Standing up for Digital Rights:
From day one in establishing the core values of our organization we have considered digital rights, personal privacy, and universal equal access to the internet to be among our fundamental core values. These values are important to us because they are core to what the internet has always meant to be about. A global network that facilitates universal access to information and free communication.
It’s with these values that we hold key to our organizations mission that we have a big announcement: starting as of today the Pacific Northwest Rural Broadband Alliance has officially joined the Electronic Frontier Alliance!
The Electronic Frontier Alliance (aka EFA) is a group of organizations that are ideologically aligned with the core organization, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (aka EFF). The EFF is an international non-profit organization, based in San Francisco, that was founded to promote civil liberties on the internet. Their organization works for the preservation of personal freedoms, monitors and challenges potential legislation that would infringe upon personal liberties, advocates against the use of mass surveillance, and stands for the fair use of and access to technology for the betterment of the individual.
These are all core tenants of what the internet was intended to be, in the intentions of it’s founding researchers and technologists, but is also something that has come under threat in many ways, and in many country’s around the world.
It is due to these threats to free speech and civil liberties, and the perversion of technology to be used my malicious parties, dictatorial regimes, or any government action that threatens on-line civil liberties that requires the an alliance of organizations, ideologically aligned with the mission of the EFF, to fight for a free and fair internet that everyone has equal access to.
Key ways in which our organization works towards the goals and ends that the EFA fights for:
Closing the digital divide:
The digital divide is the term coined for those who are cut off from the internet, either due to economic circumstances, or due to lack of access of broadband services in their geographic location. It is our organizations key purpose to ensure rural, under-served, and un-connected communities can not only receive fast and affordable access to the internet, but own the very infrastructure that delivers that access from one neighbor to the next, one neighborhood to the next, one town to the next, and beyond. It is in maintaining ownership of this infrastructure that communities can be masters of their destiny, and ensure that everyone has access to, and benefits from access to the internet.
However geographic access is only part of the problem, which is why we also design our networks to be as affordable as possible, but also ensure that every customer always remains connected to the internet. While customers gain access to the fastest speeds possible through loading funds onto their router, even once a customers funds are spent we ensure they always remain connected at a speed that allows them to complete basic web tasks. This ensures that nobody ever becomes disconnected. None of our customers will ever become in debt to us. No customer will ever have their service shut off due to non-payment. Access to high speed service is available to our customers on whatever schedule they can afford, without ever having the worry of missing a bill’s due date.
Providing an secure, encrypted, and anonymized connection:
Since the advent of the PATRIOT Act in America the NSA has had a well established means of eves-dropping on ISP customers across the country, without so much as a warrant or any practical judicial oversight. While as far as most people were concerned, for a time, such a thing notion may have sounded on the verge of fringe conspiratorial thinking — engineers in the telecom industry have known about this for years. It wasn’t until organizations like WikiLeaks, and whistle-blowers like Edward Snowden that this reality became more wider-known to the average citizen.
This is what makes our ISP service dramatically different. Leveraging the Althea technology platform, each of our customers routers connects to the internet via a cutting edge VPN technology known as Wireguard. So every bit of customer data remains secure from the point their router, across our networks, and exits out a specialized and decentralized private servers in data centers across the country. This protects our customers from any form of eves-dropping by malicious third parties, or extra-judicial government agencies.
Advocating for a Free and Fair Internet:
As a member of the EFA we will continue to fight for the core tenants set out by the EFF, provide our customers with the best education possible on how to stay safe on-line, and do our part to advocate for and bring attention to digital rights and civil liberties issues as it pertains to the internet.
You can expect more community-focused events where we will not only continue to communicate our progress in providing rural communities with the internet service they need and deserve, but also showcase issues relating to digital equality, universal access, and issues surrounding privacy and security on-line. Likewise, we will take every opportunity to participate in public events, conferences, and general advocacy activities put on by other members of the EFA.
With communities of well informed and empowered individuals we can help maintain the core principles of what the internet was always truly meant to be, and ensure there always exists an environment for free expression and universal access to information.