Anchorage, AK — The ACLU of Alaska is today calling on Governor Bill Walker to join the governors of Montana and New York in ordering internet service providers with state contracts to protect net neutrality.

On December 14, 2017, the FCC repealed regulations that stopped internet service providers (ISPs) from (1) charging different rates for content and (2) slowing down or blocking websites. In response, the governors of Montana and New York last week issued executive orders stating that to receive a state contract to provide telecommunications services, the provider “must not block lawful content, throttle, impair or degrade lawful internet traffic on the basis of internet content, engage in paid prioritization, or unreasonably interfere or disadvantage the users’ ability to select, access, and use broadband internet access service.”

The ACLU of Alaska is calling on Governor Bill Walker to issue a similar executive order covering contractors doing business with the State of Alaska.

“Network neutrality isn’t just a consumer protection issue, it is also one of the foremost free speech issues of our time,” said ACLU of Alaska Executive Director Joshua A. Decker. “In this day and age, it is close to impossible to get through life without using the internet— which is why it’s essential that our free speech rights are protected both on- and offline. After all, freedom of expression isn’t worth much if the forums where people actually make use of it are not themselves free.”

Decker continued, “As the chief executive of our state, Governor Bill Walker has an obligation to stand up for the rights of Alaskans, especially when leaders in Washington, DC won’t. We encourage the Governor do just that by using the State’s full legal and financial weight to protect Alaskan’s access to free and open communication on the internet.”

The American Civil Liberties Union is our nation’s guardian of liberty. For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been at the forefront of virtually every major battle for civil liberties and equal justice in this country. Principled and nonpartisan, the ACLU works in the courts, legislatures, and communities to preserve and expand the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. The ACLU of Alaska, founded in 1971, is one of the 53 state ACLU affiliates that strive to make the Bill of Rights real for everyone and to uphold the promise of the Constitution—because freedom can’t protect itself.