentation)
  • Amélie Vallotton, Globethics.net and FAIFE member, Switzerland (presentation)
  • Tomas A. Lipinski, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and CLM member, United States (presentation)
  • Stephen Wyber, IFLA (presentation)

A set of tools for promoting and using the statement will appear in the coming months. For more information, please contact us.

FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression), Access to information, Access to knowledge, Internet access, Net Neutrality

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