Congress to Universities: Filter Your Net or Lose Funding

Fred Benenson over at Free Culture @ NYU is spreading the word about a Congressional bill which is under consideration which would eliminate student loans at schools which do not filter the Internet. As Fred puts it:

This bill contains wording that, if passed into law, would jeopardize federal aid for universities if they refused to filter their student’s internet access. In other words, the bill is designed to force universities to police their student’s internet connections in a way that no other ISPs in the world do. Besides encouraging a violation of network neutrality on campuses, this bill demands universities to do something that is technically impossible — how is NYU’s router supposed to be able to tell the difference between a Creative Commons licensed video podcast that you’re downloading via Miro and an “illegal” file your roommate is getting off of a file sharing network?  The point is they can’t — no technology has been invented that can properly discover whether a file is “legal” or not (consider how difficult it is for a judge to decide whether a use is fair, and then think of trying to create a chip that would do it) and no technology will ever be invented to do this.

The dubiously titled “College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007” (coming in at a staggering 747 pages, the relevant part is from pg. 411-413) is a bad deal and we need to let our representatives know it before they vote on it on Wednesday at 9am.

Take the five minutes to call your representative and let them know how dangerous this is to free speech and higher education. Committee members include:



Consider saying something like the following:

Hi, the Committee on Education and Labor of which ______ is a member is considering a bill entitled “The College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007″ which would strip universities of federal aid money if they do not filter the internet their students use. This is dangerous for free speech, education and the affordability of college. Please have ______ work to amend this.

Leave Yours +


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  2. Mr. Kramer – the purpose of “big education” is not to support “big music.”

    It is to educate!

    Every dollar spent paying for music distracts schools from preparing students. Even further, the cost will most likely be passed onto students and that means all students, even those who aren’t, as you put it, “freeloaders.” That is unacceptable and so is this law.

  3. masa

    more big brother. this is what americans signed moronic people into government for. take way rights. police you on every thing you do. this is their trick. adding these 2 lines into a bill to get this ‘swept’ in with the rest of the bill. you want the government to take care of you from the cradle to the grave, you want them to dictate what you can and can’t do, then keep this going just like it is now. otherwise, change it. elect people who are willing to change the government for the better. like Ron Paul for President in 2008.

  4. Mattyhelmenthes

    Dont post here, mail your congressperson. This will bankrupt universities which already have
    a large problem with all the IT they are forced to support for “educational reasons”

    Lets avoid another unfunded federal mandate, please.

  5. Pingback: - Students for Free Culture » Blog Archive » Students’ Open Response To H.R. 4137 and H.R.

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