To the editor: Secretary of State supports net neutrality

Open and unfettered access to information is critical to a functioning democracy. The Federal Communications Commission’s decision to upend net neutrality is a major blow to our democratic ideals of open information access and free speech, allowing corporations to restrict what information Americans are able to access, and how they’re able to access it. This is a clear affront to personal freedom and the ability of all Americans to access the informational, educational and social resources of the internet without interference.

The Secretary of State’s office provides open access to government information through the secretary’s website, including information on campaign finance filings, historic election results, and professional license holders, among other information and resources. The internet is a key transparency tool that the public has a right to access in an unencumbered and unrestricted manner.

The FCC’s repeal of net neutrality rules is expected to be challenged in court. Vermont Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders have joined Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey and a number of other senators in a plan to introduce a Congressional Review Act resolution that would overturn last week’s decision by the FCC. Additionally, Vermont Rep. Peter Welch said in an official statement that he will soon join colleagues on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to introduce legislation to reverse this decision.

I thank — and stand with — Vermont’s congressional delegation taking direct steps to protect Vermonters’ right to open information access from the interests of big broadband companies. Allowing big broadband companies to pick and choose what information they want to put a premium on for the sake of profits is a disgrace to our democratic values.

Jim Condos
Secretary of State
Vermont

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