Pro-Choice, Christian Group Sek U.S. Congressional Hearings on Text Messaging Freedoms
An op-ed signed by the politically opposite presidents of NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Christian Coalition call for the U.S. Congress to convene hearings on the effectiveness of current laws to prevent phone companies from censoring text messages.
Concerns arose after last month's initial refusal by Verizon Wireless to grant NARAL Pro-Choice America a text-messaging short code that would enable recipients to sign up and receive updates by tapping a five-digit code into their handsets.
Although Verizon quickly reversed course, the issue is still troubling to both organizations.
Keenan and Combs articulate their concerns in this portion of the letter:
This issue is broader than one organization, one company or one topic. The issue is how communications companies can believe they have the authority to block content in the first place.
Both of our groups, with other organizations across the political spectrum, are working to raise our members' awareness of the potential for discrimination in communications and of the impact it could have on how we engage in political advocacy in an ever-evolving technological world.
We're asking Congress to convene hearings on whether existing law is sufficient to guarantee the free flow of information and to protect against corporate censorship. The public deserves an open and fair conversation about this important issue.
If corporations can't tell Americans what to say on a phone call, they shouldn't be able to control content or tell us what to say in a text message, an e-mail or anywhere else.
That's something all Americans -- regardless of their political views -- can agree on.
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