Over the last five years, Internet users have been increasingly vocal about Internet policy. In 2011, the SOPA/PIPA debate and ensuing Internet blackout led by major Internet companies such as Google halted Congressional action. In 2015, the FCC adopted network neutrality policy in part due to public comment. This time, comedian and satirist John Oliver took the lead with a scathing commentary. Clearly, Internet users are interested in Internet policy and influence policymakers. Rather than taking the lead of business and the media, the AIU offers a user led and driven Internet policy process that voices user concerns.
AIU empowers users through education and advocacy on four key Internet freedoms:
· Access: the freedom to get online including smartphone, tablet, or computer access; broadband internet access, and basic Internet and technology literacy.
· Association: the freedom to choose to connect and communicate or not with other users
· Expression: the freedom to speak or make online
· Sharing: the freedom to choose how information about you or your expression is held or used by others
Internet users have many ideas about these freedoms and the AIU provides a public platform for discussion and debate. Regular member polling on Internet issues establishes the AIU’s policy positions. Like Internet users, the AIU sometimes expresses contradictory positions by issuing minority reports. All AIU positions are developed and written by members.
The AIU’s website is working towards providing a public square for interested parties to discuss and learn about the Internet issues of the day. As an educational organization, the AIU provides advice and help to users navigating the Internet. As new issues in Internet policy arise and adoption continues to grow, the AIU will change as well and continue to provide you with a place where your views can be conveyed to policymakers.
The AIU is an idea whose time is now but non-profit organizations don’t happen without planning and execution. We welcome and encourage your participation in this new venue for advancing the policies you want about the technology that has become a central feature of our daily lives.