We – and that includes you – must preserve Net Neutrality

I have just signed a petition on Net Neutrality; written to the MEP/Rapporteur for the ITRE process; and written to my MEPs. Ten years ago that would have taken me all day. Now it takes under half an hour.

Some of you may think – “isn’t it a bit radical to be doing all this? The world’s reasonably OK. Theare visible?) politicians will look after it, won’t they? And everybody knows the value of the Web – it’s unthinkable it will be removed. And it’s not really my business”.

Well it IS.

We are in the middle of a digital war. A war between corporate interests and freedom. Because there are huge amounts of money to be made by controlling people and the flow of information. A typical idea would be a “two-speed internet” – one for those who can pay, and one for the rest. And on the high-speed we wouldn’t get all that spam because it would be controlled by those who know best what we want. Like Movie corporations; Or mega-science-publishers. (Do you really want a dedicated net where only rich science publishers are present?).

The forces of control have money. Their weapon is the lobbyist. I know, for example, that publisher money is being spent to stop me – yes PM-R and colleagues – developing a free-to-everyone approach to Content Mining (Text and Data Mining). Loss of Net Neutrality could kill content mining as the content would only be available on the mega-publishers’ private web.

We have people’s minds and energy. That’s very powerful but it relies on YOU. I hope I have convinced you to care. Then it’s easy. Go to:


They (the wonderful MySociety) will tell you what to do. All you have to know is your postcode. They’ll work out who your MEPs are. Write your letter. It’s worth making it personal – you’ll see below that I have included bits of me, and bits of the local region. (Cut-and-paste is collected, counted, but not read in detail).

So here’s how it’s done… (the names are worked out by WTT)


  • Richard Howitt MEP
  • Vicky Ford MEP
  • Geoffrey Van Orden MEP
  • Stuart Agnew MEP
  • David Campbell Bannerman MEP
  • Andrew Duff MEP
  • Robert Sturdy MEP


Thursday 30 January 2014

From: Peter Murray-Rust

Dear Geoffrey Van Orden, Richard Howitt, Robert Sturdy, Andrew Duff, Stuart Agnew, Vicky Ford and David Campbell Bannerman,

I am writing to you to urge you to vote and campaign for Net Neutrality, which is being debated in a few days time in ITRE. I have written to MEP/Rapporteur Pilar del Castillo
( pilar.delcastillo@europarl.europa.eu) :

I am writing to urge you to preserve Net Neutrality in the ITRE process at all costs. Europe invented the Web. I was privileged to be at CERN in 1994 to hear the scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee launch the Semantic Web.

Tim’s vision is simple – at the 2012 Olympics his message was

“This is for everyone”.

Europe has made massive contributions to the Web. It stands to gain massively more. I have estimated to the UK government that in my own discipline of chemistry we stand to gain “low billions” worldwide by making knowledge free. In Europe alone the new uses of scientific information could generate huge wealth.

Restriction – such as a divided web – kills innovation. Innovation and free information are the foundation for a better future.

This is compelling in itself, but there are also special local reasons to support Net Neutrality. Cambridge and the Eastern Region are making outstanding advances in new technology and deploying them for both wealth generation and the betterment of our society and the planet. Free flow of information and ideas are fundamental to this. So by supporting Net Neutrality you will also be helping to strengthen the outstanding potential of our region.


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